Like the rest of America’s infrastructure, voting is chronically underfunded. This leaves our democracy open to attack. My administration will fund the development and rollout of new, more secure machines that aren’t open to attack.
This threat is not hypothetical. In the recent past, internet-connected machines have been hacked and used to print out fraudulent ballots. Additionally, Russia was able to hack into voter databases in across the US. Ballot security is national security, and we must ensure that Russia and others who wish to do us harm do not have an open door into the machinery of democracy. To prevent successful attacks, new machines should be disconnected from the internet.
Beyond removing our machines from the internet, we will build a system in which every vote leaves a paper trail. Paper backups are critical in cases of hardware failure and guarantee that a vote won’t be lost on account of a software bug. Additionally, paper provides a record of the vote that can’t be hacked or easily altered. Optical scanners that read paper ballots and store them electronically are a great way to combine the security of paper with the ease of technology.
No matter how safe and effective voting machines are, they won’t have any effect unless voters have access to them. Voting security cannot only be practiced by the federal government, it must happen at every level. To connect voters with secure, well-maintained machines and functioning polling stations, the federal government must give states the resources they need to procure and install this technology at every voting station. We must also fund more post-election audits to detect any attempts to interfere in the democratic process.
Despite the $380 million round of grants given to states last year by the federal Elections Assistance Commission, states need much more to cover all the costs that voting security demands. For example, to replace all electronic paperless voting machines in Pennsylvania, it is estimated they will need $50.4 to $79.1 million statewide, far more than the $13.5 million provided by Congress. My administration will make it clear in Pennsylvania and every other state that money isn’t an obstacle to a secure democracy.
Safe elections require more than responsible machines, they require responsible humans. My administration will work with states and voting staff to guarantee they are trained in best cybersecurity practices, including threat detection and reporting. By bringing together the best that humans and technology have to offer, we can ensure every American has access to a secure ballot box.
As we focus on the elections of today, we must not fail to prepare for those of tomorrow. The threat of cyber attacks is always growing and evolving, so we must keep up to date on every development to maintain secure election infrastructure.
Looking to the future of voting, we must consider what options we have to make voting more secure and accessible. My administration will research developments in e-voting, including mobile voting. If this technology proves truly secure and viable, its use would dramatically boost voter and reduce the costs of local, state and national elections. We will also invest in the cyber security apparatus as a whole to not only keep our voting infrastructure safe, but also defend our power grid, defense sector, and government from hackers.
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Problems to be Solved
- Our voting system is vulnerable to hackers and software failure.
- Americans no longer trust the security of our democracy.
- States don’t have the resources to protect their elections.
Our citizens must be able to cast their votes without fear that they will be compromised by foreign hackers or lost by bad software. We must recognize that the greatest opportunity to prevent voter misrepresentation lies in updating outdated infrastructure. By freeing states from reliance on decades-old machines that were phased out in other states for poor security and clumsy user interface, we can build a safer, easier voting process.
- Protect our democracy from cyber attacks
- Restore Americans’ faith in the democratic process
- Make elections in every state reliable and secure
As President, I will...
- Increase federal funding toward ballot box security so voting machines cannot be hacked and have a paper trail for mandatory audits.
- Increase federal funding so all states have the money they need for secure voting machines, maintenance, and staffing polling locations.
- Invest in cybersecurity research for the future.
- Research modern e-voting practices that guarantee security.