Voting Security in the 2020 Elections

Laura BednarCybersecurityLeave a Comment

Voting Cybersecurity 2020 Elections

The 2020 elections bring many uncertainties. The outcome of the elections is a big question mark, but another major source of concern is security. In 2020, experts predict that up to 16 million Americans will choose to cast their votes using a paperless system. However, sources also note that electronic voting systems in the United States are quite old. So old, in fact, that some are no longer serviced, posing significant security risks.

These factors translate to the very real potential for data breaches and cybersecurity issues. Fortunately, some action is being taken to prevent a major cybersecurity issue with votes in 2020. While Americans are busy heading to the polls and gearing up for their state’s primary, here’s a look at what’s happening behind the scenes.

Legislation on voting security

Behind the scenes, many attempts have been made to pass security-related bills before the 2020 elections took place. In November 2019, the Democratic Party attempted to pass three bills related to cybersecurity. Two of the three bills required consent from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the FBI for clearance. The bills also supported disconnecting voting machines from the internet, which would in turn reduce a number of cybersecurity threats. So far, however, all three bills on voting security have been blocked.

Paper vs digital ballots

When it comes to casting a ballot, there is usually a dilemma between convenience and safety. For many people, the facts help them to make a decision about whether to use a paper or digital ballot. Currently,

  • 37 states use vote machines that need replacement
  • Two-thirds don’t have enough money to make those replacements
  • 45 states use outdated vote equipment
  • 40 states are using vote machines at least 10 years old
  • 55 percent of counties use optical scan machines
  • 13 percent use direct-recording electronic machines

While electronic voting systems are faster, and more convenient in the eyes of many Americans, paper ballots are a safer option. Paper ballots are not prone to hacking, and they cost states and municipalities much less money to use. Furthermore, those in favor of paper ballots say they are just as efficient and reliable for collecting votes. Many individuals, especially older Americans, are familiar with paper-based vote mechanisms, while they may need additional training for paperless voting systems.

Where the United States stands on vote security

In the United States, voting security is a hot topic in light of the upcoming elections. Several CEOs of major voting equipment manufacturing companies have introduced election security legislation to help improve vote security nationwide. In December 2019, Congress voted to give states a substantial amount of funding to upgrade their voting equipment. Collectively, states would receive up to $425 million to improve and modernize their vote equipment. In order to receive funding, states must match their allocation by at least 20%. While this influx of funding may seem substantial, many states and lawmakers argue that it is not enough.

Funds that protect states during primary voting

In preparation for the ongoing primaries, states nationwide have ramped up their security measures for casting a vote. Along with obtaining federal funding for upgrading their voting equipment, many states have also requested funding to protect voters during the primary vote stages. Some lawmakers have even called the upcoming election a “national emergency,” and calls on federal officials to strengthen the cybersecurity defenses of municipalities and states across the country. Through this funding, officials argue that it will be less difficult for cyber-criminals to assume the identity of government officials to carry out scams.

Count on a Vote for Security

At SecureData, we strive to keep consumers protected in every digital situation, including elections. We put security at the forefront of our operations with a variety of security certifications and a line of hardware encrypted storage products. We provide convenient 24/7 support and offer a range of digital solutions to ensure your company stays as safe as possible in the cyber realm without losing data or customers. Call SecureData at 1-800-388-1266 to learn how we can provide cybersecurity solutions for all of your digital needs.