Shackelford is an associate professor of business law and ethics at Indiana University — Bloomington.
Hacking into voting machines remains far too easy.
It is too soon to say for sure what role cybersecurity played in this week's Iowa caucuses. But the problems, which are still unfolding and being investigated, show how easily systemic failures can lead to delays and undermine trust in democratic processes. That's particularly true when new technology – in this case, a reporting app – is introduced, even if there's no targeted attack on the system.
The vulnerabilities are not just theoretical. They have been exploited around the world, such as in South Africa, Ukraine, Bulgaria and the Philippines. Successful attacks don't need the resources and expertise of national governments – even kids have managed it.
Congress and election officials around the United States are struggling to figure out what to do to protect the integrity of Americans' votes in 2020 and beyond. The Iowa caucuses are run by political parties, not state officials, but many of the concepts and processes are comparable. A look at similar problems – and some attempts at solutions – around the world offers some ideas that American officials could use to ensure everyone's vote is recorded and counted accurately, and that any necessary audits and recounts will confirm that election results are correct.
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