As Colorado’s state and local lawmakers continue to explore ways to try virtual democracy under the coronavirus pandemic, leading experts across the country focused on cybersecurity, computing and science are calling on elected officials to avoid use of any internet voting or voting app system in U.S. elections.
“The scientific evidence regarding internet and voting app systems is remarkably clear — these are not secure solutions for American elections,” Michael D. Fernandez, spokesman for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in a statement Thursday.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to American elections, it is essential that officials at the local, state and federal levels follow the scientific evidence in implementing alternate solutions,” he said. “While internet voting is not a viable solution, options like voting by mail and early voting can help support the diverse needs of the electorate, addressing both new concerns relating to COVID-19 and existing disparities in ballot access.”
The letter prepared by AAAS was endorsed by many other science-based organizations and scientific experts, including Bruce McConnel, a former leader of the cybersecurity mission at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The document states that “no technical evidence” exists to show internet voting technology “is safe or can be made so in the foreseeable future; rather, all research performed to date demonstrates the opposite.”
The group also said that mobile voting apps are neither safe nor “sufficiently secure” enough to be relied on.
“As state officials are trying to find the best possible solutions to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, they must ensure that such measures do not increase the vulnerability of our elections to hackers and foreign attackers,” Susan Greenhalgh, senior advisor on Election Security of Free Speech For People, said in a statement. “Online voting is not a solution. The overwhelming consensus among computer security experts is that online voting would directly threaten the security and legitimacy of our elections.”