Electronic voting machines have been a source of controversy in the United States since 2004, when Ohio's Diebold voting machines were in the spotlight after President George W. Bush's victory over John Kerry. Even in the 2016 election, controversy erupted when a group of computer scientists urged Hillary Clinton to challenge the result, citing discrepancies between counties that voted on paper and counties that voted on electronic machines. The Senate, however, has insisted there is no evidence that Russian interference changed the actual vote tally.
Yet at DEFCON, the world's largest hacking conference, an 11-year-old showed the world just how vulnerable we are.
For the first time ever, the conference featured an area called the "voting village," where people showed how easy it is to hack electronic voting systems.
According to BuzzFeed News:
In a room set aside for kid hackers, an 11-year-old girl hacked a replica of the Florida secretary of state’s website within 10 minutes — and changed the results.
The National Association of Secretaries of State pushed back, however, stating:
Providing conference attendees with unlimited physical access to voting machines does not replicate accurate physical and cyber protections established by state and local governments before and on Election Day.
But Matt Blaze, a longtime election security expert, said:
It’s only through scrutiny that we’re going to have confidence in elections. That said, the fact that a system has vulnerabilities in it, even incredibly serious vulnerabilities, is not the same as saying any given election has been tampered with.
Blaze went on:
There’s an interesting paradox. We know these systems are wildly insecure, and there’s been precious little evidence of these vulnerabilities so far being exploited in real elections. I think we’ve been very lucky, and I think there’s a little bit of a ticking time bomb here.
People had harsh words for our elected officials: