We’ve witnessed a worst-case scenario with the recent debacle at the Iowa caucuses this election season. The technology glitch prompted Nevada election officials to scrap their digital plan almost entirely, despite the tens of thousands of dollars already spent on similar software. Officials have made this decision in an effort to calm fears of another digital meltdown this primary season.
However, on this Super Tuesday, the threat continues to loom larger than just an app for a smartphone going haywire. The Office the Department of National Intelligence is reporting that it’s not only Russia we need to worry about, but other countries as well. The threat could even come from Americans, who might want to disrupt voter turnout, reporting and actual outcomes by hacking our election process.
In a time when more technology is available to assist us with our patriotic right, there is now an even greater risk that your vote could be compromised. What can a voter do to secure their vote this election year? Here are three tips to think about as you prepare to head to the polls:
When seeking out polling information, the most credible website sources will have domains that end in dot-gov, which are granted by the federal government. Many state and local governments may still be using dot-coms or dot-orgs, as the bill for agency funding to create these domains is still under review in Congress. Without the dot-gov domain, there is a risk that fraudulent sites with disinformation are mimicking real sites — misleading voters and potentially leading to voter suppression.
Does your polling site use paperless machines? Ask to vote on a machine with a paper backup that records your vote digitally and creates a hard copy record. If there is any issue with malfunctioning hardware or possible malware interference, your vote will still be recorded on paper and can still be counted.
Finally, beware of fraudulent news stories that might sway your vote for a particular candidate, or even whether you vote at all! Be sure to gather your news from well-established and trusted sources that have a substantial track record of fair, unbiased reporting. If using social media, trace the source and ensure it links to a legitimate and reputable news site or agency.
See You at the Polls!