Jan 22, 2020

Internet voting takes flight

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A small agency in Washington state is about to break new ground by letting residents vote by smartphone.

Why it matters: The U.S. suffers from chronically low voter turnout, but experts are concerned that internet voting is vulnerable to hacking and manipulation.

  • "There is a firm consensus in the cybersecurity community that mobile voting on a smartphone is a really stupid idea," computer science professor Duncan Buell told NPR, which first reported on the voting plan.
  • "I don't know that I have run across cybersecurity experts whose mortgages are not paid by a mobile-voting company who think it's a good idea."

The big picture: There's a world of difference between federal elections and more local races, and this is definitely the latter.

  • Voters will log in using their names and birthdays and verify their votes with a signature on their device.
  • Washington state already votes by mail, so election officials have experience with signature verification, the head of the company providing the tech told NPR.

Between the lines: The officials plan to make copies of the votes for auditing, but this wouldn't solve manipulation before votes are cast.

  • "If you're doing phone voting or internet voting, it's pretty much 'garbage in, garbage out,'" the former chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology told NPR.
  • The other side: Concerned voters can also use the portal to fill in their ballots, print them off, and mail them in, NPR notes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

California approves new voting system even as concerns remain

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has conditionally approved Los Angeles County's new publicly-owned computerized voting system on Friday.

Why it matters: The Voting System for All People (VSAP) will be the first publicly owned and designed voting system in the U.S. However, many concerns and questions remain about the security of the election machines and other technical problems, AP notes. VSAP still requires some modifications to address these concerns.

Go deeperArrowJan 25, 2020

WSJ: Millions of Florida voters are unsure if they qualify to cast ballots

A 60-year-old man's voting rights are restored in a Miami-Dade County courtroom in Nov. 2019. Photo: Zak Bennett/AFP via Getty Images

Florida has given little guidance to election officials after the state restored voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million former felons last year, resulting in "widespread confusion," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Floridians have until Feb. 18 to register to vote for the presidential primary in the critical swing state. Felons in the state are required to pay outstanding court fees and fines before casting ballots, per a bill that went into effect last year.

Voter turnout breaks New Hampshire Democratic primary record

Sen. Bernie Sanders rallies in New Hampshire on Feb. 11. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

New Hampshire voters broke the state's 2008 record this week for the most votes cast in a New Hampshire Democratic primary election, the party announced Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 300,000 Democratic votes were cast on Tuesday — easily breaking 2008's record of 288,000 votes — while roughy 156,000 Republican votes were cast, per New Hampshire's secretary of state.