As the United States went through the 2018 midterms elections on Nov. 6, officials and voters were once again voicing concerned about the security and reliability of the nation’s voting systems.
While midterm elections aren’t considered politically “sexy,” several important factors hinged on the votes cast in November, including control of the House of Representatives and potentially the Senate.
And just like in 2016, many eyes have turned to state election commissions and the potential for hacking and other forms of outside interference. Studies over the last several years have shown that not only are the voting systems in many states vulnerable to hacking from parties outside the United States, but that many had indeed been penetrated by those working on behalf of other nations. Whether actual vote interference took place has yet to be determined, but the fact that foreign actors were able to poke through the inner workings of electronic voting systems was unnerving.
Understandably, this led to some concern among municipalities who had been attempting to modernize their voting systems by upgrading to electronic vote taking and tabulation. “How, if the state election hardware is vulnerable, can a much smaller municipality be safe from hackers?” they wondered.
The truth is that the systems used in statewide elections versus what are used during a municipal board meeting are not identical. While statewide systems must be linked together online to provide vote information to a central hub, a municipal voting system can stand alone, making vulnerable Internet connections unnecessary.
In addition, using an electronic voting system such as TownVOTE creates a closed system where the internet is used only to upload tabulated results to a cloud server. Otherwise, all voting takes place in a closed-loop voting environment, with no potential intervention from the wider Internet environment.