Congress Can Help Prevent Election Hacking

Media Coverage | September 07, 2017

Michael Chertoff, a member of the EastWest Institute's Board of Directors, writes in the Wall Street Journal that protecting America's voting systems should be an easy bipartisan win.

American voters received yet another rude awakening last month. Chicago’s Board of Elections reported that names, addresses, birth dates and other sensitive information about the city’s 1.8 million registered voters had been exposed on an Amazon cloud server for an unknown period. Worse, it appears hackers might have gained access to employees’ personal accounts at Election Systems & Software, a major election technology vendor—info that could be used to hack a future U.S. election.

Earlier, the Department of Homeland Security reported that foreign agents targeted voting systems in 21 states in the 2016 election, and Bloomberg News reported that hackers had successfully compromised various election-technology companies.

In an age of unprecedented cyber risks, these dangers aren’t surprising. But lawmakers and election officials’ lackadaisical response is both staggering and distressing.

American elections are an increasingly easy target because our election technologies are antiquated, and we have few federal level cybersecurity standards. An estimated 43 states rely on electronic voting or tabulation systems that are at least 10 years old. A survey of 274 election administrators in 28 states found most said their systems need upgrades.

Read the full commentary on the Wall Street Journal here.