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Report finds more needs to be done to protect votes from hackers in upcoming midterm election

Posted: 10:33 AM, Sep 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-10 16:38:17Z

As the nation gets ready head to polls for November’s midterm elections, a new report called "Securing the Vote" finds more action needs to be taken to protect your vote from hackers.

A group of election experts and scholars say states need to get rid of voting machines that do not have paper ballots.

“It's very possible to make, on some machines, election fraud software that miscounts the votes and then erases itself and puts back legitimate software, so you can never tell,” says Andrew Appel, one of the report’s authors and a computer scientist at Princeton University. “So, it's very difficult to trace so that's why we need the paper ballots.”

In 2016, about 1 in 5 voters cast their ballot on machines that don't keep a paper trail. Right now, five states still use these machines, as well as certain counties in eight other states.

“The legislatures and the election administrators have figured out this is a problem, and they've taken steps to move away from paperless voting,” Appel says.

The report also recommends banning voting over the internet or through machines that are connected to the internet. It also suggests states verify election results by conducting an audit.

“The audit is not a recount of every ballot,” explains Appel. “That really would be expensive and take a lot of time. It's a recount of a small random sample, just enough to statistically have high confidence that the voting machines weren't hacked and they're giving you an accurate count.”

Regardless of what party you vote for, experts say all Americans should support election security.

Elections can be stolen in either direction and this really shouldn't be a partisan issue.