Verified Voting commends the Democratic National Committee on its recommendation that the Iowa and Nevada state parties cease their plans to allow voters to participate in next year’s presidential primary caucuses by phone. Citing cybersecurity threats, the DNC concluded “that currently, there is no tele-caucus system available that is sufficiently secure and reliable, given the magnitude and timing of the Iowa and Nevada caucuses this cycle.”
Sources indicate that the DNC, still wary from their data being compromised in the lead up to the 2016 election, took an essential step in protecting their methods for running their elections – they brought in an outside team of election security experts to evaluate the system. Verified Voting recognizes that laudable goals can make new technology attractive.
Voters with disabilities should have the opportunity to take part in caucuses. In geographically large districts, not everyone can afford the travel time to gather in a central location. However, as our experts have frequently noted, internet and phone voting offer no means of verifying that tabulations match voter intent.
Verified Voting recommends the following best practices when introducing any new technology into an election, caucus, legislative, or committee deliberation:
1) Have a contingency plan in place in case technology fails, or in case of denial of service
2) Test any new technology by inviting the general hacking public to interfere with the system before it goes live, without hackers facing criminal consequences
3) Ensure the technology has an auditable system based on reliable paper evidence, including evidence of who has attempted to use the system
Verified Voting promotes secure and verifiable elections for all voters and the responsible use of technology, particularly in today’s cybersecurity climate. We urge jurisdictions and political parties to implement voter-marked paper ballots. Phone voting, like other forms of internet voting, cannot provide a trustworthy record of voters’ intent. Read more about the risks of internet voting here.