Since Hurricane Sandy hit my home state, New Jersey, the state is now allowing displaced voters to vote via email. What are New Jersey officials thinking? Discovery News suggests that New Jersey's Email Vote May be a Disaster. I appreciate wanting to help people vote, I really do, but email is not exactly secure. Not to mention that many voters throughout the state still don’t even have electricity yet.

 

Security Not a New Issue

 

In response to the November 2000 U.S. presidential election’s “hanging chad” issue almost all states have adopted some form of electronic voting. Of these systems, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines have become the most commonly used. Standards for voting machine software and their networks (in those states that require vote totals to be transmitted to a central office for verification and tallying), however, are inconsistent across the country and are often dictated by the voting machine software makers, rather than the states.


Developing Standards for the Future

 

Although New Jersey may be going about the 2012 election in a rather insecure way, they may also be blazing a path into the future of voting. At some point, I can see most, if not all, U.S. states making voting available through secure networks. Or maybe we’ll be voting through a single secure network, maybe something similar to what we use to file taxes online. Sophisticated network management, monitoring, and security applications, like the SolarWinds Orion suite of products and Security Information and Event Management software already exist and are in use at various local, state, and federal government institutions.

 

So surely, we should soon be able to take part in online voting that includes:

  • Verifying voter identity
  • Correctly counting and recording votes
  • Unadulterated results securely sent from precincts to the counties and on to the states