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West Virginia Goes Mobile, Georgians Sue for Paper Vote

While the Trump administration grapples with looming concerns over election security, West Virginia’s servicemen and servicewomen stationed overseas will be casting their ballots via a smartphone app, according to CNN. The convenience of voting by mobile devices will likely make it easier for troops living abroad to partake in the upcoming elections, and West Virginia's secretary of state Mac Warner is reportedly confident that the mobile app is secure.

"There is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us," Warner told CNN. Yet the option to vote using the mobile app is currently only available to troops serving abroad, which raises questions about how confident officials and security experts are when it comes to election security issues.

“Unfortunately, securing electronic and online voting systems presents us with a set of unique challenges that are notoriously difficult to overcome,” said Sam Small, CSO of ZeroFOX. “In particular, experts in this area must find a way to simultaneously address three key requirements: voter anonymity, verification of individual votes, and end-to-end election integrity."

“Until the scientific community makes further advancements, I'd wager that virtually no credible electronic voting security expert would endorse or encourage plans to run an election on consumer-owned mobile devices,” said Small.

It’s not only mobile device voting that has people concerned. Citizens have been repeatedly told that it is possible for adversaries to compromise electronic voting systems, which is the root of a suit filed earlier this week by a second group of plaintiffs in Georgia. The suit aims to switch Georgia to using paper ballots for the November election rather than using possibly insecure electronic voting machines.

“The preliminary injunction,” said David Cross, partner at Morrison & Foerster, “seeks to achieve what the secretary of state has refused to do: implement an election system in Georgia that is reasonably secure from hacking and other interference.”

Few states still use an electronic voting system, but Georgia does, which means there is no paper trail and no means to audit the election results. “Numerous election security experts, including Prof. Alex Halderman, and federal officials, including members of Congress from both parties, have confirmed the inherent unreliability and vulnerabilities with Georgia’s electronic voting machines,” Cross said.

“Our motion details these vulnerabilities as well as those that are specific to Georgia, including public access to highly sensitive voter registration and other election information, such as passwords of election officials.”  

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