The scientific evidence is conclusive: voting over the internet is not secure and cannot be made secure with the tools and features available today.  Working with partners, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the U.S. Technology Policy Committee (US TPC) of the Association for Computing Machinery, we helped local Utah computer scientists present scientific evidence regarding the insecurity of online voting to lawmakers in Utah. Wisely, the Utah legislature heeded the warnings and rejected a bill that would have adopted online voting for all voters in municipal elections. 

There is broad consensus among cyber security and national security experts that voted ballots cannot be returned securely via email or other online methods. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Election Assistance Commission published this risk-assessment which “recommends paper ballot return, as electronic ballot return technologies are high risk even with controls in place.” In other words, serious and significant security risks remain that cannot be adequately mitigated with the security tools and controls available, and ballots returned online are at high risk of tampering or manipulation and cannot be secured. 

Vendors of online or mobile voting apps continue to push state legislators to pass laws to allow online voting so they may sell their products, often with false claims and deceptive marketing practices. By coordinating with our partners at AAAS and US TPC, our partners engaged their members from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah to educate lawmakers on the insoluble security issues inherent with internet voting, and to push-back on the vendors’ fanciful promises. 

We will continue to work with the scientific community to help educate lawmakers and election administrators on the science regarding the dangers of internet voting, and to debunk the vendors’ false claims.