February 10, 2020

FIRST BECAUSE WE'RE BETTER:

The New Hampshire Primary Might Be the Most Technophobic Election in the Country (AARON MAK, FEB 10, 2020, Slate)

There will be no app malfunctions during the New Hampshire primary for one simple reason: There will be no apps. In the troubled aftermath of the Iowa caucuses, officials in charge of the state's elections on Tuesday are touting their stubbornly analog approach to voting. Rather than overhauling polling places with mobile apps and voting machines, the Granite State has long opted to stick with democracy's old faithfuls: pencils and paper ballots. According to officials, not only does the state's electoral Luddism result in fewer glitches, but it also acts as an old-school cybersecurity measure. "You can't hack a pencil" has become something of a catchphrase for New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner in the run-up to the primary.

Most polling places in New Hampshire use printed voting registration lists, instead of tablets and laptops, to check people in (poll workers in North Carolina, in contrast, recently had trouble with getting poll books to function on laptops). People then receive a paper ballot, though voters with disabilities can use voting machines, as is required by federal law. The machines, however, ultimately mark a physical ballot. The ballots then go through optical scanners that have all their external ports except for the one for power disabled, and which are programmed by computers disconnected from the internet. (In its 2019 report on Russian election meddling, the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence found that paper ballots and scanners, while not perfect, are nevertheless the "least vulnerable to cyber-attack" compared to other voting systems.)

Posted by at February 10, 2020 6:20 PM

  

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