Q&A – Could Online Voting Be Safer Than Mail-In Ballots In Florida?

Today’s entry: Why can’t we set up a voting system to vote on our smartphones using blockchain technology for privacy and security? And allow the very small percentage that doesn’t have access to it to go to precincts in person.

Bottom Line: My recent story, Voting by mail is the least effective method for Floridians, which has led to numerous discussions and questions about the best way to vote, especially in the middle of the pandemic. Mail-in ballots have the highest rejection rate of any type of voting method, it's 10 times higher than voting in person. Additionally, based on prosecuted voter fraud over the past decade, it’s the most common method of voting used to commit fraud. None of that inspires a high degree of confidence and here we are set for record voting by mail driven by people who’d prefer to vote remotely during the pandemic. It’s natural to think of alternatives like online voting. In fact, Delaware and West Virginia have already experimented with online voting this cycle. 

So, is it safe? The answer isn’t just no. If there’s anything that might be worse is any type of online voting. The Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Federal Election Commission, and MIT have all studied even the most secure methods of online voting and found that online voting can’t be made secure and it's susceptible to manipulation on a large scale.

It’s pretty straight forward. There are untold numbers of ways for online-only voting to result in fraud. One being votes made by individuals using someone else’s identity. Another, devices being used that have malware or viruses on them and thus could lead to votes being altered and potentially malware being introduced into election databases. Or, voter intimidation that’d be unquantifiable. The biggest of them all could be that the whole databases of votes are hacked and altered.

You might recall China successfully hacking into the US Chamber of Commerce’s federally protected database about five years ago. China was so covert in their methods, they were in the backdoor of the Chamber of Commerce stealing US intellectual property, it took nearly two years before officials discovered what they were doing. Remember, criminals are the trendsetters and it’s up to law enforcement to adapt. That’s not something that can be tolerated or risked with the foundation of our country at stake. Florida’s current method of voting is probably the best. With votes tabulated at the local level electronically, offline and a paper copy of a ballot in the event of issues or recounts, it's as tamper-resistant as it can be. Votes literally can’t be hacked and we have a backup system. But again, it’s ten times less risky to vote in person than through the mail. That’s this year’s election integrity challenge.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com


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Photo by: JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

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