Russians can't hack the US election, but they could warp it (Boston Globe)

Even the whiff of a threat is hardly welcome in the current political environment

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 20, 2016) — Federal officials say that Russian hackers are behind breaches of voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois, and a breach at a contractor for the Florida elections office. In addition, "there have been attempted hacks in almost every state,'' said Denise Merrill, Connecticut's secretary of state and president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

It's conceivable such attacks could throw the Nov. 8 election into chaos. But it's improbable. Hackers can't get into our voting machines and outright change results.

The hackers can, however, mess with voter registration rolls, possibly affecting who can vote on Election Day. That would definitely sow confusion, but again, specialists and elections officials insist that there are enough safeguards and backups to protect the integrity
of the vote.

Nonetheless, even the whiff of a threat is hardly welcome in the current political environment. For days now, Donald Trump has been whipping up public outrage with claims that the US election is "rigged.'' Evidence of Russian attacks on our voting system would
reinforce that narrative and could further embitter an already vitriolic presidential race. ...

Merle King, executive director of the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, is in the camp of those who think it's highly improbable hackers will disrupt the election. But, as King warns, they might not have to, as the mere suspicion of electoral
hacking has further poisoned an already toxic political climate.

"It's a pretty high risk that after the election we're going to be dealing with the fallout,'' King said. "I think it is starting to combine with other factors to erode confidence in the outcome of the election.''

Read the full story here.

 

 


 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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