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Are the nation's voting systems secure?

Credit: CNN

The nation’s intelligence chiefs continue to warn that Russia, China and others remain interested in interfering in U.S. elections. What steps have been taken to thwart efforts to infiltrate election systems?

Posted: Oct 28, 2020 6:30 AM
Updated: Nov 2, 2020 12:16 PM

The nation’s intelligence chiefs continue to warn that Russia, China and others remain interested in interfering in U.S. elections. What steps have been taken to thwart efforts to infiltrate election systems?

Federal, state and local officials worked to secure these systems, scanning them for known cyberthreats and helping to install network sentinels aimed at detecting suspicious activity.

A well-timed ransomware attack — in which voter registration data could be targeted or end up as collateral damage — is among the most feared threats.

State election officials have worked to build redundancies into voter registration systems so they can recover quickly in the event of an attack.

Keeping watch at the polls

  • Partisan poll watchers observe voting activity on Election Day to make sure their side gets a fair chance to vote.
  • States regulate who can be a poll watcher; many are appointed by parties, civic groups or candidates. Often they are required to be registered voters themselves, either in the state or the jurisdiction where they are observing.
  • Some states limit the number of poll watchers who can be present at one time at a polling location.
  • Poll watchers may observe voting operations and, in some cases, vote counting. They can report any irregularities they witness to election administrators or party officials.
  • Poll watchers may NOT obstruct or intimidate voters or interfere with voting activities.

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