A major U.S. science association is arguing that even blockchain technology can’t make online voting safe – at least, not yet. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (EPI Center) highlighted that conclusion in a recent letter to U.S. governors, secretaries of state, and state election officials that urged those officials to reject calls for online voting in the nation’s elections.
While the API Center acknowledged that the current pandemic has presented challenges for in-person voting, it argued that online voting is not the solution:
At this time, internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the United States, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. Vote manipulation that could be undetected and numerous security vulnerabilities including potential denial of service attacks, malware intrusions, and mass privacy violations, remain possible in internet voting.
Moreover, the group argued that even blockchain technology cannot overcome the problems associated with voting via the internet. In fact, API Center suggested that the using blockchain could just add additional “points of attack for malicious actors.” The association pointed to MIT researchers’ conclusions on weaknesses in the Voatz voting systems’ malware detection software, and issues related to potential ballot manipulation and voter identity theft.
API Center recommended that public officials forgo internet voting at the present time and instead rely on early voting and mail-in votes to expand voting access.