New Jersey's emergency email voting option runs into problems
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy—with destruction of buildings, electrical lines and streets especially strong on the New Jersey coast—officials in that state decided to provide email and fax voting to the beleaguered residents. The state has extended to victims of the storm the same distance-voting rights members of the military and expatriates use.
It’s not working well.
The email addresses provided, both to request email ballots (which must be done by 5:00 PM today) and to send them in, are widely reported to be full, triggering a bounce. According to BuzzFeed, in two New Jersey counties, Morris and Essex, the county clerks’ email addresses are not receiving email. Essex County contains NJ’s largest city, Newark, and Morris County is adjacent to New York City.
In other counties, reports have surfaced that some of those who have succeeded in sending their ballots in via email without a bounce have not gotten confirmation that their votes have been received.
Some security experts have registered concerns about email voting, even when it goes as expected. Discovery News quoted Matt Blaze asking, “How will the emailed ballots be secured against tampering or loss? Email messages themselves have no intrinsic protection against modification, forgery, copying or deletion when in transit.”
Given the now-customary litigious phase after a major election, it would not be surprising to see the loser of today’s presidential election, and the losing sides in other races and measures, press their advantage in the courts. They may maintain that there are missing ballots and those ballots would have carried their candidate or cause over the line to victory.
Alternatively, as pointed up on the Freedom to Tinker blog by Prof. Andrew Apple of Princeton University, a case could be made that without the step of mailing in the original paper ballot, mandated by New Jersey’s Overseas Absentee Voting Law, all email and fax votes successfully sent in this way are legally invalid. Since Apple’s post, spokesmen for the New Jersey State Department have insisted that such instructions will be sent out, to validate the ballots.
Regardless, the email voting option will certainly provide grist to the mill that pumps out voter fraud conspiracies.
Japan accepts U.S. giant-robot battle challenge
What a time to be alive.14k
The Philae comet lander may have discovered alien life
Don't get too excited just yet. The findings haven't been verified.5.8k
South Carolina State Senate votes to take down Confederate flag
The vote sets up another vote and then an almost-certain signature by the governor.4.4k
Sophie the corgi is taking over Snapchat
She's a dog of many talents.0
Hacking Team's software used by repressive Moroccan government
Leaked documents reveal Morocco paid over $3 million for eavesdropping capabilities.