A Nov. 1 forum on election security at Penn State Harrisburg raised concerns about the vulnerability of voting systems nationally and in Pennsylvania to cyber attack. … Marian Schneider, a former special adviser to Gov. Tom Wolf on election policy and one of three speakers at the Penn State Harrisburg event, said it is “irrelevant” whether Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election actually altered the outcome in any way. She quoted former FBI Director John Comey saying that the Russians “will be back, and they will be bolder.” “If you conclude that they had some success with the election last year, they may embolden other actors, whether nation-state attackers or within the United States,” said Schneider, who was deputy secretary for elections and administration in the Pennsylvania Department of State from 2015 to 2017. “I think this is the new normal in elections and the Russian effort shows us what could possibly happen.
“You have to defend against that. Regardless of whether anything happened in 2016, now you have to change the way you do business to deal with that reality.”
Most of the voting systems in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — including Dauphin County — are ill-prepared for that new reality, she contended.
“Eighty-three percent of Pennsylvania voters vote on systems that if there was an attack and there was a discrepancy, you would not be able to respond adequately,” Schneider said. “You can’t audit them. There’s no paper record (to) verify the electronic tally. That’s what a resilient system is. You have a paper record and there’s an attack, people can still vote. You can check the electronic tally and if it’s wrong you can correct it based on the voter marked paper ballot.”