Securing the Vote

Part of our "SNF Agora Conversations: Election 2020" series

The 2020 election is happening amidst unprecedented disagreement about election security, as the coronavirus pandemic challenges traditional in-person voting. On the one hand, the incumbent president claims that postal voting will lead to widespread electoral fraud. On the other, Democrats argue that the U.S. postal system is being deliberately degraded to make it less likely that mailed ballots will be counted in time. Both political scientists who work on voting, and information security specialists, who think systematically about the failure modes, attack surfaces, and threat models of large information systems, can help us understand—and mitigate—the likely failures of large-scale voting systems operating under unexpected circumstances in a context of increased fear over manipulation.