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Is the U.S. Election Hackable? Could It Be Hacked?

Travelers Today       By    Joana Dyan Ordonez

Updated: Oct 13, 2016 06:37 PM EDT

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US Election 2016, HILLARY CLINTON, donald trump, russia, Verified Voting, FBI Director James Comey
Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Second Presidential Debate At Washington University
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listen during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo: Pool / Pool)

Is the U.S. election hackable? Experts say at the national level, no. However, there could be individual incidents that undermine faith in the system, as reported by USA Today.

According to the head of the FBI and several security experts, "There's almost no danger the U.S. presidential election could be affected by hackers. It's simply too decentralized and for the most part too offline to be threatened."

Meanwhile, Pamela Smith, President of Verified Voting (a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for elections accuracy), said that, "National elections are conducted at the local level by local officials on equipment that they obtained locally, so there's no single point of vulnerability to tampering here."

FBI Director James Comey advised that, '"While concern has been rightly focused on the integrity of state voter registration systems, the actual voting process remains very, very hard to hack into because it is so clunky and dispersed.''

Nonetheless, Comey said that federal authorities have been advising state officials to safeguard their systems, especially voter registration databases, as hackers have continued to "scan'' the systems for susceptibilities.

Accordingly, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton noted U.S. Intelligence officials have blamed Russia for hacking Democratic officials accounts, as further reported by USA Today.

"We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election," she said, and referred to her Republican opponent Donald Trump's praise of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Trump responded stating that he knew "nothing about the inner workings of Russia".

According to USA Today, experts say some local systems may be vulnerable to hacking.

In some jurisdictions, local rules allow the transfer of election results using WiFi rather than putting the information on a thumb drive that's physically taken to the central tally site.

US intelligence reports said that it would be difficult for anyone to actually alter ballot counts because of the decentralized nature of the system and protections in place.

However, even the attempt and the possibility of intrusion may be enough to cause problems when it comes to public perception around election time, as reported by BBC.

The Department of Homeland Security for cybersecurity risk and vulnerability assessments has been approached by 33 states and 11 county or local election agencies, according to Secretary Jeh Johnson's statement on October 10th.

But time is of the essence and he encouraged election agencies to ask for assistance now.

On the other hand, Pamela Smith further added that, "The good news is that in the upcoming election, close to 80 percent of voters nationwide are in areas that will either use either paper ballots or voting machines with paper backups, both of which are considered much more secure than online only systems."

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