Donald Trump has been a very controversial figure even before taking office

Donald Trump has been a very controversial figure even before taking office. During the 2016 election, and throughout his presidency so far, he has remained consistent on one point: that Russia played no role in getting him elected. Trump repeatedly dismisses the idea that hacking and other means of interference from Russia affected the results of the 2016 election. He has even gone so far as to call it a “made-up story”, “ridiculous”, and “a hoax”. Intelligence officials such as the former director of National Intelligence shared with Trump a postelection report that confirmed an extensive cyberattack by Russia and states that “it stretches credulity to think the Russians didn’t affect the election.” It outrages me that little is being done regarding the legitimacy of elected officials when tampering with an election has clearly taken place in some form. However, it outrages me even more that not enough is being done to ensure hacking and other interference will not happen in the future. I believe that information technology should not have been so tightly integrated with various voting systems as it is today. However, it has already been done, and reversing this would likely prove difficult. Therefore, I believe every security precaution imaginable should be taken to protect elections and thus our democracy. Through evaluating pros and cons it is clear information technology has a place with voting systems today, and in part because it already exists.
Perhaps the biggest pro of having electronic voting systems is the speed at which results can be tallied and reported. Without electronic voting systems votes must be collected from various polling locations, which are spread across large areas, and then tallied manually by teams before results are finally reported. This process would delay results by hours compared to the standards we expect, and demand, with today’s elections. Another pro is that with information technology voting could be theoretically conducted at home or work. This possibility would greatly increase voter turnout.
Without question the biggest con of electronic voting is presenting the possibility of hacking. As with any electronic device there is always a risk that an unauthorized user will infiltrate it. This can be done in person by tampering with the voting system, or remotely if the system transmits any kind of data over the internet. On election nights, many polling locations transmit results to their respective election offices using embedded or connected modems. Security experts point out that many modems are cellular. Data transmission can be intercepted using a device known as an IMSI-catcher, which is used by law enforcement, militaries, and spies, to impersonate cell towers, tricking devices to connect to them instead. Regardless, hackers don’t even need to successfully alter voting results, they only need to leave behind evidence that they got in. Results of an election may be discredited by creating the appearance that results have been manipulated.
In my opinion voting systems should have remained as analog, and disconnected, as possible. In the years since electronic voting systems were first introduced, numerous computer scientists have shown nearly every make and model are vulnerable to hacking. Regardless, since voting systems are already so tightly integrated with various forms of information technology, which provides quality of life benefits for voters, it would be very difficult to take these away. Therefore, I believe many aspects such as remote-access software and modems on systems that program voting machines and tally results is a serious security issue. These are issues that election officials are finally beginning to understand. It is important to provide every security precaution imaginable to preserve our democracy when it concerns elections. This includes providing a paper trail back-up system that can be used any time the hint of hacking or voting interference may have occurred.
To conclude, I believe it would be nice to have voting systems take a step back from certain forms of information technology. However, I do not believe this is a reasonable request due to the many quality of life benefits that information technology has, and will, provide voters. Therefore, to avoid ballot fraud and hacker interference every security precaution should be taken including a solid paper trail as a backup system which can be used if a hint of fraud is ever detected.