2020 Election: Let’s Talk Cybersecurity

As we are getting into the thick of campaign season, concern is increasing when it comes to protecting our election systems against a cyberattack. While some candidates have discussed election security loosely, few have mentioned anything about investing more into cybersecurity and strategies.

Even after what we saw happen during the 2016 election, fewer than half of states have made it a requirement to take two steps that will create the means to secure our elections.

According to a recent report by Brennan Center for Justice, one improvement being made by all but eight states is utilizing a voting system that creates both an electronic ballot as well as a paper trail, although only 24 states will require a post-election audit of those paper records.

Cybersecurity experts are pressing election officials to use both the electronic and paper ballots as well as have a system in place to properly audit the election results. “Paper-based systems provide better security because they create a paper record that voters can review before casting their ballot,” said the Brennan Center report. “However, these paper records will be of little security value unless they are used to check and confirm electronic tallies.”

According to the report, in 2016, 14 states used paperless voting machines as the primary equipment in at least some counties. That number currently stands at 11 states with three more (Georgia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) expected to replace their equipment by the 2020 election. The Brennan Center estimates that about 16 million voters will cast ballots on paperless equipment next November. The eight states that will still be entirely utilizing paperless voting systems are Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee.

Despite the $380 million that Congress approved for improving state election security in 2018, experts say states and local election offices will likely require much more monetary support.

Cyberthreats to the election are real and are both foreign and domestic. Public confidence should be a priority and a responsibility that lands on local and state governments along with the federal government.


Here at Extract, we care about voting integrity and keeping information secure. For the last 20 years we have been providing technology that focuses on automatically finding desired pieces of information that need to be redacted from public viewing and pulling important pieces of information from documents.  We keep customers’ documents behind their firewall, reducing the number of opportunities there may be for information to be improperly published or stolen.  Between strong internal cybersecurity and partnering with a company that keeps your data safe, there are many ways in which organizations can avoid cybersecurity issues. Interested in learning more about how the Extract platform can help your community? Reach out today.

About the Author: Taylor Genter

Taylor is the Marketing Specialist at Extract with experience in data analytics, graphic design, and both digital and social media marketing.  She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. Taylor enjoys analyzing people’s behaviors and attitudes to find out what motivates them, and then curating better ways to communicate with them.