Indiana to Pass Voting Machine Bill Addressing Internet Security Concerns

Recently, the Indiana Senate received two election bills that would see several changes with how elections may be conducted in this state.

Prohibition of Voting Machines Connected to Internet

One of the bills (HB 1365) moves to disallow voting machines within the state to be connected to the internet. It’s a topic that’s been under discussion for some time and has involved many cybersecurity experts following the claim that, during November 3rd’s presidential election, these machines were in fact connected to the internet.

Election officials, on the other hand, claimed that the machines were not connected to the internet. However, several large organizations managing the voting machines stated that they do install modems in the machines, as they help in assisting the state and public to relay the voting results at a quicker and more efficient rate.

Concerns Over Internet Security 

There have been experts that have suggested that if these voting machines are connected to the internet even for just a second or two, then they’re open to being compromised. Whether such a compromise would affect something as monumental as a presidential election or merely smaller voting events, this small chance of compromised systems could be very problematic.

As such, another element of the bill was to require the voting system to contain features in which no unauthorized software would be installed.

Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, Sponsors the Amendment

One of the senators sponsoring the bill, Erin Houchin, has spoken regarding the bill as being something that’s safeguarding the party’s platform and brand.

The bill was first put before the House Election Committee back in February of 2021. There have been several amendments since and which include allowing no-excuse absentee voting and the use of ballot drop boxes. However, these amendments were voted down.

Senator J.D. Ford introduced two amendments, one that allowed same-day registration in Indiana and one which required all voting machines to have paper ballot backups by July 2021. These amendments also failed to pass.

Usage of Voting Machines in the US

Indiana remains one of only eight states to make use of solely voting machines, with no paper ballots used as backups should a recount be needed. While this policy may be deemed efficient, it also limits the ability to do an accurate audit when required.

Ford’s amendment would involve using federal money in order for new equipment to be bought to provide paper backup ballots. There’s often a concern that voters will walk away from the machine, questioning whether or not it’s been accurately registered.

The amendment was voted down, with all ten Democrats voting yes and 39 Republicans voting no.

Importance of Security

Security continues to be a pressing concern in this day and age, whether in politics, business, or the lives of individuals.

Although there may not be a perfect solution to the issue of secure voting machines and backups, at a corporate level, many Indiana businesses choose to work with an experienced IT company in Bloomington to manage their cybersecurity. Working with professionals to update your security helps you avoid precarious situations such as that the state is currently navigating due to its potentially lax cybersecurity.