Malicious actors are likely to take advantage of the additional time required to count and certify all ballots this year to make the public doubt the election’s legitimacy. They may do this is by attacking the public facing websites of state and local election offices to post inaccurate results or defamation, sowing doubt in election results.
Elections Websites are Separate from Vote Counts
Public facing websites will be updated with unofficial results as ballots are counted on Election Day and in the days that follow. They are not connected to any voting or tabulation equipment, so infiltrating a public government website does not impact the vote tallying process.
If a website is down, either because of a cyberattack or technological malfunction, the public may not be able to access results for a short time, but voting systems and voting data are still secure.
Election Officials and Cybersecurity Agencies are Prepared
In recent years, elections officials have been hard at work with our nation’s leading law enforcement and cybersecurity agencies to secure and strengthen elections infrastructure.
Furthermore, the decentralized nature of American elections makes any coordinated, widespread cyberattack virtually impossible.
In the event that a website goes down, election officials have back-up communication channels with the public—including through news and social media outlets—about where and when official results will be available.
There is no evidence that malicious actors have or will be able to change vote tallies this year. The strength of malicious actors lies their ability to make the public doubt the integrity of our election process.
Reports of cyberattacks are often exaggerated, and you should always take extra care to verify the information you hear not spread false or embellished content.