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Iowa unveils its new election security feature: Pieces of paper

Vox – The Iowa caucuses are our first look at new security measures for the 2020 election cycle. “On Monday, Iowans will have a chance to vote for their preferred presidential candidate in the state’s caucus — our first indication of who will ultimately win the Democratic Party nomination. It will also be our first look at how states are upping their presidential election cybersecurity game since 2016, when Russia attempted to hack US voting machines — and which it is likely to attempt again this election cycle, and with four more years of experience. But don’t worry, Iowa’s Democratic Party is instituting a revolutionary new tool that no computer hacker can possibly defeat: a 2,200-year-old technology called “paper.”
In the wake of the problematic punch-card ballots that might have decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, electronic voting machines were seen as a way to improve accuracy and make elections more accessible. But after years of issues with the machines and fears that they could be hacked — culminating in the 2016 presidential election — many states dialed back their march toward a paperless future, returning to paper voting machines and paper backups. The Iowa caucus doesn’t rely on voting machines at all; rather, caucusgoers meet at various precincts across the state and (in the case of Democratic caucuses, that is — Republicans have a different system), literally, vote with their feet. They stand in different sections of the room depending on who their presidential nominee of choice is. It’s not the most scientific process, but, as the first presidential nominating contest in the country, the result gives the winning candidate momentum heading into presidential primary season. The Iowa caucus has predicted the correct Democratic nominee in 7 out of 10 contested caucuses since it began in 1972. It hasn’t gotten it wrong since 1992…”

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