Can hackers tamper with a Tennessee election?

Jan 18, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  State officials say it would be difficult for hackers to tamper with Tennessee’s election system, but not impossible.

In a presentation Tuesday to a State Senate panel, Elections Coordinator Mark Goins told legislators Tennessee is not one of the 21 states federal officials say were targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election.

Credit wallethub.com

He noted that the state’s voting machines are not connected to the internet and so are largely immune to hacking.

But Goins went on to say that two other voting systems are online and their security is what keeps him up at night. He worries, for example, about the security of the state’s voter registration data.

“Where they might have created some type of disruption is if they could have deleted voters or put voters back in.”

Goins says he also worries that hackers could alter the online voting results provided by the state on election night. He explained to lawmakers that layers of vote certification would prevent any tapering from actually affecting the outcome of an election, but Goins says a breach could still be extremely damaging.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett explained to lawmakers, that compromised election reporting would shake the public’s confidence.

“If we said that somebody had won a race by a thousand votes and then all of a sudden we made a correction and they showed them losing by a thousand votes, all of a sudden people watching the returns would think ‘Well, what happened? They went back and rigged something.'”

Goins and Hargett outlined a number of measures the state is taking to secure Tennessee’s election system.