Western Democracies Facing Cyberattack Threats Return to Election Basics


ballots

Elections in western democracies are going back to pad and paper, abandoning the conveniences of modern technology as they hope to reduce the risk of cyberattacks by outside actors such as Russian-backed hackers.

In a year where the European Union possibly hangs in the balance there are three national elections in three EU countries. 

The Netherlands and France have concluded that the easiest and most reliable solution is to go back to the basics.

French citizens living overseas will have to travel back to France to cast a ballot June’s parliamentary election as a precaution against an “extremely high-level threat of cyber attacks,” according to the government ministry that oversees voting, Bloomberg News reported.

French voters will also be required to cast a paper ballot for the April and May presidential election.

The Netherlands announced that all ballots in its March 15 election will be counted by hand, and that it will give up computers altogether after the U.S. accused Russia of hacking during the 2016 presidential election. 

The Economist has called the French election “the vote that could wreck the European Union” because Marine Le Pen, of the populist National Front party, has a preference for pulling France out of the euro and the EU. The Netherlands and Germany have similarly anti-EU candidates in competition for national office.

With 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluding that Russia interfered in the U.S. election, there are fears spreading throughout Europe that Russia also meddle in their elections in help anti-EU candidates and sow distrust in the integrity of electoral systems.

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