Sen. Ron Wyden wants every state to offer the option to vote by mail.
To help thwart the hacking of American voting systems, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden wants to conduct all future voting using ballots sent via the mail.
While Wyden’s proposal is primarily intended to make it easier for Americans to vote by saving them a trip to the polls, the Senator said in a statement this week that it could reduce the likelihood of “foreign and domestic attacks” on the electoral process.
“We should not underestimate how dangerous… attacks on election systems could be,” Wyden told Ars Technica. “If a foreign state were to eliminate registration records for a particular group of Americans immediately before an election, they could very likely disenfranchise those Americans and swing the results of an election.”
The FBI is investigating attacks on the computer systems of several state election offices and the Democratic party, but there is no indication that hackers have altered registration data.
Still, the Department of Homeland Security is urging state election officials to be careful and consult the agency for a cyber-security “hygiene” check of sorts.
“To date, 33 state and 11 county or local election agencies have approached the Department of Homeland Security about our cybersecurity services,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “With 29 days to go before the November 8 election, we encourage other election agencies to do the same.”
Wyden has long championed voting by mail, even before this fall’s hacking concerns. Oregon is one of only three states that have eliminated traditional polls in favor of mailed ballots.
Voters can either return their ballots via the US Postal Service or drop them at designated sites on Election Day.
“When fewer Americans vote, the special interests and big businesses win and everyone else loses,” Wyden said in a statement on his website. “Government can never truly represent the American people if citizens don’t have the opportunity to have their voices heard at the ballot box.”