The Anonymous threat to shut down the Iowa caucus should be taken seriously. Electronic balloting can be easily manipulated by code injection techniques. When the District of Columbia, as a test, invited hackers to try to crack its online voting system, a professor and his class at the University of Michigan altered the system to make it play “the Victors,” the school’s fight song.
Even if the process is safeguarded, in a close election just the suspicion of hacking will always haunt the results. The best solution is to go back to paper ballots, take several days to count them, and condition ourselves to expect the results to be announced 48 hours later. Our need for the instant gratification of seeing who won and who lost might be the undoing of our democracy.