NJ Politics Digest: What’s Old Could Be New Again in Plan to Fight Election Hacking

New Jersey's election system is among the least secure in the nation.

Will voters of the future swing left or right?
There is concern New Jersey’s voting system can be hacked without the tampering being detected. Joe Hall/Flickr

New Jersey’s election system is among the least secure in the nation, and a new plan to correct that could see the state return to keeping paper records of votes cast as a way to prevent election hacking.

Those are among the proposals in the New Jersey Elections Security Act, which is designed to increase security of the state elections, according to a report by NJSpotlight.

At a hearing this week on the proposed legislation, all those who testified agreed that the state needs new voting machines that allow for paper records of votes cast, according to the report.

Such a backup system is needed to assure that votes are “accurate and legitimate,” said Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic), a co-sponsor of the bill, according to the report.

New Jersey’s voting system received a D grade from the Center for American Progress because most counties use touchscreen voting machines that leave no paper records. The proposed legislation would require the state switch to paper ballots that are optically scanned but leave a record of the votes cast, according to the report.

Mazzeo’s bill calls for the new machines to be phased in over four years, for the state to pay the cost of purchasing them and requires partial audits after each election to assure the paper tally matches the reported results, according to the report.

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NJ Politics Digest: What’s Old Could Be New Again in Plan to Fight Election Hacking