Precinct Voting Denial of Service

R. Michael Alvarez

This is a type of threat that has a long history in electoral politics, and can take many forms.1 The basic approach is that a perpetrator attacks precinct voting, regardless of voting system, on election day in an effort to disrupt the process sufficiently to produce an effective “denial of service” attack. The perpetrator, based on an analysis of past elections returns, would target selected precincts that are highly likely to cast votes in a certain direction. For example, if the perpetrator wished to sway the election for party X, he or she would target precincts that have very heavy concentrations of party Y supporters. In a close election, especially in lower-level races, such an attack could either sway the outcome of an election to party X or could throw considerable doubt and distrust into the announced election outcome.

Prepared for NIST “Threats to Voting Systems” Workshop

Date Published: 
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