Delaware to allow voters with disabilities to vote online in primary: report

Delaware will allow voters with disabilities to cast their ballots online during the upcoming primary election next month, NPR reported Tuesday

The move would make Delaware the second state to allow internet voting for those with disabilities, after West Virginia. New Jersey is also considering allowing some online voting for people with disabilities or those who live overseas, according to NPR. 

A spokesperson for the Delaware Department of Elections did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the report. 

Discussion around online voting has ramped up over the past month as in-person primary elections have been delayed or canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Mail-in voting has also been proposed by Democratic officials and voting rights advocates who argue that voters should not have to choose between their health and their right to vote. 

Cybersecurity advocates have long cautioned against voting online, saying it would open up vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors to interfere in elections. 

West Virginia used an app, Voatz, to allow military service members to vote during the midterm elections in 2018. A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered multiple vulnerabilities in the app as part of a study this year that would “allow different kinds of adversaries to alter, stop, or expose a user’s vote.”

West Virginia subsequently announced it would not use the app during the 2020 elections. The app was also used in 2018 in some municipal, state and federal elections in Colorado, Oregon and Utah.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the Democrats leading the push to fund mail-in voting on Capitol Hill, has repeatedly argued strongly against online voting. 

Wyden wrote a letter to Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno (R) pointing to concerns that Russian intelligence agents may exploit cyber vulnerabilities involved in online voting to interfere in elections in a similar way to their interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

“Russia’s 2016 campaign to meddle in our elections demonstrated the urgency of states doing everything in their power to secure Americans’ votes from hacking,” Wyden wrote. “Continuing to permit the use of internet voting — against the advice of cybersecurity experts — is simply asking for trouble.”

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