WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Group Warns Maryland's Online Voter Registration Could Lead To Fraud

Play associated audio

An advocacy group in Maryland is calling the state's new online voter registration system "hacker friendly." 

Maryland's new Online Voter Registration system closed this week when the deadline passed Oct. 16. But the nonprofit Save Our Votes believes the registrations that did go through the system were wide open for tampering. 

This is mainly because of how the state was verifying voter identities, says Rebecca Wilson, who works with the group.

"What is used as their signature, approving their registration change or new registration, is their driver's license or motor vehicle administration ID number," she says. "It turns out not very secure."

It's a problem, Wilson says, because some websites can retrieve your drivers license number using your name and your birthday. She demonstrates on a laptop.

"And I hit submit and it tells me what my driver's license number is and in this case, that's true. That is showing my actual driver's license number," she says. 

Using this entry into a record, fraudulent groups could possibly change voter addresses, says Wilson. Say a Prince George's County voter's address is changed to one in St. Mary's County. He or she could have problems voting on Election Day.

But the State Board of Elections refutes the claim, saying the system is secure. Staff is monitoring it for any unusual activity, says board of elections deputy administrator Ross Goldstein.

"I think what is doing in theory or technically what could happen with the system, and what could actually happen given all the processes that are in place are very different," Goldstein says. 

The address change scenario preventing someone from voting is highly unlikely, because the state sends a confirmation letter to each updated address, adds Goldstein.

"If you're voter registration gets sent to me, I'm obviously going to pick up the phone and call the election office and say, 'Why did I just get somebody's voter registration confirmation notice. They don't live here," says Goldstein.

Wilson and Save our Votes are urging Maryland voters to check their addresses before Election Day on the state Board of Elections website.

NPR

For 3 Climbers, Summiting Meru Was An 'Irresistible' Challenge

Meru is a 21,000-foot mountain in northern India. Some of the greatest climbers in the world have tried and failed to reach its peak — a sheer granite wall known as the Shark's Fin.
NPR

How Big Egg Tried To Bring Down Little 'Mayo' (And Failed)

Newly released emails from the American Egg Board reveal embarrassing details about its fight against the vegan product Just Mayo. Industry critics say the board's antics may have broken the law.
WAMU 88.5

Friday News Roundup - International

Hungary struggles to deal with thousands of migrants at a Budapest train station. World leaders react to news the Obama administration clears a hurdle on the Iran nuclear deal. And the king of Saudi Arabia makes his first official visit to Washington. A panel of journalists joins guest host Tamara Keith for analysis of the week's top international news stories.

NPR

How The Architect Of Netflix's Innovative Culture Lost Her Job To The System

Netflix is famous for pioneering a company culture that demands standout results from every employee. One of the architects of this philosophy ended up losing her job to the system she created.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.