The U.S. has many safeguards protecting voting equipment, so any actual hack would probably be localized, quickly detected and unlikely to affect final results. But as 2020 showed, even an attempt to change votes — or the mere allegation of tampering — could undermine faith in the outcome.
Hacking threats and disinformation fears loom large as voters head to the polls.
The midterms face a bevy of digital threats, from stolen Twitter accounts to hacked election websites, that could spark chaos, confusion and unrest that last long after the polls close.
The 2020 presidential election was rife with allegations of voting machine hacks that were later debunked. Yet there are real risks that hackers could tunnel into voting equipment and other election infrastructure to try to undermine Tuesday’s vote.
The U.S. officials charged with protecting election security say they’re watching for threats from multiple groups and countries. And in recent months, social media companies and cybersecurity researchers have identified Chinese influence operations aimed at the elections.