Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Do our neverending elections make America more vulnerable to campaign hacking?

One reason that goes unmentioned but seems to be lurking in the background in this article about why the apparent Russian hack of Macron's campaign in the French election was less effective at damaging Macron than the damage caused by the hack of the Democrats in the American presidential election, is the fact that American elections go on forever and every other democracy's elections don't.

The two major parties held their primaries in November 2016 and January 2017. Polling only started in February 2017. There were two debates prior to the first round of elections, on March 20 and April 4 (a third debate, originally scheduled for April 20, was canceled). The first round of elections was held on April 23, 2017, and the runoff was held two weeks later on May 7, 2017. In other words, the entire French Presidential campaign went from November 2016 to May 7, 2017, less than 7 months, and it really did not get going until after the new year.

Compare that with the two year slog that is the 2016 American presidential election. No wonder the hackers in the French election were "rushed and sloppy". They just didn't have much time because the election was on such a tight schedule. They only had two weeks to hack Macron after they found out that he would be the one going against Le Pen. The hackers had months, if not years, to plan and execute their hack of the Clinton campaign. There's no need to rush when it comes to our elections.