Security of Voter Registration Databases

This topic is for discussions of security-related issues associated with Voter Registration Databases.

Security Considerations

Information Types

  • Names and addresses of voters
  • Identification numbers, including drivers license and/or full/partial social security numbers
  • Mapping to precincts
  • Status information: e.g., party affiliation, UOCAVA status
  • Voter histories
Security Objectives and Impact Levels
  • Confidentiality: Moderate
  • Integrity: Moderate
  • Availability: Moderate
  • VRDB components may include:
    • Voter Registration Database back-end
    • Client/interface for election officials (may be networked)
    • Possible online voter registration component
  • VRDBs store large amounts of personally-identifiable information, some of which is sensitive.
    • Centralization at state levels increases the impact of failures, breaches, or other incidents.
  • Loss of availability or integrity of the VRDBs could be highly disurptive.
    • Paper and/or offline electronic pollbooks could provide backups to online/networked systems.
    • Provisional ballots provide a fallback option in the event of an irrecoverable failure, but the time and effort required to process provisional ballots is significant.
  • State VRDBs could be networked with county systems, either in real-time or at regular intervals.

VVSG Security Gap Analysis

Applicability of the VVSG 1.1 and/or draft VVSG 2.0

  • VVSG 1.1: Out of scope
  • VVSG 2.0: Out of scope
Estimated Level-of-Effort to Address
  • Significant- existing security requirements primarily developed for embedded systems, not databases or online systems
  • General cybersecurity best practices for IT systems could be applied/tailored to VRDBs
Gap Areas
  • Telecommunications requirements
  • Operational security best practices could be developed separate from system-level requirements
  • Potential overlap/links to EPollbooksSecurity

Related Resources:

  • ACM, Statewide Databases of Registered Voters: Study of Accuracy, Privacy, Usability, Security and Reliability Issues commisioned by the US Public Policy Commitee of the Association for Computing Machinery. Feb. 2006. Full Report.


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Topic revision: r5 - 2016-09-16 - BenjaminLong
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