You take time off work, cast your ballot, get your sticker—only to learn that the electronic voting machine you used was hacked and your vote rendered meaningless. E-voting experts are predicting similar scenarios in the 17 states that still use paperless machines, the Christian Science Monitor reports. A cheater could could install a virus into a machine in just minutes, for example, or hack into a company that services the machines. Even more cunningly, someone could break one of the machine's security seals.
With the seal broken, an election worker would be powerless—after all, there are no paper ballots to be recounted. Election officials say they know who handles each machine and are putting the devices under video-security watch at night, but the experts just chuckle; one corrupt election official and thousands of votes could be altered. "It's not so much for the winners that we need" better security, says one analyst. "It's for the rest of the electorate—convincing the losers and their supporters they really did lose."