Prominent local cybersecurity expert wants to help you protect your vote

PITTSBURGH — The 2020 election season is already ramping up and there's a warning from a prominent Pittsburgh cybersecurity expert about protecting your vote.

"Look, I think it's dramatically urgent. I think we've known the DRE machines were hackable for over a decade," said David Hickton from the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security. "The protection of the integrity of our election is an urgent civic concern of the first order."

The former U.S. attorney for western Pennsylvania David Hickton is now part of a blue ribbon commission studying the state’s election security.

The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law Policy and Security announced what they call "much needed improvements to make Pennsylvania elections more secure."


"The way they're built, they are simply unprotected, they're vulnerable," Hickton said.

He's talking about DRE or touchscreen voting systems, which the commission says must be replaced with auditable paper ballot systems. They say state lawmakers need to find ways to help counties pay for the changes.

The commission also recommends audits to confirm the results after every election and vetting of all vendors for security risks.

"No one wants to spend money that we shouldn't spend, no one wants a tax increase," Hickton said. "On the other hand, this is a capital investment in a election infrastructure in the world's greatest democracy."