I've seen news articles that there was electronic tampering in the last US national election[1][2]. Some articles say the registration systems were tampered with--so people were marked as not registered or registered in the wrong precinct. While other articles raise questions about the security of electronic voting booths.

Will my vote be safer, (less risk of tampering with my registration and ballot), if I cast an absentee ballot by mail?

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    Citations please – James K Sep 2 '17 at 18:52
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    Amending @JamesK's comment somewhat: credible citations please. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 2 '17 at 20:44
  • I guess there is not enough information available to conclude this question positively or negatively. There is simply not enough reliable knowledge about the methods how votes are tampered with. – Trilarion Sep 4 '17 at 15:14

Will my vote be safer (less risk of tampering with my registration and ballot) if I cast an absentee ballot by mail?

No. It is much easier to tamper with an absentee ballot than a vote cast in person. In particular, consider what happens if someone sends in a second absentee ballot. Depending on the rules of the state, the result could be any of

  1. Neither ballot counts.
  2. The first ballot counts.
  3. The last ballot counts.

One argument against requiring IDs to vote is actually based on the point that absentee ballots require no identification whatsoever. So the argument is that there is no reason to require ID for in-person votes when any fraudster could simply vote absentee.

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  • But I would think it would be a bit more difficult for the Russians to rewrite a mail ballot. – TomO Sep 4 '17 at 16:53

To quote from the first article:

no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it.

For the second I invoke Betteridge's law of headlines: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." And quote:

The New York Times reporters acknowledge that it is uncertain whether the problems were caused by Kremlin-directed hacking or a more innocuous mishap like software malfunctions or human error

The second article seems to be a rehash of the NYT article, it doesn't seem to me to add anything significant.

As for your question: you can vote using any method and be reasonably sure that your vote will be counted. There is no evidence of widespread malpractice. As the articles note, there is nothing substantial that suggests that problems that voting machines had were caused by Russian "hackers". And so there is no reason to believe that that voting by absentee ballot is in any way "safer".

To illustrate by analogy, you could have asked "I heard a woman got attacked by a monkey at walmart. Will I be safer if I shop at Kroger?"

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  • Re "no evidence of widespread malpractice": given malpractice, the impractical hodgepodge of voting systems the USA currently deploys aren't well-engineered for verification and are unlikely to leave much evidence behind, except boastful yet unpopular office holders. – agc Sep 4 '17 at 3:45

Did you see the video(s) of vote counters calmly shuffling "Yes" votes into "No" piles in the Scottish Referendum a few years back?

There's no need to worry about your votes being tampered by some random bad guys, when the government will tamper with them as they see fit anyway.

Election results are pre-determined by governments. Western governments don't want to be too blatant about rigging elections, because they still serve their intended purpose: To make the masses think they have a say in how they're coerced.

But for example, someone living in North-Korea wouldn't place too much faith in their local elections, for good reason. Then again, Kim probably doesn't bother with holding them.

In a nutshell, elections are meant to keep you believing in the political process. But as you may already have noticed, no matter how fervently you cast your vote, the government just keeps shafting you harder and harder.

That's because a piece of paper dropped into a box has no effect on what the politician you voted for can do, once elected. They're all free to keep shafting you, no matter what they told you before you voted.

It's not magic paper, after all.

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    Perhaps you could provide some support for your claims, even if from tinfoil enthusiasts, or at least stick to the fraud angle and drop the effect of well counted votes. – user9389 Sep 4 '17 at 14:53
  • Do you need support for the claim that your voting paper has no magical powers? --If not, then you'll have to agree with me, perhaps after putting some thought into it. – Peter Lindstrom Sep 4 '17 at 15:20
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    Agreement doesn't really enter into it. As it is now it's opinion that strays slightly from topic. If you add sources it becomes an established political position, if you stick to the topic you are less vulnerable to flags and deletion. – user9389 Sep 4 '17 at 18:58

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