On top of these domestic problems, there is the external threat. According to a report by the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the N.S.A., Russia engaged in a concerted effort to undermine the election process in 2016 by leaking stolen documents, hacking voting systems and disseminating “fake news.” Attempted Russian cyberattacks on voter databases were widespread, with hacking hitting systems in up to 39 states. According to a report in Time magazine, hackers successfully changed voter data in a county database in one state, although the database was corrected before the election.
By 2020, cyberattacks could try to alter or erase voter registration databases, bring down our power grids or transportation infrastructure, or do something else to interfere with actual voting on Election Day. The next hacks could include malicious, false information interspersed with accurate stolen files; public confidence in the fairness of our electoral process could decrease further, even if the hacks are unsuccessful, as incendiary and unsupported claims about voter fraud, cheating and altered vote totals spread via social media.
The courts cannot save us from any of this.