Apart from Russia’s disinformation campaign during the election, there also is reason to be alarmed about Russian cyberattacks on voting systems, including voter databases and electronic poll books used to verify voters’ identities and registration status. Recent reports indicate that Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states, and that the scope of these attacks exceeded what had been previously disclosed. These revelations are consistent with prior findings of intelligence agencies that Russian spies have been conducting reconnaissance on U.S. election processes and technology.

But setting aside for now worries about what happened in 2016, it is equally—if not more—important to consider the startling potential for interference in future presidential elections. As Clint Watts, a counterterrorism expert and former FBI agent, testified in a March hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Today, you can create content, gain the audience, build the bots, pick out the election and even the voters that are valued the most in swing states and actually insert the right content in a deliberate period.” Furthermore, he explained that outside actors are capable of cleverly disguising bots as human beings with local flavor…