Manipulation of demography
Division of opposition support
- Violence or the threat of violence: In its simplest form, voters from a particular demographic or known to support a particular party or candidate are directly threatened by supporters of another party or candidate or by those hired by them. In other cases, supporters of a particular party make it known that if a particular village or neighborhood is found to have voted the 'wrong' way, reprisals will be made against that community. Another method is to make a general threat of violence, for example a bomb threat which has the effect of closing a particular polling place, thus making it difficult for people in that area to vote. One notable example of outright violence was the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack, where followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh deliberately contaminated salad bars in The Dalles, Oregon, in an attempt to weaken political opposition during county elections.
- Attacks on polling places: Polling places in an area known to support a particular party or candidate may be targeted for vandalism, destruction or threats, thus making it difficult or impossible for people in that area to vote.
- Legal threats: In this case voters will be made to believe, accurately or otherwise, that they are not legally entitled to vote, or that they are legally obliged to vote a particular way. Voters who are not confident about their entitlement to vote may also be intimidated by real or implied authority figures who suggest that those who vote when they are not entitled to will be imprisoned, deported or otherwise punished. For example in 2004, in Wisconsin and elsewhere voters allegedly received flyers that said, "If you already voted in any election this year, you can’t vote in the Presidential Election", implying that those who had voted in earlier primary elections were ineligible to vote. Also, "If anybody in your family has ever been found guilty of anything you can’t vote in the Presidential Election." Finally, "If you violate any of these laws, you can get 10 years in prison and your children will be taken away from you." Another method, allegedly used in Cook County, Illinois in 2004, is to falsely tell particular people that they are not eligible to vote.
Misleading or confusing ballot papers
Misrecording of votes
Misuse of proxy votes
Destruction or invalidation of ballots
Tampering with electronic voting machines
- Tampering with the software of a voting machine to add malicious code altering vote totals or favor any candidate.
- Tampering with the hardware of the voting machine to alter vote totals or favor any candidate.
- Some of these machines require a smartcard to activate the machine and vote. However, a fraudulent smart card could attempt to gain access to vote multiple times.
- Abusing the administrative access to the machine by election officials might also allow individuals to vote multiple times.
- Election results that are sent directly over the internet from a county count center to the state count center can be vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, where they are diverted to an intermediate web site where the man in the middle flips the votes in favor of a certain candidate and then immediately forwards them on to the state count center. All votes sent over the internet violate chain of custody and hence should be avoided by driving or flying memory cards in locked metal containers from county count centers to the state count center. For purposes of getting quick preliminary statewide results on election night, encrypted votes can be sent over the internet, but final official results should be tabulated the next day only after the actual memory cards arrive in secure metal containers and are counted.