How resistant would RCV elections be to fraud and hacking?
RCV elections in Massachusetts would be just as resistant to fraud and hacking as existing plurality elections. However, there are some additional safety measures Massachusetts should take to shore up the integrity of all our elections, regardless of voting method.
Massachusetts is doing a couple of key things right with respect to election integrity. First, every polling location uses paper ballots that are either optically-scanned or hand-counted, ensuring every election has a voter-verifiable paper audit trail. DREs (direct-recording electronic machines) are not authorized for use in the state. Second, none of our voting machines are connected to the internet. Neither of these two features would change with a switch to RCV.
Currently, Massachusetts conducts audits for elections that take place during presidential election years. Our audits compare the cast vote record to a manual count in a random subset of precincts, and they are entirely compatible and will continue with ranked choice voting. We agree with the election integrity community that such audits should be conducted after every election, whether or not the election uses ranked choice voting.
Lastly, it is common for U.S. jurisdictions using RCV to post their cast vote record online for public inspection and outside analysis, providing a degree of transparency to RCV elections above and beyond most plurality elections. We expect Massachusetts will do the same, should we adopt RCV.