State election officers, in addition to authorized and expertise specialists and a few nonprofit teams that promote voting, argued that the digital transmission of ballots raised safety and privateness considerations, and that altering the foundations so near the election would place an undue burden on election officers and confuse voters. Earlier this yr, a number of federal companies issued guidance classifying digital poll return as excessive threat.

J. Remy Inexperienced, one of many attorneys who introduced the case, mentioned digital voting through the web or apps shouldn’t be conflated with the digital transmission of ballots, which is extra troublesome to hack because it entails particular person e-mail accounts and fax transmissions, and that the safety threat was outweighed by the profit to voters abroad. The Protection Division even offers a free email-to-fax service for returning abroad ballots.

George Sorrells, an data expertise skilled residing outdoors Zurich, and his spouse, Julie Sorrells, tracked their ballots to Wisconsin, solely to find that his had arrived however hers had not. When Mr. Sorrells investigated, he realized he had forgotten to signal his spouse’s poll as a witness and he or she must mail a brand new one from Switzerland.

With the election approaching, they despatched the second poll by FedEx. Mr. Sorrells, who spent nearly $80 in complete returning their ballots, mentioned it was value it to make sure they arrived. However he mentioned in some methods he would have felt safer if there have been an e-mail choice.

“I paid all that more money to trace the silly factor,” he mentioned, “after which I nonetheless wound up for nearly two weeks pondering, ‘OK, did this factor truly make it there or not?’”

Dana Rawls, a Georgia voter who works in communications in Adelaide, Australia, mentioned she had voted from the nation with out situation since 2006, “however this yr has been an absolute nightmare.”

After Georgia’s major election in June, Ms. Rawls was dismayed to study that the native election workplace by no means obtained her accomplished poll. She was decided her vote could be counted in November.

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