A roll of "I Voted" stickers, which are handed out to residents after they vote, sit on an election officials table at a polling place on November 4, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.  In last Aprils election only 1,484 of Ferguson's 12,096 registered voters cast ballots. Community leaders are hoping for a much higher turnout for this election. Following riots sparked by the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, residents of this majority black community on the outskirts of St. Louis have been forced to re-examine race relations in the region and take a more active role in the region's politics. Two-thirds of Fergusons population is African American yet five of its six city council members are white, as is its mayor, six of seven school board members and 50 of its 53 police officers.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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A roll of "I Voted" stickers, which are handed out to residents after they vote, sit on an election officials table at a polling place on November 4, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. In last Aprils election only 1,484 of Ferguson's 12,096 registered voters cast ballots. Community leaders are hoping for a much higher turnout for this election. Following riots sparked by the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, residents of this majority black community on the outskirts of St. Louis have been forced to re-examine race relations in the region and take a more active role in the region's politics. Two-thirds of Fergusons population is African American yet five of its six city council members are white, as is its mayor, six of seven school board members and 50 of its 53 police officers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Public discussion of hackers meddling with the election has increased concern

Experts caution that influencing the presidential election through cyberattack is virtually impossible

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series about the security of the election system. Click here to read the first installment.

(CNN) —  

The Obama administration is accusing Russia of hacking US political organizations. States are reporting attempts – in one case successful – to breach voter registration databases. And the final days of the campaign are dominated by talk of whether the race is “rigged.”

The public is understandably concerned about the integrity of next month’s election.

But election officials and cyber experts say it’s virtually impossible for Moscow or some other outside group to influence the election outcome.

Hackers could create mischief – some say “chaos” – but the election system is resilient enough to withstand shocks. The key concern, experts feel, is public perception: Sowing distrust is easily achieved even without successful hacks. 

Here are five things you should know about the security of the election system.

1. Why is it unlikely the presidential election can be swayed by a hack?

The American election system is decentralized by design, with state, county and local governments all managing voting. Even though many precincts use voting machines, none are connected to the Internet, nor are they connected to each other.

That’s not to say voting machines don’t have vulnerabilities – those have been well documented and studied for more than 10 years. But to influence the outcome of a presidential election or statewide race would require physical tampering on a grand scale across in counties across multiple states on Election Day: In other words, it essentially can’t be done.

01:01 - Source: CNN Business
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“Nobody is going to be able to change the outcome of the presidential vote by hacking voting machines. The system is too distributed, too decentralized, too many implementations for any individual actor or group to make substantial change,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer scientist and cybersecurity expert at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.