Or rather, I should say the companies that the government hires can't protect the elections. With open-source software and a paper trail ballot standard on each voting machine, we could solve the problem. But the government isn't really interested in that. They just want to continue to dole out the favors in return for campaign contributions.
There are great hackers all over the world. I belive that any country can recruit whomever they need to hack into databases for them. There have been various security breaches this year alone from around the world, affecting the US specifically. I have heard of hackings into the FBI. How much more a database as small as a state election?
We must continue to protect sensitive information. Despite efforts to do so, we see that information can be very vulnerable - the most recent event in this regard being the leaking of DNC emails by WikiLeaks. Because of hacks which have happened in the last year, it has been shown that our information is vulnerable and we must take further steps to encrypt information and protect security.
I don't believe an outside company can fudge the numbers to win an election but I do believe they can hack into emails and sway people to vote in a different direction than originally intended. We have seen an example of this recently with the constant barrage of new information on Hillary Clinton's emails. The government needs to get control of this.