Legislature2013

Voting as safe as the big banks. Hypocrisy to go around.

Another installment in our observations of Cognitive Dissonance in Connecticut, especially the Legislature. The latest dissonance/hypocrisy involves the breech of personal information by state contractor JP Morgan Chase.
All we are left with is that Internet Voting is no more safe than Internet banking. Actually less so because vote fraud, without double entry bookkeeping is harder to detect and prove.

Cognitive Dissonance? Not in Connecticut when it comes to the Internet

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc – Wikipedia

The state fails at protecting data, legislators to get lesson in Internet security, N.I.S.T experts say unsafe the Internet is not safe for voting, the N.S.A. and others can look at practically anything, yet local registrars, the Secretary of the State, and the State Military Department can protect Internet voting by Legislative decree.

Electronic voting as safe as electricity and nuclear power?

In a recent Hartford Courant Op-Ed, Arthur House, chair of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and previous Director of Communications of the Director of National Intelligence addressed cyber threats to public utilities. We cannot help but compare the concern of Mr. House for our utilities ability to protect the infrastructure, with the sure confidence of our Governor and Legislature in the ability of the Secretary of the State and local election officials to develop systems, at no cost, to make the Internet safe for online voting. Democracy is at least as important as the infrastructure.

Student hijacks election, case highlights internet voting vulnerability

Another challenge for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and the state Military Department in creating a safe online voting system for Connecticut. We would add that one of the key (pun intended) vulnerabilities in online voting is in the user id’s and passwords required for voting.

Gov Malloy signs bill similar to one he said was risky and unconstitutional last year

Last year in 2012, after several weeks of consideration, Governor Malloy vetoed H.B. 5556 writing in his veto message:

Upon close examination, however, I find that some portions of this bill likely violate the United States Constitution…I cannot support the bill before me given its many legal and practical problems…First, as a matter of policy, I do not support any mechanism of voting that would require an individual to waive his or her constitutional rights in order to cast a timely, secret ballot, even if such waiver is voluntary. Second, as the Secretary of the State has pointed out, allowing an individual to email or fax an absentee ballot has not been proven to be secure. In 2011, the United States Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, issued a report on remote electronic voting. The report concluded that remote electronic voting is fraught with problems associated with software bugs and potential attacks through malicious software, difficulties with voter authentication, and lack of protocol for ballot accountability. None of these issues are addressed in this bill.

If elections can be protected at no cost, what about the electric grid?

Tongue in cheek, we note that this may be a major redundancy in effort and expense by utility regulators, since the Legislature has mandated that the Secretary of the State and the Military Department come up with a plan to provide secure electronic voting to the military by October 1st. The Secretary is also mandated in that bill to not only come up with the plan but to implement it without any expenditure!

When we see everybody from the CIA to Lockheed Martin and the Bank of America being hacked, along with concerns for our grid from our utility regulators, it’s pure hubris to think that our elections could not be compromised.

Governor Malloy: Please Veto Internet Voting BIll

Earlier this week we sent a letter to Governor Malloy requesting that he veto Senate Bill 647, now Public Act 13-185. It is now up to the Governor to protect voting integrity, uphold the Connecticut Constitution, and remain steadfast to the principles articulated to his veto message last year for a similar bill.

Political Disclosure: Sausage making is clearer and cleaner

This year the disclosure bill was back with full public hearings and some of the objections mitigated, heading for a legitimate debate and vote. Yet, it has been marred again with at least three additional concepts added. At minimum these concepts/bills deserve individual debate and up and down votes. The only concept that should be adopted is a good disclosure bill.

CT Senate’s Magical Mystery Military Voting Tour

In summary the bill requires the Secretary of the State, Military Department, and Local Officials to defy science and economics, performing at least two miracles!

Just in time for Memorial Day, the Connecticut Senate has passed unanimously, an amended version of S.B. 647, An Act Concerning Voting By Members Of The Military Serving Overseas – To permit voters who are members of the armed forces and serving overseas to return ballots by electronic means

Rational reasons against the National Popular Vote

Jason Paul joins a group of distinguished, prominent, and thoughtful democrats who have warned of the risks of the Compact: Former Wesleyan Professor and U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, Former State University Chancellor William Cibes, and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

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