National

Book Review: Reporter: A Memoir by Seymour Hersch

If you think it’s unfair to Hersh to reveal all his secrets in a review, don’t worry — this is not even 1/100 of what his book contains…

“Reporter” provides detailed explications of how Hersh has used these lessons [about investigated journalism], making it one of the most compelling and significant books ever written about American journalism. Almost every page will tell you something you’ve never heard before about life on earth. Sometimes it’s Hersh elaborating on what he’s already published; sometimes it’s new stories he felt he couldn’t write about when he first learned of them; and sometimes it’s the world’s most intriguing, peculiar gossip.

There is an excellent interview with Sy Hersh just released as an Intercepted podcast

Starting at about 10min in to the interview, Sy provides his take on the evidence that Russians accessed the DNC emails in the run-up to the Nov 2016 election…

Election Vulnerability: What we can learn from Ed Snowden and the NSA.

Now I have your attention, we can discuss the NSA and Ed Snowden in a bit. Let’s start with an Editorial:

Protecting Against Russian Cyber Risks is Insufficient. The attention on Cybersecurity, election hacking and Russian interference is good. There are cyber risks and Russia is capable. We should improve our cybersecurity across the board, including elections. Every vote should be backed up by a, so called, voter verified paper ballot. Yet that is far from sufficient.

It’s Impossible to Know (how) Your Internet Vote Counted

As West Virginia plans, once again, to allow Internet voting for military voters, it is a good time to remind everyone that Internet voting (web page, web application, email, fax voting etc.) are all unsafe for democracy. And that block-chains cannot solve those problems.

One of those problems is that there is no guarantee that your laptop or smart phone has not been hacked in a way that  alters your vote. Another challenge is the, so called, Secret Ballot.

America is still unprepared for a Russian attack on our elections

Washington Post: America is still unprepared for a Russian attack on our elections

Though these machines are not routinely connected to the Internet, NYU’s Lawrence Norden warns that there are nonetheless ways to infiltrate them…

Having paper-friendly machines is hardly enough.

NPV Compact – for the 7th or 8th time: It sounds good but has Unintended Consequences

On Monday we testified against the National Popular Vote Compact. We have been testifying against it since it was first proposed in Connecticut in 2007. There are two companion bills, you can link to them from our testimony. We have been saying pretty much the same things for the last several years. Each year we hone our testimony a bit and listen to new and predominant arguments from the proponents and make small adjustments.

As I have said many times, most of the democrats (and my friends) who support the Compact are wrong. And most of the Republicans opposed, are opposed for the wrong reason. Unlike the National “Experts” that fly in each year to testify, I provide complete testimony with facts that they have not successfully disputed since 2007.

American Progress Report: State Election Security Readiness

American Progress Report: Election Security in All 50 States

The report gives every state grades based on some detailed criteria. Connecticut was graded ‘B’, which it shared with several other states as the highest grade awarded. Yet there are problems and limitations with such reports. We would give Connecticut lower grades in some areas, higher in others, and are uncomfortable with other grades.

The report is useful and provides directions for improvement in many areas in every state. Election officials, legislators, and voters should act to improve our voting systems and laws in the near term.  We would give the authors A+ for effort and the report a grade of B.

Video: Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman

I have followed this story off and on for years. As promised this film not only reviews the story but adds additional information. People ask me if any elections have been stolen. I say probably a few are and point to this as one that was. The cover-up is much much worse than the initial crime. The cover-up of the cover-up even worse. Yet, nothing happening once everything was pretty much in the open is worst of all. Like many documentaries, the first half or so is a little slow, yet you will be richly, disturbingly rewarded for watching till the end.

The constitutional case against partisan gerrymandering

The Chicago Tribune, via Verified Voting: The constitutional case against partisan gerrymandering

The case against partisan gerrymandering is not hard to make. It frustrates democracy by preventing voters from evicting those in power. It penalizes voters of one party or the other by deliberately diluting their electoral strength. It renders the consent of the governed largely moot.

Virginia saga continues

Last time we editorialized that the Virginia race that came down to a single ballot and a drawing was noting to be alarmed at, nothing but a close vote.  Yet, there is a new twist,  with many voters in Virginia registered in incorrect districts.  In the district in question just a single voter incorrectly voting in the district or incorrectly excluded could have changed the result. Virginia: Thousands of Virginians may have voted in the wrong state House districts

We cannot trust computers, communications, or officials with elections

Recently two serious structural flaws in computer chips have been disclosed (they were discovered several months ago). So far, the understanding is that one will be difficult to fix and the other impossible, without a new computer architecture.  See:  The World Grapples with Critical Computer Flaws <read>

We cannot say it enough, “Ultimately, computers cannot be protected from fraud and error.” We also cannot trust officials to operate flawlessly. Fortunately, there are solutions.

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