National

Three days at the Fairfax Risk Limiting Audit Prototype

Last Wednesday through Friday I attended and observed the City of Fairfax, VA Risk Limiting Audit Prototype.  I was most impressed by the level of participation and cooperation of the State, County, and Local Officials. Was it partially because they are all appointed? I can’t be sure.

Here is a news story that explains it at a very high level. No doubt other reports and the official City of Fairfax report will go into more depth: First new Va. election results audit held in Fairfax city <read>

Any doubt I was there? Check out the photo of the group watching a presentation. I am last row, last on the right.

Georgia: New information enhance title as a Most Vulnerable State

article from McClatchy: Georgia election officials knew system had ‘critical vulnerabilities’ before 2016 vote

Georgia election officials got a friendly warning in August 2016 that their electronic voting system could be easily breached.

But less than a month before the November election, a state cybersecurity official fretted that “critical vulnerabilities” persisted, internal emails show.

The emails, obtained through a voting security group’s open records request, offer a glimpse into a Georgia election security team that appeared to be outmatched even as evidence grew that Russian operatives were seeking to penetrate state and county election systems across the country…

The disclosures add to alarms about the security of Georgia’s elections — not only in 2016, but also heading into this fall’s midterm elections.

The most vulnerable state: Georgia

Electronic election suspicions in Georgia have been there since the dawn of century. Now with Secretary of State Brian Kemp running for Governor, a New Yorker article reviews the recent history of ongoing vulnerability, lack of investigation by the state, and cover-up.

Our Editorial

Has our democracy been stolen in Georgia? Will it continue to be stolen? This is not just a problem for Georgia voters. The Senators and Representatives from each state change the balance in Washington, the Electoral College votes from Georgia count toward who is our President, especially in close elections like 2000, 2004 and 2016. The fully justified suspicion alone undermines confidence in Democracy.

Instead of papering over suspicions, Georgia should be moving to paper ballots and sufficient post-election audits.

Top voting vendor, ES&S, admits lying to public and election officials for years

Article from Mother Board by Kim Zetter: Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States <read>

Wyden told Motherboard that installing remote-access software and modems on election equipment “is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.”

I would add that lying about ballot boxes being left on a Moscow street corner is equivalent to flat out lying about the software installed on your products. We should expect more from companies whose hands and integrity upon which our elections depend.

VoteAllegheny Analysis of Election Risks in One County

VoteAllegheny presents a report by Carnegie-Mellon researchers on the vulnerabilities in a single county in a swing state. The biggest takeaway for us is understanding that a top-down analysis of vulnerabilities can yield the most cost-effective areas to focus on preventing election fraud. Where we spend our resources can make a difference in the results!

Suggestions for reading and viewing on the 4th of July


Once again, we have a suggestions for the 4th of July. A Centennial address from 1876.

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.