National

How Do We Know Without Recounts?

We have all seen many articles and posts on the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  We are likely to see many more.  For now, here are a few points about the recounts:

  • I am entirely in favor of  thorough post-election audits and recounts.
  • I am entirely in favor of the recounts initiated by Jill Stein.
  • Even if there is no change in the state winners, Election Integrity has won already
  • Yet, maybe we will not win that much in the end
  • All the objections to the recounts are partisan

An Electoral House of Cards – When votes are not publicly verifiable

An Alternet interview of Jonathan Simon: Something Stinks When Exit Polls and Official Counts Don’t Match – A discussion with an exit poll expert reveals an electoral house of cards. 

When their were claims that exit polls did not match in the Democratic Primary, I said that neither side made the case  saying, “I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Now a very thoughtful interview with Jonathan Simon who outlines the case that we should be concerned about the exit polls and concerned just as much that we cannot verify our elections

Be Careful What You Ask For: NPV Compact Has Unintended Consequences

Once again, we have an election where it is alleged that the losing candidate won the popular vote.  Understandably we have calls from her supporters to abolish the Electoral College by means of the National Popular Vote Compact.

Once again, we must articulate to our friends why this is a bad idea.  Once again, we point out to most of those that support the Electoral College that they support it primarily for the wrong reasons.

We have a broken, risky, unequal election system.  Cobbling a well-intended compact on top of it makes it more risky, more vulnerable, and the results even less credible:

*****Update 11/16/2016 Pleased to be republished at the CTMirror.

The System That Won’t Prove It Is Accurate

Jonathan Simon says it so well at Truthout: Between Trump and a Hard Place: The Truth About “Rigged” Elections 

It should be rather obvious that the unidentified insiders charged with the programming, and anyone working through them, enjoy an even greater level of access to the counting process than do foreign hackers targeting our systems from the outside. It should be obvious that this is a colossally stupid risk for our nation to take. And it should be obvious that there is something wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee wrong when those upon whom the public relies for information refuse to seriously address and come clean about that risk…Only a public, observable counting process (i.e., hand-counted paper ballots or uniform public audits with gleaming teeth) can rebuild our shattered faith in the fidelity of our electoral process.

I chose the post title deliberately. “The System” is not computers or pollworkers, but the whole voting system created by people we have put in charge. That system could be changed moderately to provide proof of its accuracy. It is that the system of people won’t recognize and address the problem.

Another Annotation: Don’t stop being concerned about election integrity.

Lately the news is filled with Donald Trump saying the election is rigged and with election officials and others saying that is impossible.  We continue to disagree with both. As we have said:

The truth is that there is no more or less risk to elections this year than in the recent past. The bad news is that the risks of election skullduggery are significant and do not come only from one adversary.

So, lets annotate a recent Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant: Nothing Rigged About American Elections

Secret Ballot and Constitution under assault in Connecticut by AP and Secretary of the State’s Office

One AP story, two different versions in the Connecticut Post and the Hartford Courant.

As we said in our comment on the Connecticut Post article:

Connecticut has this other thing called the Constitution. It is even available at the Secretary’s website. It says: “The right of secret voting shall be preserved.”, which would likely be interpreted as not taking a picture of your ballot such that you could prove how it was voted. Otherwise votes could easily be bought, sold or intimidated. http://www.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?q=392288

Could the election be hacked? Checking a “Fact Checker”

USAToday article: Could the U.S. election be hacked?  <read>

We add some annotations:  [Bottom-line there is a conspiracy in plan view.  A thinly disguised attempt to assure us that elections are not vulnerable and that any attempt to say otherwise is an attack on every pollworker.]

Ballots Still Broken: Doug Jones on Today’s Voting Machines

Broken Ballots co-author, Doug Jones interview on the vulnerabilities of today’s voting machines, the newer models available, risks of Election Management Systems, and Internet voting: Douglas Jones on Today’s Voting Machines  <read>

Fortunately, Connecticut has avoided the problem of corruption of the EMS by using a separate system from programming elections and using a manual reporting system to accumulate the results at the end of the night.  That does not mean our systems are safe from errors, hacking, and fraud.

Dr. Harri Hursti addresses the potential for Russian election attacks

Dr. Harri Hursti is a respected international expert on electronic security, especially electronic voting.  In a recent interview he addressed  the risks and chances of correctly attributing the source of attacks, specifically focusing on Russia.

What do you think of the news that a member of Congress says there is “no doubt” that Russia is behind recent attacks on state election systems

The article makes several dangerous assumptions about the security of elections and election systems. Representative Adam Schiff said he doubted (Russians) could falsify a vote tally in a way that effects the election outcome. He also said outdated election systems makes this unlikely, but really, it just makes it easier. The voting machines were designed at a time when security wasn’t considered, included, or part of the specifications at all.

A Meeting, A Hearing, and Lots of Nonsense

In the last two weeks there was a meeting of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and a hearing of the House Science and Technology Committee on “Cyber and Voting Machine Attacks”.  In total there were seven “experts” giving their opinions along with many of the committee members giving theirs. For the most part, solid facts and reason were missing.  The general plan seemed to be officials going overboard in reassuring the public.

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