National

Will good help be available from Homeland Security, and will Connecticut ask for it?

The Department of Homeland Security has designated Election Infrastructure as Critical Infrastructure. We ask three questions.  We would like to see evaluations in Connecticut.

We emphasize thesee’ as secret evaluations would do little to provide the public assurance, and likely as not, would be available one way or another to those bent on using them to exploit weaknesses in the system.

Video: The Story of the Attempted Presidential Election Audit

Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

Also, I’m not sure that we at the University of Michigan could hack into all the paper ballots across multiple states sufficient to change the Presidential election. But I’m pretty sure my undergraduate security course could have changed the outcome of the Presidential election this year. It really is that bad, – Alex Halderman

Lessons from the “recount”. What would have happened here?

The Nation, hopefully, learned some lessons about our existing “recounts” after the November Election.  We learned some disappointing lessons in three states.  We likely would have learned similar lessons in the other states that have recounts.  Remember that only about half the states have recounts at all.  What might we have learned about Connecticut’s recanvasses?

We recommend three articles and comment on Connecticut’s recanvasses.

Our best guess is that Connecticut would rank close to Pennsylvania.  Observed variations and poor recanvass procedures, with courts sooner or later. stopping or blocking the recanvass.

[Election] law is an ass

State and Federal have ruled that Jill Stein does not have standing to call for a recount in Michigan.

Our Opinion: The Michigan law[and or this ruling] is an ass, every single voter in the United States has an interest in the vote in every  state, in every municipality, and that the vote of each voter is counted and totaled accurately. Each of those plays a part in selecting our President and the majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

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

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