How to excite the public about electronic voting: “Russia Might Hack an Election”

Apparently Donald Trump and the media have done in a few days what computer scientists, security experts, and voting integrity advocates have failed at for at least sixteen years:  Excite the public about the dangers of electronic voting.

Apparently the threat of a sophisticated Russian hack is more threatening that an election being taken by the equivalent of amateur electronic ballot stuffing.

There are a lot of articles we could site, but one of the most comprehensive comes from Politico Magazine.  It is written from the prospective of Princeton researchers, with lots of history and articulated concerns, with relatively little red baiting.  How To Hack An Election In 7 Minutes

If Russia hacked the DNC? What me worry?

Did Russia hack the DNC, DCCC, and Hillary’s Campaign.  And does it only matter who the hackers are?

With little disclosed evidence, the prime story has been the question of who hacked the sites.  That is an important aspect of the news, yet there are other important issues obscured, perhaps intentionally by the focus on that one aspect of the hacks.

Warning: 15 states without paper records, half without audits

A Computer World article reminds us how much more there is to go to achieve verifiable, evidence based elections:  A hackable election? 5 things to know about e-voting <read>

Voting results are “ripe for manipulation,” [Security Researcher Joe] Kiniry added.

Hacking an election would be more of a social and political challenge than a technical one, he said. “You’d have a medium-sized conspiracy in order to achieve such a goal.”

While most states have auditable voting systems, only about half the states conduct post-election audits, added Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting.

Let us not forget that even states, like Connecticut, with post-election audits have a long way to go in making the audits sufficient to assure that election results are correct or confidence that incorrect results would be reversed.

Online Voting Is Risky, Riskier than Online Banking

My letter to the Hartford Courant today.

To the Editor,

The article in the Sunday July, 10 Smarter Living Section, “Democracy in The Digital Age”, is a one-sided disservice to readers. The article, abbreviated from Consumer Reports original, provides a one-sided case for online voting.  The article quotes the CEO of a company selling online voting at a huge expense to governments around the world.  She touts the benefits without detailing the risks.  The system she touts as secure, has never been proven secure. It has never been subjected to a public security test.  Unlike the printed version, the original article at Consumer Reports details the risks of online voting…

Skeptics Guide Part 2: Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence

A couple of weeks ago, based on claims that exit polls showed that the primary was stolen from Bernie Sanders, I said: “I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Now we have the reverse situation from the NYTimes: Exit Polls, and Why the Primary Was Not Stolen From Bernie Sanders <read>

I seems like a pretty good case that the exit polls do not prove  the election was stolen.

Unfortunately, the Times headline is incorrect.  This evidence in this article only claims  that the exit polls do not prove that Bernie won. There is no proof that the official results are correct.  They may be, they may not be.  We still need Evidence Based Elections, providing strong evidence that the results are correct.

Book Review: Down for the Count

Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America
by Andrew Gumbel.  An updated version of Gumbel’s earlier Steal This Vote.  A lot has happened in 12 years!

I highly recommend, for an overview of the history of voting issues in the United States.. I can add a small caveat the to the description on Amazon:

Down for the Count explores the tawdry history of elections in the United States—a chronicle of votes bought, stolen, suppressed, lost, miscounted, thrown into rivers, and litigated up to the U.S. Supreme Court—and uses it to explain why we are now experiencing the biggest backslide in voting rights in more than a century…

The web: Hardly ready for Internet voting.

So many articles this week demonstrating that the web is not safe for voting. Especially when in the hands of under-resourced government agencies and political parties. (It is also unsafe in the hands of fully-resourced governments and cyber-experts.)

 

  • Singapore plans to take its Government offline.
  • Then we have an above average size government agency that cannot create a safe voter registration system.
  • Meanwhile the party that allows overseas voters to participate in its primaries via Internet voting has its own problems.

As CTVotersCount readers know, Internet voting should not be compared to a normal application. Its not like the risk of copying some public information, information that should be public, stealing a few million from a bank. Its about billions in government spending, changing election results and covering that up.

Common Sense: The Skeptics Guide to Election Integrity and Fraud

Two events in the last week or so prompt this post.  First, last Saturday I was at the Reason Rally at the Lincoln Memorial.  One speaker said “Be skeptical of everything”.  A later speaker  assured us, among other things, that two things I believe to be true were actually conspiracy theories.

Second, a recent series of posts by Richard Charmin,  essentially claiming that in many states the primary was stolen.

So, where do I come out?  I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” and the speaker at the Reason Rally who said to “be skeptical of everything”.  Here we have competing extraordinary claims:

  • By Richard Charmin:  That, in a large number of states the election results were manipulated in favor of a single candidate.
  • Implicitly by complacence: “Move on, nothing to see here, exit polls are always wrong in the U.S.  Don’t be concerned that every time someone brings this up, they are always wrong in favor of one candidate or party”

Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy

An article by David Dill, founder of Verified Voting, from Stanford University: Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy

How could we be fooled?

Suppose masses of emails get sent out to naive users saying the voting website has been changed and, after you submit your ballot and your credentials to the fake website, it helpfully votes for you, but changes some of the votes. You also have bots where millions of individual machines are controlled by a single person who uses them to send out spam…

How bad could it be?…

Another example of a transparent, evidence-based vote

 

Last week I spent a morning in New London’s historic Town Hall observing a post-election audit. I noticed this interesting device. Can you explain it, without reading further?

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