Electronic Vulnerability

Report: Security Analysis of the Dominion ImageCast X

Report released this week on vulnerabilities of the Dominion ImageCast, used for the vast majority of the votes in Georgia <Report>

The report was actually submitted to a court on July 1, 2021 – the court considered the information so dangerous to elections that is has largely been suppressed until now!

However in two years, Dominion has made several fixes, yet Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is in no hurry to update Georgia machines at least until after the 2024 election.

Note: After planning for a couple of months, I launched CTVoters Count in late 2007, Little did I know that the California Top To Bottom Review would be release at that time! Many are claiming that this report may rival the impact of that California report.

Reminder: Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) beyond redemption

A new article by Andrew Appel reminds us: Magical thinking about Ballot-Marking-Device contingency plans .

The Center for Democracy and Technology recently published a report, “No Simple Answers: A Primer on Ballot Marking Device Security”, by William T. Adler.   Overall, it’s well-informed, clearly presents the problems as of 2022, and it’s definitely worth reading.  After explaining the issues and controversies, the report presents recommendations, most of which make a lot of sense, and indeed the states should act upon them.  But there’s one key recommendation in which Dr. Adler tries to provide a simple answer, and unfortunately his answer invokes a bit of magical thinking…

This the magical thinking:  “election officials should have a contingency plan.”  The problem is, when you try to write down such a plan, there’s nothing that actually works!  .

Fortunately Connecticut uses Hand Marked Paper Ballots except that it allows the IVS BMD to serve those with disabilities.

Dead Men Don’t Vote (New Podcast)

My friends at OSET (Open Source Election Technology just officially launched a new podcast yesterday: Dead Men Don’t vote. Its goal it to explain all that officials do under the covers to run our elections. The 1st episode, Do Dead People Actually Vote?, lived up to that goal. They packed a lot into 33 minutes. <link>

 

What’s the matter with BMDs?

Free Speech for People recently held a forum on Ballot Marking Devices (BMD)’s: An Examination of the Use and Security of Ballot Marking Devices

I recommend watching at least the 1st panel and;
If you are considering purchasing BMDs for all voters then you owe it to your jurisdiction to watch the whole forum;
If you are a voter and your jurisdiction is considering such a purchase of BMDs, you should also watch the whole thing and let your legislators and election officials know what you think.

Our Editorial:

…How much better to purchase the minimum number of BMDs today, fund research, and replace them every five years or so with improved designs.

To trust our elections we need evidence, enough evidence

A recent article in Barons by respected scientists: Elections Should be Grounded in Evidence, Not Blind Trust 

Here’s what an evidence-based election would look like:

  • Voters hand-mark paper ballots to create a trustworthy, durable paper vote record. Voters who cannot hand-mark a ballot independently are provided assistive technologies, such as electronic ballot marking devices. But because these devices are subject to hacking, bugs, and software misconfiguration, the use of such ballot-marking devices should be limited.

  • Election officials protect the paper ballots to ensure no ballot has been added, removed, or altered…

One more time: Hand Marked Paper Ballots, protected and exploited

Our Longtime Editorial Opinion

We hear a lot about protecting voting equipment and paper ballots. We talk a lot about both as well. They are not equal!…

Today an article in Freedom to Tinker echoing our opinion: ESS voting machine company sends threats

Elections Should be Grounded in Evidence, Not Blind Trust

Commentary in Barron’s this week Elections Should be Grounded in Evidence, Not Blind Trust <read>

Even though there is no compelling evidence the 2020 vote was rigged, U.S. elections are insufficiently equipped to counter such claims because of a flaw in American voting. The way we conduct elections does not routinely produce public evidence that outcomes are correct.

Paper Ballots Integral to Connecticut Election Security – ANNOTATED

A recent article in the Journal Inquirer is at best misleading:  Paper Ballots Integral to Connecticut Election Security <read>

Connecticut has some good election integrity practices, yet there are gaps and vulnerabilities.

Full disclosure, I am a resident of Glastonbury and have been a poll-worker here since 2013 and prior to that from 2008 in Vernon, Connecticut. I take no pleasure in writing this post. Yet, even when people you know and appreciate provide, in your opinion, inaccurate or uninformed information to the public, it is not appropriate to ignore it. There is some good information in this article, yet it is not entirely accurate.

I absolutely agree that Voter Marked Paper Ballots like we have in Connecticut are the widely recognized basis of election security and integrity. Yet they are just a start.

No, its not the time for more electronics in Connecticut’s voting

An Op-Ed in the CT Mirror: It’s time to modernize the way Connecticut votes.

The main trust is that we should do more electronic automation of the election process in Connecticut such as electronic transmission of results and electronic pollbooks, and alluding to less pens and paper in voting.

Perhaps we can forgive the author for accepting at face value the claims of vendors and their customers that have sunk unnecessary millions into questionable technology. Sometimes it works well and saves time and effort, sometimes it doesn’t!

  • Lets start with electronic submission of results. That idea has a couple of basic flaws…

Our bottom line: Never change from Voter Marked Paper Ballots unless there is some dramatic technological breakthrough. Avoid connectivity for voting machines. Cautiously consider electronic pollbooks, with mandatory paper backup systems. Keep using our current AccuVoteOS until they really need replacing – perhaps better more economical alternatives will become available, perhaps they will comply with the new Federal standards expected soon.

 

New Paper: Evidence Based Elections

A new paper by Andrew Appel and Philip Stark: EVIDENCE-BASED ELECTIONS:CREATE A MEANINGFUL PAPER TRAIL,THEN AUDIT  Provides a thorough description of how the public can be assured of election outcomes, in spite of hack-able voting equipment.

The bottom line: The only reliable method available is Voter-Marked Paper Ballots, with strong security for the ballots, followed by sufficient post-election audits. Other technologies, including Ballot Marking Devices and Internet voting are insufficient.

Anyone interested in trustworthy elections should read this paper – especially those who think that expensive Ballot Marking Devices should be trusted. And those who think it is impossible to use technology to count votes accurately.