Electronic Vulnerability

Why ballot images fail as the record of an election

A new paper demonstrates how to steal an election by manipulating ballot images: Unclear Ballot: Automated Ballot Image Manipulation. In fact, it is a neat solution that changes the image before the CVR is created, in a way that would be hard to detect.

For the non-technical this may seem difficult, yet for those with the appropriate computer skills it is a straight-forward task. Then anyone with access to election computer systems could install the code maliciously, unknowingly, or under threat.

Jimmy Carter says a full investigation would show Trump lost in 2016, we are not so sure.

Former President Jimmy Carter questioned the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency on Thursday, saying he would likely not be in the White House if the Russians did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

“I think a full investigation would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,”

I have the greatest respect for President Carter, especially after his presidency, including his work for election integrity across the Globe. Yet we need actual actions not speculation.

The Cyber War? We will all be victims.

NYTimes, David Sanger: U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid

To me, the basic story is a ho hum. Russia and China are lurking in our power grid and its been known for sometime we are in Russia’s. I would be concerned if we weren’t attempting to match them. All of that is covered in Sanger’s book, The Perfect Weapon, which I am reading right now.

There are two things that are scary in all this:

Two and a half years after election possible Russian hack investigated

Almost three years after the first public revelation of hackers’ interference in the 2016 presidential race, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to conduct a forensic analysis of computers used in Durham County during that election,

What we “saw” before smelled more like a cursory cover-up than an investigation.

Beware: The Gospel of Internet Voting

LA Times article features the entrepreneur behind Internet voting pilots vs. Science: The vote-by-phone tech trend is scaring the life out of security experts <read>

With their playbook for pushing government boundaries as a guide, some Silicon Valley investors are nudging election officials toward an innovation that prominent coders and cryptographers warn is downright dangerous for democracy…
As seasoned disruptors of the status quo, tech pioneers have proven persuasive in selling the idea, even as the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine specifically warn against any such experiment…

Tusk is certain participation in elections would surge if the technology were widely permitted, even though studies in some of the few places around the world that have tried the method revealed no big turnout boost

Crusade, Gospel, Genie seem appropriate to describe entrepreneur Tusk. Its a blind disregard for evidence, science, and the scientists, including yours truly, warning of the risks of Internet voting

The Case Against Trusting Democracy to BMDs

Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) are under consideration by several states for use for all in-person voting. They have paper ballots, “What could possibly go wrong?”.  A recent paper makes the case that they cannot be audited or trusted to provide accurate results. The paper recommends that they should be limited to use by voters that need accessibility:  Ballot-marking devices (BMDs) cannot assure the will of the voters 

not only is it inappropriate to rely on voters to check whether BMDs alter expressed votes, it doesn’t work.

Yet, this paper has been very controversial in election integrity circles. Advocates for those with disabilities argue that everyone should vote the same way on the same equipment, because that is what is needed to provide equality, to incentivize and cause better BMDs that meet everyone’s needs including those for evidence based elections.

Robert Mueller Showed How U.S. Elections Broke in 2016. Here’s How to Fix Them

Quite inclusive article from TIME: Robert Mueller Showed How U.S. Elections Broke in 2016. Here’s How to Fix Them <read>

Here’s what experts say would strengthen American elections against future attacks.

I fully agree, except possibly with one item on the list.

Rhode Island Risk Limiting Audit in Time Magazine

Not exactly person of the year or prisoner of the month, I did have my picture in Time Magazine! The occasion was the Rhode Island Risk Limiting Audit (RLA) where I participated last week.

Rhode Island wants to make sure their elections are protected from all sorts of problems, after a programming error in 2017 almost caused an incorrect result to be certified. The article contains some very good summaries of what what we and the Rhode Island Board of Elections were up to.

“Democracy and elections are only as good as whether people trust them or not,” [Secretary of State Nellie] Gorbea said. “Confidence in our democracy is critical to every other public policy issue.”…


Basics: Why we need to have paper ballots and must effectively audit our elections

[The vendors] control the code in devices they sell. That means that technology we buy for one purpose can be reprogrammed without our consent or even our knowledge.

Beware the costly solution that does not solve the problem

WhoWhatWhy: Will Georgia Double Down on Non-Transparent, Vulnerable Election Machines? 

Georgia’s newly elected secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger (R), hopes to replace them not with hand-marked paper ballots and scanners (as virtually all independent cybersecurity election experts recommend), but rather with touchscreen ballot-marking devices,..In addition to security concerns, all touchscreen systems tend to cause long lines…The ExpressVote system also would cost taxpayers more than three times as much as hand-marked paper ballots and scanners:? an estimated $100 million as opposed to $30 million.

A system only greedy vendors and fraudsters would love.

******Update: Verified Voting Statement to Georgia