Internet Voting

Testimony on two more election bills: RLAs and Internet Voting

H.B.6325 was a second bill similar to an earlier on that proposed a task force for Risk limiting Audits (RLAs). My detailed testimony only changed a little bit. For the previous bill, I only testified on paper. For this bill I spoke, especially giving my answer to a legislators question of another on another bill. I’m glad I had a few days contemplate an answer: “How would you explain RLAs to forth graders?”

That is a good question: Risk Limiting Audits are intended to confirm that elections are correctly counted and totaled or to correct incorrect results…

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.

Early Returns from Iowa: Losers and Potential Winners

We may not know who won Iowa, yet we know the losers: Internet Voting, Caucusing, and Immediate Gratification.

NYTimes article: 2020 Iowa Caucus Updates: Delayed Results Lead to Confusion

““This is an embarrassment but it shouldn’t shake people’s confidence in the results,” Mr. Halderman said. “If this had been an election conducted by phone, or online, that would have been a major disaster. We might never know the results and would have had to re-run the entire contest.”

“This is an urgent reminder,” Mr. Halderman said, “of why online voting is not ready for prime time.”

Editorial: Potential Winners…

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

Email and Internet Voting: The Overlooked Threat to Election Security

New report Email and Internet Voting: The Overlooked Threat to Election Security

This report reviews the research that has been conducted by the federal government concluding that secure online voting is not yet feasible…

States that permit online return of voted ballots should suspend the practice.

the Myth of “Secure” Blockchain Voting

From David Jefferson at Verified Voting: Verified Voting Blog: The Myth of “Secure” Blockchain Voting <read>

Internet voting has been studied by computer security researchers for over twenty years. Cyber security experts universally agree that no technology, including blockchains, can adequately secure an online public election. Elections have unique security and privacy requirements fundamentally different from and much more stringent than those in other applications, such as e-commerce. They are uniquely vulnerable because anyone on Earth can attack them, and a successful cyberattack might go completely undetected, resulting in the wrong people elected with no evidence that anything was amiss….

Election security is a matter of national security. Blockchains, despite all the hype surrounding them, offer no defense against any of these well-known threats to which all online elections are vulnerable.

Israeli Firm Proves Our Point: Fax is as risky as Online Voting

As we have been saying for years, Online/Internet voting risks include email and fax voting.
<Since 2008>

Story today in the Washington Post:
Report: Hackers Target Fax Machines
Phone Line Connected To Computer Network Can Offer Access

It’s Impossible to Know (how) Your Internet Vote Counted

As West Virginia plans, once again, to allow Internet voting for military voters, it is a good time to remind everyone that Internet voting (web page, web application, email, fax voting etc.) are all unsafe for democracy. And that block-chains cannot solve those problems.

One of those problems is that there is no guarantee that your laptop or smart phone has not been hacked in a way that  alters your vote. Another challenge is the, so called, Secret Ballot.

Do you need a blockchain? (Probably not!)

Blockchains are the latest technology to enter the mainstream.  A blockchain powers and makes BitCoin possible. Many are treating blockchains as the next big breakthrough in technology. There is even a Blockchain Caucus in Congress.

Do not get your hopes up or bet your retirement savings on blockchains, they are definitely not the next Internet or Hula Hoop.  Most importantly they will not transform elections or solve the challenges of online voting.

From IEEE Do You Need a Blockchain?

“I find myself debunking a blockchain voting effort about every few weeks,” says Josh Benaloh, the senior cryptographer at Microsoft Research. “It feels like a very good fit for voting, until you dig a couple millimeters below the surface.”

Amid Charges Russia Hacked U.S. Election, Keith Alexander Encourages eVoting for Canada

Former NSA Chief and now CEO cyber security contractor says Canada needs more cyber security, cyber weapons,  and should deploy electronic voting:  Don’t let cyberattack threat deter Canada from online voting, says former head of NSA

foreign interference that may have influenced the U.S. election should not deter Canada and other countries from embracing online voting, says the former head of the U.S. National Security Agency.

Retired U.S. general Keith Alexander, speaking at a defence industry trade show in Ottawa, also said it is important the Canadian military have some kind of offensive cyber capacity, even if that ability is limited.

There is no going back to a manual voting system, Alexander said in an interview with CBC News following his remarks to defence contractors, in which he warned that both government and private sector networks are vulnerable to a rising tide of “destructive” cyberattacks…

The U.S. experience is something to learn from, he said, but it should not make countries like Canada leery of e-voting.