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.

Nov 2022 Post-Election Audit Report

From the Press Release:

Watchdog Group: 24 Audits Since 2007 with Little Improvement

Independent Observation and Analysis of Connecticut’s Nov 2022 Post-Election Audit

HARTFORD: We conclude, based on citizen observations and analysis of official municipal post-election vote audit of the November 2022 election, that it failed to meet basic audit standards

After 16 years with disappointing, locally performed, hand-count audits, we recommend replacement of all local hand-count audits with sufficient and efficient electronically assisted manual audits utilizing the UConn Audit Station.

The non-partisan Connecticut Citizen Election Audit has provided volunteer observation and post-election audit reports since the adoption of optical scanners statewide in 2007. Without the hours and mileage incurred by these volunteers after every election nobody but a few election officials would know the actual quality of the audits performed, while officials would have less motivation toward credible audits.

<Press Release .pdf> <Full Report pdf> <Detail data/municipal reports>

Why doesn’t anyone know what a voting machine costs?

We recently hosted a discussion on the Price of Voting Machines. Now an article in Politico gives the background story.

Politico: One Man’s Quest to Break Open the Secretive World of American Voting Machines

It began to dawn on Caulfield, slowly at first, that the amount the public didn’t know about these companies was vast. Quarterly profits, regional market share, R&D budgets, even the number of employees—often, there was simply nothing. “Basic, basic data—the basic layout of the industry—was just not out there,” Caulfield recalls. “Eventually, we realized that it didn’t exist.”…

Caulfield’s work points toward something more radical than perhaps even its author intended: a new reason to question the marriage of election administration and private industry. “What kinds of machines would we make if we declared this a public good, and had it produced in public laboratories?” Bollinger asked …

Risk Limiting Audits: A Guide for Global Use

A recent report, Risk Limiting Audits: A Guide for Global Use is about the most comprehensive and balanced introduction to Risk Limiting Audits that I have seen. Its 38 pages will take an hour or two to read in detail, and well worth it.

I am a fan of Risk Limiting Audits, yet I am concerned that they are misunderstood in several dimensions:

  • RLAs are not a panacea:…

Study: The Price of Voting (Machines) – Valuable, Timely, and Facinating

Last week, I moderated a discussion featuring the authors of The Price of Voting, a study of what jurisdictions actually pay for voting machines.

The study is a great contribution to jurisdictions, including states like Connecticut, that are considering evaluating voting machines.

Five quick conclusions that I find relevant to Connecticut:

  1. If you are not getting about a 20% discount, you are paying too much…

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.

Comments on new Federal Voting Systems Guidelines

Last week I submitted comments for the State Audit Working Group on the proposed (Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines) VVSG 2.0 standards which will define future voting system standards. Looking over all the submissions, ours were likely the most extensive detailed comments submitted. In total our submission was about three hundred and fifty pages!

By far the largest number of comments were from disability rights groups and individuals supporting their positions, many redundant. Access for the disabled is one of the most controversial and critical issues.

There are other issues with the proposed guidelines. The proposal is a far from a finished product, with wide-ranging comments. It will be a huge task to complete them, far more challenging to complete well.

Verified Voting’s Policy on DREs and BMDs

This week Verified Voting released a Policy on DREs and BMDs. It is consistent with our  views.

But it’s not enough for a voting system to “check the box” on paper – to print paper records that voters may not even notice or examine. To be trustworthy, elections need to be based on voter-marked paper ballots. Whether these ballots are marked by hand or by device, for them to be considered voter-marked, voters should know what they say!

As they say: “We have had some long and sometimes difficult conversations about these topics, and we look forward to more.”

Working Paper: Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity

A new paper articulates the two distinct problems that threaten our elections Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity

Since the 2016 United States (U.S.) presidential election, the issue of social media and disinformation has gained increasing attention as a fundamental threat to the integrity of elections worldwide. Whether by domestic actors, such as candidates and campaigns, or through foreign influence campaigns, the ability of voters to make informed choices based on fair and balanced information has been significantly skewed. This working paper attempts to examine the challenges that this issue poses to electoral integrity and what responses election management bodies (EMBs) and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) such as the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) can take to attempt to mitigate the negative consequences. The solutions presented in this paper aim to assist key stakeholders to meet this emergent and mutable threat…

Handmarked paper ballots more verifiable than ballot marking devices

New study The study What Voters are Asked to Verify Affects Ballot Verification: A Quantitative Analysis of Voters’ Memories of Their Ballots

As a practical matter, do voters verify their BMD-printed ballot cards, and are they even capable of it?  Until now, there hasn’t been much scientific research on that question…

  1. In a real polling place, half the voters don’t inspect their ballot cards, and the other half inspect for an average of 3.9 seconds (for a ballot with 18 contests!).

  2. When asked, immediately after depositing their ballot, to review an unvoted copy of the ballot they just voted on, most won’t detect that the wrong contests are presented, or that some are missing.