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Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:06 PM

DHS Confirms That Optical Scan Vote-Counting Machines Easily Hacked

DHS Confirms That Optical Scan Vote-Counting Machines Easily Hacked, By Russians or Otherwise
June 25, 2017 -- Ralph Lopez

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, the head of the Department of Homeland Security confirmed what citizen election integrity activists have been saying for many years, that the type of optical scan vote-counting machine in use across much of the country can be hacked, and vote totals can be changed in ways which, absent manual counts of the paper ballots, cannot be detected.

The testimony flies in the face of insistence in the major media, over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign season, that it would be nearly impossible to swing a US primary or general election by hacking. The progressive magazine The Nation called allegations of vote flipping "crying wolf about rigged elections."

Optical scan vote-counting machines count votes on a paper ballot my means of an electronic eye, without a human ever viewing the ballot.

The Washington Post reported on testimony by Jeh Johnson, Director of the DHS and an Obama appointee:

"Much of the conversation around Russian interference in the 2016 election has centered on two core topics: the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russian officials, and whether Russia was actually able to change vote tallies by hacking into state election databases or voting machines."


The testimony affirms the validity of the movement of most industrial democracies away from machine-counting ballots, to counting them by hand. The manual counting of ballots is the standard in 54 countries, including Germany, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Russia, Sweden, and Spain.

.......................


77 replies, 13333 views

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Reply DHS Confirms That Optical Scan Vote-Counting Machines Easily Hacked (Original post)
L. Coyote Jun 2017 OP
Cha Jun 2017 #1
diva77 Jun 2017 #2
Ligyron Jun 2017 #17
LiberalLovinLug Jun 2017 #35
diva77 Jun 2017 #37
stevepal Jun 2017 #76
tblue37 Jun 2017 #3
Trial_By_Fire Jun 2017 #4
onit2day Jun 2017 #64
Maraya1969 Jun 2017 #5
CrispyQ Jun 2017 #71
Maraya1969 Jun 2017 #6
lastlib Jun 2017 #12
snot Jun 2017 #7
snot Jun 2017 #8
Stonepounder Jun 2017 #9
kyburbonkid Jun 2017 #21
Amaryllis Jun 2017 #10
tazkcmo Jun 2017 #11
dhill926 Jun 2017 #13
Crash2Parties Jun 2017 #14
PoliticAverse Jun 2017 #24
Mopar151 Jun 2017 #34
kcr Jun 2017 #47
kwijybo Jun 2017 #15
JoeOtterbein Jun 2017 #16
Bernardo de La Paz Jun 2017 #18
OldRedneck Jun 2017 #20
JoeOtterbein Jun 2017 #31
OldRedneck Jun 2017 #19
PoliticAverse Jun 2017 #23
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #50
Girard442 Jun 2017 #25
politicat Jun 2017 #38
TheFrenchRazor Jun 2017 #65
politicat Jun 2017 #77
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #48
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #27
JoeOtterbein Jun 2017 #33
politicat Jun 2017 #39
Calista241 Jun 2017 #36
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #41
Calista241 Jun 2017 #45
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #49
Calista241 Jun 2017 #54
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #55
Calista241 Jun 2017 #56
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #57
TheFrenchRazor Jun 2017 #66
Amishman Jun 2017 #42
kcr Jun 2017 #44
kcr Jun 2017 #43
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #53
kcr Jun 2017 #59
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #60
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #61
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #62
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #63
kcr Jun 2017 #72
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #73
TheFrenchRazor Jun 2017 #67
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #69
unblock Jun 2017 #22
TheFrenchRazor Jun 2017 #68
turbinetree Jun 2017 #26
Moral Compass Jun 2017 #28
PoliticAverse Jun 2017 #29
prairierose Jun 2017 #30
byronius Jun 2017 #32
Thrill Jun 2017 #40
Lee-Lee Jun 2017 #46
Blues Heron Jun 2017 #51
DetlefK Jun 2017 #52
bdamomma Jun 2017 #58
BannonsLiver Jun 2017 #70
Progressive dog Jun 2017 #74
colsohlibgal Jun 2017 #75

Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:11 PM

1. KnR!

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:17 PM

2. And yet elections officials REFUSE to do hand recounts, and intimidate citizens who question results

Case in point: remember Wisconsin 5% discrepancy from 2016 election caught on video -- elections official bullying citizens who clearly found a discrepancy between the optiscan count and the hand count and flat out refusing to do a hand count of a ward of approximately 300 people.



---------------
U.S. Election Officials Fight to Keep True Vote Totals Secret
Updated on June 24, 2017

https://hubpages.com/politics/US-Election-Officials-Fight-to-Conceal-True-Vote-Totals-in-Elections

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Response to diva77 (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:27 PM

17. There was a time when this would be a major story on the likes of 60 Minutes

and all over the news for weeks.

Npw it's just, meh - biz as usual. Whata ya gonna do?

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #17)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 10:13 PM

35. What are you going to do when it is also a meh issue for Democrats?

My gawd I feel like shaking them out of their stupor sometimes.
Its almost to point now of being too late. Republicans are well on their way towards their 'permanent majority' that Mitch always bragged about creating. With the majorities in Governorships as well, they will keep going until they have every seat. And Dems will still be scoffing off reports like this as a conspiracy theory. Just baffling.

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Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #35)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 10:56 PM

37. I posted action alert;might help to start holding elections officials accountable for epic failure

ACTION ALERT!! to protest highest level elections officials for nontransparent elections

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029248132

If you can't be in Indianapolis with protest signs on July 7th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 5 pm as the secretaries of state meet to have their posh party paid for by voting equipment vendors and other corporate sponsors , then send protest letters demanding elections that are transparent with integrity held with paper ballots hand counted at the precinct level. Roster of SOS's here:

http://www.nass.org/index.php/about-nass/alt-roster-2016/
-----------------

I also believe boycotting sponsors of right wing media will help -- I noticed Home Depot sponsors vicious right wing slander radio for example

-----------------

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Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #35)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 07:05 PM

76. Amen!!

 

Until the Dems make this a serious issue, nothing is really possible in the long run. NOTHING. How can you do anything when you can't get people elected because they're being cheated out of their victories by political criminals who should be in jail? I mean not only the machine manufacturers and programmers but also the election personnel who refuse to "verify" the vote.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:19 PM

3. K&R for visibility. nt

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:29 PM

4. Yes, we have known about the hacking for years....

 

It would be nice for the Dem leadership and people fight to fix this.

Otherwise we get what we have now in America - oligarchy.

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Response to Trial_By_Fire (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:07 PM

64. Dem leaders say voters will lose confidence

 

in the voting process...as they lose elections due to red shift in every state.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:40 PM

5. Each voter deserves a RECEIPT of his vote. And the district needs to keep a copy

This is not impossible to do at this point.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 04:52 PM

71. I thought receipts were the answer too, but I was told they aren't,

because if you have a receipt that proves how you voted, it opens up the possibility of buying or coercing votes. Also, in my county, we have mail in ballots, which are wonderfully convenient, but what if one lives in a household, where one member bullies the others into voting the bully's way? There are too many households where that would happen. Remember that photo of Trump looking over Melania's shoulder when she was voting at the precinct?

That said, we need a better process. I advocate for a longer voting period, plus make election day a national holiday. Hand counted paper ballots, without the expectation that we'll have the results before we go to bed. Can we get over our need for instant gratification for our elections & take the time required to make sure every ballot is counted?

The entire process needs an overhaul. I'd love to hear other ideas.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:45 PM

6. Or the districts that refuse could be threatened with 2nd amendment remedies

Just like the President of this fucking country did to Hillary Clinton.

We either become the aggressors or we continue to be fucked by the aggressors.

And to whoever wants to bitch why don't you give a concrete example of what we can do first? Complaining about my post does nothing to help the situation. We need to look for answers. Mine is probably wrong even though it is exactly what the GOP would do but give a better one.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:16 PM

12. We need to begin today shouting this from the rooftops...

...and hounding our state and local election officials until they take the correct action on this matter!

Secretaries of state, heads of local election boards, get this done, or suffer the righteous wrath of the people!

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 07:56 PM

7. K&R'd & bookmarked.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)


Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:05 PM

9. I've have been saying for years that is would be reasonably easy to find this sort of hacking.

In any given race, there are a 10% random selection of voting machines that are chosen for a hand count. Then the hand count is compared to the count reported by the machine. If there is more than a 1% discrepancy between the machine count and the hand count, then a general hand count of the entire election. If that count shows a discrepancy of more than 1%, then:
1. The machines are immediately decertified.
2. The FBI immediately arrives at corporate headquarter of the machine's manufacturer and all records AND COMPUTER CODE is seized (to hell with trade secrets).
3. The entire company goes through a through investigation looking for collusion between the manufacturer and outside interested parties. If such collusion is found, there are mandatory prison sentences handed out and the company is dissolved and its assets sold with first claim going to refund the prices paid by users of the machines.

A few top-levels ending up in prison for 10-20 year terms and a few companies going out of business and their investors losing 100% of their investment would slow-down or stop hacking of voting machines. (Or there wouldn't be any voting machine companies willing to take the risk any more.)

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Response to Stonepounder (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:49 PM

21. I totally agree

This is not a lightweight crime. This is an assault on all of us.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:06 PM

10. C-span video of computer science expert testifying before Senate Intel to that effect last week:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029249235
And he said absolutely you can change the vote total without being connected to the internet. Malicious codes can be planted.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:09 PM

11. Duh. n/t

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:17 PM

13. the hell else do we need....

jesus christ....fix it, or give up....

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:19 PM

14. It is too simple to just say, "optical scan bad, hand count good".

Over a decade ago California de-certified Diebold & Sequoia machines because they could be so easily hacked. Since then we've really strengthened our regulations regarding the security of our votes. We still use optical scan ballots in many counties, but they've been certified not only to be secure but to be part of the state's larger, able-to-pass audits security system. So it is possible and even practical to use secure, audit-able optical scan systems. Which means states that do not do so, make that choice for a reason. There is a correlation between GOP states and retention of known insecure vote collection & tally systems. Also, those known insecure systems are made & maintained by GOP companies.

In other words, it is completely intentional that those states with such surprising results used the known bad systems.

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Response to Crash2Parties (Reply #14)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:03 PM

24. Optical scan verified with hand count better. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #24)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 10:02 PM

34. The gold standard!

Optician results "provisional"! Certified results by hand count, sealed and guarded ballot boxes, totals posted by/at each precinct. National vote totals independently auditable. Re register all voters during next census, provide national voter ID for anyone without state ID.

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Response to Crash2Parties (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:36 AM

47. You know what's also too simple? Reductive statements.

Optical scan technology itself may not be bad, but it becomes bad if it's in the hands of officials who refuse to allow the results to be questioned. Reducing the argument of demanding election integrity to "optical scan bad, hand count good" is also too simple. The issue is our country is a huge mishmash of different methods and technologies too often run by partisans with bad faith. The best solution to that problem is hand counted paper ballots. It doesn't matter how awesome and fool-proof any of the technology may be. That's not the point.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:23 PM

15. Not the best way

Why bother hacking each voting machine? It's much more productive to hack the central servers that the voting machines report to....

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:25 PM

16. We need to repeat, over and over: "ALL elections must be with paper ballots and MUST be audited"

and I'l say it over and over because we CAN afford to, and MUST, do it!

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Response to JoeOtterbein (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:39 PM

18. What is so difficult about this concept? Very advanced countries use paper ballots with no problems.

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Response to JoeOtterbein (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:45 PM

20. Optical scanners USE PAPER BALLOTS

 

What do you think it is that the scanner is scanning?? Labels on tuna cans??

Optical and digital scanners SCAN A PAPER BALLOT THAT THE VOTER HAS MARKED.

If the election is challenged, you pull out the paper ballots and hand-count them.

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Response to OldRedneck (Reply #20)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:45 PM

31. A verifiable audit would be done by hand. Ballots would be chain-of-custody verified. No business

would do a bit less with their cash. We MUST do it with our vote.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:44 PM

19. Would someone please get a grip on reality???

 

In the first place, I'd like for someone to explain to me how an optical scanner can be "hacked." It's not connected to anything -- not a phone line, not the Internet, not anything except the power cord.

In the second place, there are checks and double-checks built into the system to ensure the correct vote tally. Let me explain.

I have been the secretary of our county electoral board for 7 years. This is how we do it.

Our ballots come from the printer shrink-wrapped in packs of 50. We open 10% of the packs and count the ballots to ensure there are 50 ballots in the pack. We have NEVER found a discrepancy.

Assume we issue 1,000 ballots to a precinct. As the precinct opens the ballot packs -- and they open only one at a time as they need ballots -- the Ballot Officer counts the ballots in the pack, the Assistant Ballot Officer counts the ballots. They record the number of ballots in pack #1 on the Ballot Count form. And so on through the day. At the end of the day, they know how many ballots have been issued. For this example, let's assume they open 10 packs, count 50 ballots in each pack, and at the end of the day they have 10 ballots left over plus 10 unopened packs. If they counted 50 ballots X 10 packs, that's 500 ballots they opened. With 10 left over plus 10 unopened packs of 50 each, that means 510 of 1,000 were unused and 490 were used.

When a voter wants to vote, the voters steps up to the Pollbook Officer, states his/her name and address and shows photo ID. The Pollbook Officer confirms the voter's identity, finds the voter in the pollbook, and marks them off. The Assistant Pollbook Officer marks off the number "1" on the Pollbook Count Form and the voter is handed a ballot. When the next voter is confirmed, the number "2" is marked off on the Pollbook County Form.

At the end of the day in this example, we tell the optical scanner to print a tally tape. The tally tape shows 300 votes for one candidate, 190 for the other candidate. The pollbook count form shows 490 voters checked in, the ballot count shows 490 ballots used.

All this horseshit about hacking the scanner ignores the checks and double-checks I have just described.

Furthermore, the optical scanner must scan SOMETHING. It scans the paper ballot that the voter has marked. If the results of the election are challenged, we pull out the paper ballots and hand-count them.

Each election for the years I have been on the board we have had one or more "experts" waltz into the registrar's office and proclaim they KNOW the votes are not counted correctly. We walk them through the process then show them the door. They never return.

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Response to OldRedneck (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:00 PM

23. Does your machine accept a memory card?

Do you happen to know the model of the machine you use?

Here's a video from 2006 "Hacking Democracy" documentary that demonstrates the hack via modified memory card:

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #23)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:44 AM

50. Pointless video that proves nothing

 

Memory cards are certified empty by the elections workers and poll workers before the election starts. Like multiple times up to that morning right before the polls open.

Of course if you open up a machine and replace the memory card it will show whatever you put on the card.

But for this to work a person would have to swap the cards in the machines after they are checked- so you would have to walk up to the machine with a screwdriver, start taking it apart, swap parts while poll workers are there watching with nobody noticing, and somehow do it without disturbing the tamper seal over the port for the card.

How, exactly, do you think they could pull that off.

Stupid video is only convincing to people who don't understand how simple technology works and how elections work. Anyone with a clue about either is smart enough to see it proves nothing.

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Response to OldRedneck (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:10 PM

25. Thank you for your contribution. A few questions:

1. Are scanners ever randomly pulled from service and checked with test ballots to see if votes are counted properly?

2. Are real paper ballots counted by machine ever also hand counted to see if vote counts match.

3. When votes are reported upward in the hierarchy (sorry, don't know the proper term to use here), is it possible to verify that the numbers used in the vote totals are the same ones reported?

Again, thank you for your contribution. Facts matter. Actual observations matter.

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Response to Girard442 (Reply #25)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:10 PM

38. NOt OldRedneck, but I can answer those questions for Colorado vote by mail ballots.

1. Yes, and not just randomly. They all get a calibration test run 80 days before an election (once the ballot is finalized and the ballot is input into the scanner) and a random sample is rechecked 30 days before election deadline, so 14 days before the ballots are in public hands.

2. All our ballots are paper, and they're all real. On Election Day, we do spot checks -- we will pull an hour's collection of a precinct, run the ticket, and hand count that sample. If there's an error, that scanner comes out of use. In 8 elections, I've never seen a scanner fail to match the sample.

3. Our County clerks and recorders report to the Secretary of State and each other. There's both a phone call with witnesses, and a fax, on election night, then the final tallies are certified by the C&R, usually within a week. The certified tallies are crosschecked by the C&R, the assistant C&R, and reps from the candidates/parties.

In my county, the scanners live in a vault. They do not have a memory card port. To my knowledge, there has never been a firmware update because there's nothing to update. They have a small display and a means to input the ballot parameters that uses the scanner itself. It's pretty close to mechanical, much closer to a punch card reader than a laptop. (This part, I have seen, but don't know the specifics. I'm not that important.)

They're effectively the same machines my academic peers have been using for decades for multiple choice tests. The form factor is slightly different, because ballots have to be larger than basic scantrons, and we have to print the text of the ballot initiative, so formatting the ballot matters. But it's the same tech we use for everything from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills to the SAT to the GREs.

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Response to politicat (Reply #38)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:35 PM

65. just because hacking hasn't occurred on your watch does not mean it never happens. no one is saying

 

that every election everywhere is always hacked.

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Response to TheFrenchRazor (Reply #65)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 10:41 PM

77. And I am not saying it hasn't happened elsewhere, or that it's impossible here.

I am saying that we have excellent procedures, multiple checks and balances, and a lot of auditing. I trust that we will catch it before it taints our process, because we've built it to be as transparent and fail-safe as possible, while protecting the privacy and rights of every single person who votes. The reason I can trust it is because we run regular challenges. Prior performance is not a guarantee of future protection, but our process is pretty damn good and our performance always exceeds expectations. I'd put our elections up against any county anywhere for cleanliness and accuracy, at 5:1 odds. Hell, I'd put a mortgage payment on it.

To be perfectly honest and rather grumpy with the *all Tech is Evil* subtext, my county is home to a lot of white hats and at least some grey hats. (Thus, I must assume black hats, too, or at least charcoal grey for hire.) This is what you get when you put a major university, four national science agencies, a major hardware/ software company and thousands of start-ups and splinters in the same place for 50 years. We breed geeks, and we attract them. A specific crew got heavily involved in vetting and securing the county's software and hardware, starting in the mid 1990s, before this was on anyone's map. My county happened to also have tech savvy crews in both the (Old Order) R and D party offices at the time, and had enough pull and comity with the County Commissioners to establish a permanent working group. I know we're rare, but you want best practices? We've been cranking them out for years. There are multiple CompSci and PoliSci doctoral theses written on our election security. And we're not alone. There's a group in Sea-Tac, one in Portland, another in Silicon Valley. That I know of. The Johnny Come Latelies who just realized that nothing anywhere close to the internet can ever be secured? Yeah, those people have some remedial reading to do.

Quis custdoiet ipsos custodes? In this case, it's the citizens in the county, and too many counties don't recruit geeks. Far too many turn away the geeks who ask questions and label them cranks. It's what we get when we don't pay attention to County Commission and C&R races, or only vote for the ones who promise more roads and fewer mill levies. Our watchmen are us, and for the most part, we have bilged this course because we'd rather complain online or watch Reality TV instead of go to the county meetings.

Or more precisely, we're expecting our voting systems to be perfect maps, but there's no such thing. A perfect map would be a perfect copy of the territory, and thus, perfectly useless. The map is not the territory, and to create a perfectly, permanently secure system would make it perfectly, securely non-functional. Hackers gonna hack, and their skills are going to evolve. What's secure today will not be tomorrow. It's not about security, it's about auditing, always. You build the system to be as secure as possible while keeping it functional, then you test the hell out of it at every step of the way.

Look, if you're going to make the blanket assumption that we must treat every machine as forever and entirely compromised, you also need to make that argument for every standardized test, from IBTS through ACT/SAT, to M-CAT, L-SAT, GRE and most states' teacher competence exams, a bunch of the actuary and public accountancy exams, most Bar exams, and almost every continuing education license exam. Heck, most Food Service Handler certificates are issued after a Scantron test.

Let me back this up. Every ballot should be paper. (with one exception - the speaking voting machine developed to let blind, visually impaired and mobility impaired people vote in privacy. That is a reasonable accommodation, we can secure those machines, and it is better for a citizen to be able to vote securely and privately.) Those ballots should be counted as accurately as possible. That means machines, because machines are better counters than humans, who get distracted. A stand-alone optical scanner (one that is intentionally blind and deaf to all internet and LAN access, and can only be programmed via the optics and the on-machine buttons) has a significantly higher Sigma rating than human beings. Humans make errors about 1 in a million times. Machines make errors about once in a billion.

Given that most ballots run between 4 and 6 faces of 8x17 or 11x17 sheets of paper (unlike the U.K., but they rarely vote on more than 3 people/issues at a time), those ballots are not easy to count. We have three choices:

1) Have more elections. There's no reason to suck all of the local race/ballot measure oxygen out of the room because we're also running national seats at the same time. It's counter-intuitive, in fact. The problem here is we will continue to see miserable turnout for other than quadrennial elections. This can be partially fixed with making Mail ballots standard everywhere, plus adding universal voting centers (for people who live one place and work another, or are in the process of moving, or don't have an address, or live in an abusive situation where their ballot cannot be assured, or just like the idea of going someplace to vote/drop off their ballots) that make all voter rolls always open to everyone at every polling place. (For which we need to trust the idea of universal print on demand ballots and an open-access, read only voter database, and purple hands. A Lot of Sec States will hate that, and bye-bye voting privacy, because there will be employers who fire people *with* purple hands, and those who fire those *without*.) More elections also minimizes the targets of any one election, which means we can focus more operational security on the Federals. But more elections means we have to pay for it. Good luck with that. One third of this country is popping the corn in preparation for the day we have people keeling over in the streets because they think it will save them $15. They're not going to get enthusiastic about an extra $2.50 a year to support having an official opinion.

2) Convince the whole country to just live with the discomfort of uncertainty for 2-5 days after Election Day while every single precinct does the work. Most Americans will lose their shit because if there's one thing we aren't good at, it's waiting. The media will love it -- if they get to extend Election Night for a week, with the whole breathless horse race -- or hate it, if we impose a blackout until 7 days after Election Day. Either way, prepare for a lot of whining and tantrums for the first few years and full meltdowns during implementation while everyone tries to game the system. In this climate? That's something I DON'T trust.

3) Accept some technical risk and audit the hell out of everything. Be so bloody engaged at the local level that your County Clerk & Recorder sends you their personal, family Christmas cards. Elect local and state election officials who know enough about the machines they're dealing with to talk intelligently about them, who understand and can articulate the difference between proprietary and open-source, who are not at all afraid of encryption, who unreservedly support open source hardware and software, public pen-testing, bounties for proof of concepts, bigger bounties for fixes, and transparent audit trails. Demand paper ballots everywhere. Demand from your local officials that your tabulating machines be as dumb as possible, with no internet access ever and all source code in a public, open repository. Get friends and go to your local, county elections working group meetings. Make Bingo cards of election fallacies for the meetings, so you all stay engaged. For all that the "hanging chads" took the blame, punch cards are really difficult to manipulate. They're entirely mechanical systems with no software. No software or firmware is always safest. It takes the longest to vote -- so expect lines -- and it takes the longest to count. A little software and firmware -- about as much as it takes to run an extremely limited, no internet access, Raspberry Pi running open-source scanning software attached to a consumer level digital camera -- is still much safer than anything online, and far safer than anything sitting on the Internet of Things.

The one thing that doesn't work and never will work and only breeds paranoia and discouragement? Not doing your homework. Not seeking out best practices. Not engaging at the local level. This is a technical problem. It has technical solutions. They're easy. (Really. And cheap, much cheaper than the proprietary systems.) But easy != effortless. This takes work that must be done on the local level.

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Response to Girard442 (Reply #25)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:39 AM

48. I can answer all those for NC at least

 

1- Not some randomly, but 100% of them are run through multiple tests before Election Day. To include full on Election Day simulations where the clocks are set and everything is identical and the votes are cast all day long then the totals compared to what they know they cast.

2- Yes. After every election before results are certified the state board of elections makes every county to an audit of multiple randomly selected races and precincts comparing paper records to electronic totals. The precincts and races to be audited are not selected until after Election Day so nobody can work around that if trying to hide fraud.

3- Absolutely for every state on every level. There are poll and election observers from both parties in every county board of elections watching every step. They are writing down every total and you can be damm sure they are doing the basic stuff like making sure the math is right and what they see on their level is what is reported at the state level.

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Response to OldRedneck (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:12 PM

27. there's simply no need for computers period

They could change the totals and you'd never know.

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #27)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:48 PM

33. Thank you! Treat a vote as a valuable as a $100 bill is to a business: check it by hand and eye!

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Response to JoeOtterbein (Reply #33)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:21 PM

39. ... you do know that it's trivially simple to fool several counterfeit tests?

The pens are worthless -- they're iodine and they react to the starch in regular copy paper. Use acid-free, linen-laid paper or a high quality newsprint, and the iodine test fails. The iodine test assumes that counterfeiters are going to cheap out on materials. That catches the casual counterfeiter, not the state-sponsored actor, the cartel willing to invest in a good letter-press system, or a highly motivated amateur.

Good CYMK digital printers can replicate the fine color hairs. Digital die cut and embossers can be used to replicate the feel of the letter-press. Sure, you have to hack the printer's software, since most of them have an anti-counterfeiting subroutine. But that's not that hard.

The fiberglass bands are the hard part right now, but state/cartel sponsored are bleaching $1s and $5s and turning them into $100s and $50s.

And that's just the stuff I know about because I read Wired and follow the Amazing Randi.

I get your analogy, but it's not a great one.

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Response to OldRedneck (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 10:35 PM

36. The premise is that the base code of the voting machine has been compromised.

And compromised so ingeniously and thoroughly that nobody has ever been able to confirm it. Not the companies that wrote the software and delivered (and update / maintain) the machines, not the operators of the machines themselves, nobody.

It's straight up Aliens kidnapped me and other completely unbelievable tin-foil hat stuff.

Because they did it for both Bush elections, then somehow forgot to do it for Obama's elections, before remembering and activating the old project for Trump.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #36)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 06:26 AM

41. There shouldn't be any base code at all

Why is there secret base code between me and my vote? It's absurd on its face. There's no need for it. Just cause you are a trusting soul doesn't mean there are not bad actors out there. Your argument is they haven't been caught, and they didn't succeed for Obama, so it must not be happening. That's like saying my bank didn't get robbed, so bank robbery doesn't exist.


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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #41)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:28 AM

45. If you plug anything into a wall for power, there going to be code

That tells the machine how to function.

There are several drawbacks If you want to go back to a hole punch card.

First, it's going to be days for the results of the election to be finalized.

Second, every hole punch that isn't perfectly between the lines is going to be contested, similar to what happened in Florida in 2000. Recounts that last for weeks will become the norm.

Third, President Obama himself stood by the integrity of our election system. The system is too decentralized, too complex, and based on a myriad of different technologies.

If a company of expert hackers the size of Microsoft focused on compromising the entire system, they couldn't do it credibly without leaving a zillion easily indentifiable signs that the system was compromised. That's not even taking into account the hundreds of hackers that would record everything and publish it on 4chan or Reddit almost immediately.

One guy could probably compromise one machine, given time, risk, and effort. But doing that to all 30 machines at the precinct I voted in just last week in Georgia is simply not possible. Not without drawing a significant amount of attention to yourself, getting caught, and having your face on national tv. And doing that across all precincts is impossible.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #45)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:41 AM

49. Secret proprietary code has no place in voting.

There's no credibility in that. We can take the time to do it right. Like Canada, Germany etc.

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #49)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:10 AM

54. Secret proprietary code is more secure, and harder to hack, than open source code.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #54)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:19 AM

55. Like I said you are a very trusting soul LOL

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #55)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:22 AM

56. I work in software security, and what I said is a fact. Has nothing to do with trust.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #56)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:28 AM

57. It's irrelevant, we don't need the computers period.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #54)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:36 PM

66. maybe, assuming there are no bad actors, which would be a very naive assumption, IMO. nt

 

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #36)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 07:42 AM

42. Thank you, way to much tinfoil around here on this topic

The need for physical access makes widespread hacking really infeasible

The lack of red flags when the data is professionally reviewed by statisticians (Silver, etc) makes it even more improbable.

The vote totals weren't altered.

Suppression, yes. Propaganda, yes. Hacking and exposing DNC secrets, yes. Manipulating vote totals, NO.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #36)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:11 AM

44. There isn't only one premise.

But of course, pick one and then broad brush paint every one calling for integrity in our elections as conspiracy theory kooks. Unfortunately, that's an effective method and it's worked very well. Good job. Thanks for helping the GOP.

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Response to OldRedneck (Reply #19)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:04 AM

43. How is the data procured if they aren't connected in any way except an electrical cord?

See, the whole "They're not hackable, it's unpossible, get real, losers!" crowd believe they're the rational ones and it cracks me up. The argument is ludicrous on its face, unless the rational thinkers believe mental telepathy is used to procure the data.

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Response to kcr (Reply #43)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:03 AM

53. There are two ways

 

One is that the machines give a readout or printou that is manually taken and totaled.

The other is that they write totals to a memory card that is then read by the tabulating system.

Most systems do both.

Neither of those invoke and connection to the internet or path that allows hacking the machine. They are what is known in the IT industry "air gapped" with no connection to the internet or any way for anyone to access them remotely.

Just because you don't understand how these things work (as your post clearly demonstrates) doesn't mean that it's magic or that some connection exists to the net.

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #53)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 10:17 AM

59. Just because there's no connection to the internet

doesn't mean it's impossible to hack. I don't understand how hacking became an internet only thing in some people's minds.

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Response to kcr (Reply #59)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 10:35 AM

60. Not impossible in theory but in practice and application it is fantasy

 

Yes, you can hack the machines with physical access.

It would require on some physically hooking a computer up and on others actually taking the machine apart and swapping chips or birds of chips.

Now, let's look at what that would require.

Voting machines are stored all over in county board of elections offices, in facilities with alarms.

To hack them you would have to break in to the office, remove the machines from storage, take them apart one at a time and swap parts or boot each one up and run upgrades, test them all to make sure it took and you didn't kill the machines, power them back down, put them back in storage, leave no trace you were there and then get away without being caught.

Now, that's time consuming. And risky. It's. It easy to pull that off once without either getting caught or somebody noticing you were there.

It would be hard enough to pull off with one location. To pull it off in enough scale to actually change the election outcome would require it be done thousands of times over and over at different counties. All without not once being caught or leaving any trace you were there.

That's the stuff of movies and novels. The odds of that being pulled off in reality are astronomically low.

And even if they managed to do all that, how are they writing a code that is undetectable in all the pre-election testing and validation and post-Election auditing?

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #60)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 11:26 AM

61. That's great but we could vote tomorrow on pen and paper

and dispense with all the superduper votronic mixmasterV.2.9.4.7.3 which is the Most Securest Everer!!!!!

Let's see the precious code our votes are riding on if it's so awesomely excellent.




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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #61)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 11:54 AM

62. You realize fraud happened all the time with paper, right?

 

The term "stuffing the ballot box" didn't come about to describe honest behavior.

Acting like paper ballot elections are somehow fraud proof or even more secure when the history of fraud with them is long and documented is keeping your head in the sand.

Just because you don't understand how electronic systems and computers work and are able to understand paper doesn't make paper magically more secure.

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #62)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 12:46 PM

63. So lets see the code if it's so great

Oh yeah it's secret. Just trust Diebold right? too complicated for us to possibly understand. Fraud anyway so lets do computers.

I don't think so Lee-Lee. I think you're wrong.

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #60)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 05:31 PM

72. So much wrong with your post.

First of all, you're speaking as if all elections are run exactly the same way everywhere in this country, with all the machines exactly the same and secured in the same way. That's simply not true.

Which leads me to my second point. Hacking isn't one act that's carried out in one specific way. There are as many ways to hack elections as there are just about anything else. To claim that hacking of our elections doesn't happen or is highly unlikely is ridiculous.

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Response to kcr (Reply #72)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 06:16 PM

73. Then tell me one plausible method

 

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #53)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:38 PM

67. executable files can be loaded via a memory card. nt

 

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Response to TheFrenchRazor (Reply #67)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:47 PM

69. And how are they doing that?

 

You can't just take a screwdriver out, pop the hatch and start uploading files in the polling place.

Before the elections the machines are tested to make sure they report accurately.

For it to happen they would have to to be breaking into the county offices where these are stored between the time they are tested and Election Day, a very very short window, pulling the machines out storage, firing them up, individually changing each one, powering them down, putting them back in storage and leaving without getting caught and while leaving no trace they were there.

And to do it on the scale needed to change the outcome of the election it would take doing that thousands of times in thousands of various county offices in a very short window of time between when the machines were tested and when the polls opened, without getting caught or slipping up and leaving any trace it happened.

Do you honestly think it's realistic to think that's possible?

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 08:52 PM

22. Whether or not Russia actually hacked the vote, it simply shouldn't be possible to hack the vote.

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Response to unblock (Reply #22)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:38 PM

68. correct; some people refuse to get this. nt

 

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:11 PM

26. Chimp Hacks Diebold GEMS tabulator




Published on Nov 8, 2008
Black Box Voting produced this film in Sept. 2004, teaching Baxter the chimp to delete entries in the Diebold audit log (without even a password). Yet in 2008, over 1,000 locations still used this tamper-friendly system. This is the real Diebold GEMS system, and a real Los Angeles vote database, which we ourselves altered as well to introduce "Dr. Evil." Baxter then deleted the Dr. Evil entries, to remove all traces of evidence that would show tampering of the Los Angeles election. You can download your own version of GEMS at BlackBoxVoting.org to try this yourself.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:20 PM

28. Just like healthcare we are doing this wrong

Just like with healthcare, in spite of numerous examples of how to do it right, we've chosen to do it the wrong way.

The reason for that? Are we just populated by stupid people? Is running elections the worst possible way an intrinsic part of the American way? Or might it be that doing it the way we do it gives someone or something an overwhelming advantage.

We've all been asking ourselves for years why do people keep voting against their own interests? What if that hasn't really been happening?

If you poll people on individual Republican positions they are against most of them.

Could it be that a whole series of elections have simply been stolen. Bush v Gore? We know that one was stolen. But what about Bush v Kerry? There was some really weird shit that happened in Ohio where a nakedly partisan Secretary of State ruled the entire voting aparatus.

What if that same party has moved on from just making sure that there aren't enough voting machines to actually just installing vote changing malware onto key state tabulator machines. This would not even require access via the internet.

The idea of conducting our elections with proprietary software from for profit companies that is unauditable is insane. It has been going on for decades. It has to change but most likely won't. Our rulers don't want it to change.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:25 PM

29. Segment from "Hacking Democracy" (2006) demonstrating hack of optical scanner machine...

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:35 PM

30. This map does not show it but....

the entire state of South Dakota votes on paper ballots that are counted by optiscan machines. No wonder this state has had one party rule for so long. I have often said that SD is ALEC's proving ground for corporate legislation. Maybe they perfected the optiscan hacks here too.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 09:45 PM

32. I like the look of those hand-counted paper ballot districts.

Like beautiful lakes of democratic sanity.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:26 PM

40. Well we better hope there are some Good Hackers

That are Dems

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:34 AM

46. Nothing in the linked article backs up the headline

 

As is typical for all the Hockenberry outlets clucking about voting machines being hacked- nothing to back it up or showing "hacks" that would be easily seen or detected if tried like someone taking the machine apart.

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #46)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:52 AM

51. Nobody's even allowed to see the secret proprietary code

I don't agree with that. A lot of trusting souls around here.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 08:53 AM

52. And even if it's not hacked, there might be glitches and errors:

Normal microchip-based electronics last about 10-15 years (depending on how they are used and stored) before the microchips "degrade" and the electronics starts to produce errors.

A county would have to buy new scanners every 10 years...

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:32 AM

58. geez, looking at that map

can't we have one standardized way of voting???

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 03:50 PM

70. The takeaway here: All methods are flawed and we're likely never to have another clean election.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 06:29 PM

74. They are optical scan vote counting machines

so paper ballots are still available for audits. They can also be tested (and usually are) against a stack of test ballots. The test ballots verify that the machine is counting accurately. If we suspect that the scanners were hacked by the Russians (or anyone else) then the machines can easily be retested against known ballots. The scanners will not unhack themselves.

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Response to L. Coyote (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 06:56 PM

75. Duh

Again, we need a push to get serious about foolproof uniform voting protocols across our nation.

Voting has consequences, as we really see now, and yet nothing changes.

It is maddening.

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