Elect Romney and those armed observers on rooftops will attend everything we do in public
In an era when shadowy hackers can snatch secret government files and humble big businesses with seeming ease, it’s an unavoidable question as Election Day approaches: When we go to the polls, could our very votes be at risk?
According to voting-security experts, the answer can be boiled down to a bit of campaign-speak: There are reasons for concern and there is work to be done but, by and large, we’re better off now than we were four years ago.
“In general terms, the nation as a whole is moving toward more resilient, more recountable, evidence-based voting systems and that’s a good thing,” said Pamela Smith, president of the Verified Voting Foundation. “We’re better off than we were a couple of election cycles ago by a long shot and we’re better off than we were in the last election…
More than 45 million U.S. voters, or one out of every four who go to the polls, will cast a ballot on a machine that stores votes electronically, but doesn’t create a paper ballot, according to Verified Voting.
Six states — Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey and South Carolina — use those machines exclusively and they’re used by a “heavy majority” of voters in another five — including presidential battleground states Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some of these paperless machines are also used in the key states of Ohio, Florida and Colorado, where the presidential race is expected to be close.
Here’s the problem, advocates say. When there’s no physical ballot, it becomes next to impossible to determine whether there has been tampering, or some other kind of irregularity, in a close election…
The same thugs responsible for the criminal abuse of the vote in 2000 took office – and they designed the half-assed protocols in the new voting machines. Of course.
“Congress gave funds to the states immediately, so the states bought large numbers of voting systems that were then available, before new standards were developed and adopted; it’s a good example of the maxim denoting precipitous action, ‘Ready, fire, aim!’ ”
Analysts…agree that the first concern with these systems is mechanical failure or human error. They cite cases like a 2006 Florida election, in which electronic machines in one county recorded no vote in a congressional race on 18,000 ballots, even though it was the most high-profile contest on the ticket…
…A standard, touchscreen voting machine could have its data changed with $20 worth of hardware and a paper clip, a fact that gets more troubling now that expanded early voting has put votes on machines stored in schools, churches and other polling places for weeks before Election Day…
I’m not wandering back through posts at several blogs over the years to give you chapter and verse; but, a number of electronic machines used in the US in 2004 were also used in countries like Venezuela – setup as originally designed by Olivetti [for example] to provide a ballot receipt. They were distributed from Florida for cripes sake. Not a difficult retrofit.
At least one state uses mail ballots exclusively and is ready to convert to online voting. It’s not more difficult to secure than online banking. And before you jump up and down about banks being hacked – damned few ever are and those are almost exclusively inside jobs. The protocols used by my local community bank are the same as giants like HSBC – and they don’t get hacked.
There are whole countries that vote online – countries with as many skilled hackers as Estonia – without a problem. Think we can catch up to Estonia?