There’s good news and there’s … no-worse-than-usual news.
The good news is that today, the Wisconsin Elections Commission did what no Wisconsin elections agency has done since the introduction of computerized vote tabulation: They decertified a voting machine, the Optech Eagle.
And they did it for the best of reasons: It wasn’t counting our votes reliably. Now that so many ballots are marked in voters' homes, in all sorts of ink, the machine is "no longer meeting voters' and officials' expectations."
This is good. Not perfect, but good. The vote was unanimous. The Commissioners didn't debate whether the machine should be decertified, but how quickly. They didn’t vote to decertify immediately, but they soberly considered that possibility. And they did adopt some immediate safeguards.Read more
(CNN)The latest reporting regarding the scope of attempted Russian cyber-interference in the 2016 presidential election suggests election officials made a mistake in ending efforts to recount the contest in key states.
Those recounts offered the best opportunity to identify and resolve issues that are now coming to light. We should study our errors to avoid repeating them -- and to make sure recounts in the future are better at detecting hacking and other threats.
Last Friday, the Commonwealth of Virginia decertified – with immediate effect – the use of all direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines. Here’s the press release from the Department of Elections:
The Department of Elections today called for the immediate decertification of Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting equipment in Virginia, and the State Board of Elections approved the request in an effort to increase the security and integrity of Virginia’s voting systems ahead of the November election.
The vote to decertify the DRE, or touchscreen, voting equipment is effective immediately and means that DREs may no longer be used for elections in Virginia. DREs are used in 22 localities across the Commonwealth.
Extended web-only interview with former Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein on voting integrity, the Trump-Russia probe and the need for building third parties.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we continue with Part 2 of our conversation with Jill Stein, the former Green Party presidential candidate of 2016, of 2012. In the first part of our discussion, we talked about her recent trip as part of a peace delegation to South Korea, and we also talked about that famous photo of the former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn in Russia at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also at that dinner, Dr. Jill Stein, who was part of a group of peace activists who had also gone to Moscow because that was part of a peace conference that was taking place at the time.
But we wanted to spend Part 2 talking about where this country stands today, under President Trump, but not only the policies of the Trump administration, but the resistance. Now, interestingly, that discussion or that meeting you had or that dinner you had that—where you weren’t able to speak with President Putin, because there were no translators, was also around the time of the Paris peace—the Paris climate accord. So, talk about the connection between those, why you chose to go to Moscow at the time and what the Paris climate accord and President Trump pulling out of it means.Read more
Cities across Michigan will be breaking in new voting equipment for Tuesday's primary, following the discovery of irregularities during last year's presidential election recount and as a commission appointed by the president looks into questions of voter integrity across the country.
Detroit, which experienced numerous problems during the November 2016 election, will be the biggest of the 60 cities that will switch to the new voting machines next week. Some 45 counties will have the equipment on board by the November election. All municipalities in the state will be hooked up by the August 2018 primary election.
“We knew it was time to get new equipment,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said during a demonstration Wednesday of the new equipment in Rochester Hills. “Our equipment was at least 10 years old and nearing the end of its life. Elections are too important to rely on old voting machines.”
Do we have a voting system we can trust, that is accurate, secure and just? This question, raised by the 2016 multi-state recount effort, is roaring back at us louder than ever after the Intercept’s publication last week of a leaked National Security Agency report documenting with unprecedented detail a hacking scheme targeting components of the U.S. voting system.
The NSA report shows how the hack first used a spear phishing attack in August on the employees of a company producing voter registration software. Information from that hack was then used in a second phishing email about a week before the election targeting over 100 government employees, presumably local election officials, as the Intercept put it, to “trick [them] into opening Microsoft Word documents invisibly tainted with potent malware that could give hackers full control over the infected computers.”
As new reports emerge about Russian-backed attempts to hack state and local election systems, U.S. officials are increasingly worried about how vulnerable American elections really are. While the officials say they see no evidence that any votes were tampered with, no one knows for sure.
Voters were assured repeatedly last year that foreign hackers couldn't manipulate votes because, with few exceptions, voting machines are not connected to the Internet. "So how do you hack something in cyberspace, when it's not in cyberspace?" Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler said shortly before the 2016 election.
But even if most voting machines aren't connected to the Internet, says cybersecurity expert Jeremy Epstein, "they are connected to something that's connected to something that's connected to the Internet."Read more
Leaked NSA Docs Show Vote Hacking Issues Raised by the Green Party's 2016 Presidential Recount Were Real
Leaked NSA documents show Russians could access voting infrastructure. What impact they had is unknown.
The Greens were right during 2016’s presidential recounts when they pressed states to allow computer security experts to examine their election computing systems for evidence of possible hacking.
That is one of the top takeaways from leaked National Security Agency documents that describe how Russian intelligence services targeted and infiltrated e-mails and computers of a private contractor servicing state voter registration databases in eight states and also sent phishing e-mails to 100-plus local election officials before Election Day.
Another top takeaway is the NSA documents show Russians are capable of copying basic moves from the Republican’s catalog of voter suppression tactics to impede voting: in this case by possibly scrambling voter files used to create polling place voter lists. (A related example of that GOP tactic is Ohio’s mass purge of infrequent voters, which comes before the Supreme Court next fall.)Read more
Jill Stein hasn't quite given up the recount fight, more than three months after the Nov. 8th election.
Her first recount push, which hedged on suspicion of electronic voting machine hacking that was never proven, was blocked in December by Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Paul Diamond, whose opinion said any suspicion of a hacked election "borders on the irrational."
Then, earlier this week, the former Green Party presidential candidate and her attorneys filed an amended complaint with the federal court in Pennsylvania arguing the state's recount process is unconstitutional.Read more
After extensive ups and downs, the election recount efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have concluded. The main lesson: ballot audits should be less exciting and less expensive. Specifically, we need to make audits an ordinary, non-partisan part of every election, done efficiently and quickly, so they are not subject to emergency fundraising and last-minute debates over their legitimacy. The way to do that is clear: make risk-limiting audits part of standard election procedure.
After this year's election, EFF joined many election security researchers in calling for a recount of votes in three key states. This was partly because of evidence that hackers affected other parts of the election (not directly related to voting machines). But more than that, it was based long-standing research showing that electronic voting machines and optical scanners are subject to errors and manipulation that could sway an election. In response to that call, Green Party candidate Jill Stein's campaign raised more than $7 million to fund the recounts.Read more