As usual we will populate this post with a few more items and then start a new one at 10 items or after midnight.
1. Trump campaign conference on software rigging in swing state of Nevada
2. This thread ties cheating voting software to Soros Foundation efforts
…a critical insider threat to the elections by the mass integration of tabulation software made by Dominion Voting Systems nationwide, centralizing the tabulation for votes at the state level for multiple states. Incidentally, the company’s owner was the former chairman of…
— Nate Cain (Parler: NateCain) ??????? (@cain_nate) November 8, 2020
3. Giuliani on fraud lawsuits
4. Examples of voter fraud pour in
5. More proof its enemy propaganda and not fake news.
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) November 8, 2020
6. Michigan Republicans to Probe Voting Software After Counting Error
Republicans in Michigan said they are expanding their investigation into Dominion Voting Systems after a county-level counting error switched Republican votes to Democrat last week.
“Our team is currently reaching out to county clerks across Michigan as well as going through election results in each of the counties which use this software to see how widespread this error may be,” Tony Zammit, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, told the Washington Examiner on Nov. 7.
Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox said in a news conference last week that 47 Michigan counties used software from Dominion in the same manner as Antrim County, where it was found that 6,000 votes were erroneously tabulated to Democratic nominee Joe Biden instead of President Donald Trump.
7. More proof the lockdowns are about Trump and the revolution
Lockdowns & States of emergency–just in time for the massive Trump rallies being planned?
RI & UT communications below ? https://t.co/P4PwRLhvcW pic.twitter.com/cSH1demT8H
— Sam Parker ?? (@SamParkerSenate) November 9, 2020
1. Nevada: Michelle Malkin: Nevada – Megan Barth
Michigan Poll Watcher – Matthew Seely
Dr. Darren J. Beattie – Revolver News
#MalkinLive: Focusing on Nevada – Megan Barth
Michelle Malkin – November 5, 2020
Trump just unfollowed Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter.
He will not forget the snakes.
NEW YORK POST – Jared Kushner has approached Trump about conceding the election: report
President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has tried to talk him into conceding the election, CNN reported late Saturday.
The network, citing two sources, said that Kushner, a top White House advisor, broached the subject with the president following Joe Biden’s victory earlier in the day.
The move came after Trump refused to concede in the minutes after the election was called by the major networks — insisting that “this election is far from over” and claiming that Biden was “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” after Pennsylvania was called for the Democrat.
“I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands,” Trump said in a statement just before noon, promising the campaign’s legal battle against supposed “fraud” would begin in earnest Monday.
Trump’s team has so far been largely unsuccessful bringing court challenges to how the votes have been tallied in several states.
Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said Saturday night that there had been no communication between the rivals or any of their representatives since the race was called earlier in the day, CNN reported.
If you’re okay with Twitter and Facebook fact checking us, then you should be okay with the US govt fact checking votes.
Tammy Bruce: “We all deserve to have answers about what happened” in this election
“There is nothing wrong with standing for what you believe, and that’s what Americans have to do”
MUST WATCH: Mark Levin earlier tonight!
Kamala Harris’s uncle:’She will be president in 2024′
Residents of Kamala Harris’s ancestral village celebrate victory
PRAVDA – UK PM Johnson says Biden win means America can become more of a leader on climate crisis
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and says he looks forward to working with them
True colours take time to see. Boris is a spider. The eagerness should not be to declare any winner, but to first dispel or confirm whether a fraud has taken place if any fraud is suspected, at all. –Kind of a “duh” moment in my book.
What really bugs me is that someone in Boris Johnson’s position has got to know that “climate change” is an end-of-the-world hoax just like all the other end-of-the world hoaxes in history but he’s playing along with it out of fear of being vilified like Donald Trump if he dares to speak the truth.
There is no indication that CO2 has any effect whatsoever on the Earth’s weather. That is what the Vostock ice-core samples prove. Temperature controls CO2 levels because warm water releases the gas while cold water sequesters it, not the other way around. They are treating us like morons and fooling us like we were all little children. The reason I like Trump and don’t like Johnson anymore is that Trump had guts and Johnson clearly does not…
NEVADA – Dead voters. Biden van full of ballots. Trump legal team details shock Nevada claims
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada — President Trump’s Nevada legal team beefed up its legal challenge to mail-in ballot signature verification in the state with startling claims of voter and ballot fraud.
Among the allegations: dead voters, votes from thousands who no longer live in Nevada, and a van marked “Biden-Harris” full of opened mail-in ballots.
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is helping Trump’s legal effort in the state, detailed grievances that the campaign has with mail-in ballot signature verification in Clark County, Nevada, which accounts for the vast majority of voters in the state.
“We were told that signature verification will save all chances of fraud,” Laxalt said in front of a crowd of around 50 pro-Trump protesters on Sunday.
Laxalt identified several complaints about the more than 600,000 mail-in votes cast in Nevada. Laxalt said about 200,000 of those were verified through a machine, and never by a human. He also charged that Clark County registrar of voters Joe Gloria set the factory setting on the machine to accept signatures with an only 40% match.
A federal judge on Friday blocked a Trump campaign attempt to stop the use of the machine that validated voter signatures on mail-in ballots.
Another 400,000 of those mail ballot signatures were verified by hand, but Laxalt said that the campaign is not able to view those.
“I am positive, if you all got to see those,” Laxalt said, “you’re going to see countless mismatches.”
At the Sunday news conference, American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp joked that a small pug dog that someone had brought to the protest may have voted before he detailed the kind of eye-popping allegations that quickly spread on social media.
He noted two reports the Republican Party received of deceased people who “miraculously” cast ballots in the general election: Rosemarie Hartle and Fred Sokes Jr., both of whom died in 2017.
A woman who said she was a family friend of Hartle, Marianne Rombola, spoke out about the fraudulent vote.
“It is heartbreaking what is happening in America, and for this family to be exploited, or anybody who has faced a tragedy in losing somebody and their vote has been counted as a person — this is just not America,” Rombola said. “These things need to be heard and taken care of.”
Schlapp mentioned one whistleblower who worked in a ballot counting center and signed an affidavit alleging that a supervisor instructed the person to process mail-in ballots despite concerns about whether the signature matched the name on the envelope.
Schlapp said that another whistleblower from a ballot counting center, while taking a walk around the counting center on his lunch hour, “noticed a van pulled up at the center marked Biden-Harris.”
“The doors of the van were open, ballots were clearly visible, ballots were open with letter openers, and ballots were filled in and resealed in envelopes,” Schlapp said. “These people who were involved in this activity then decided to create a human shield around what they were doing in the van.”
Schlapp said that at least 9,000 people who moved out of state voted in Nevada’s election. Trump’s campaign previously sent to the Justice Department a list of more than 3,000 Nevada voters who, according to a national change of address database, no longer live in the state. Only an estimated third of people update their address in the database, so triple the number of voters on that list comes to about 9,000.
Laxalt dodged a question from the Washington Examiner about whether the Trump campaign’s legal challenges, if successful, could tip Nevada to Trump’s corner in the Electoral College. Apparent presidential election winner Joe Biden currently leads in the state by about 34,300 votes.
He expressed disappointment with what he said was the question he is “seeing out of the media now, which is, ‘Have we produced enough illegal voters to overturn the election?'” He asserted: “That, of course, is an absurd question. Let’s first start covering the fraud and now acknowledge that there are illegal voters.”
“The way we resolve division, even when you don’t get your way in an election, is to count every legal ballot,” Schlapp said. “Make sure that we count every legal ballot, and make sure that illegal ballots do not reduce the civil rights and the votes of those who voted legally.”
February 23 2020 – Reliability of pricey new voting machines questioned
In the rush to replace insecure, unreliable electronic voting machines after Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, state and local officials have scrambled to acquire more trustworthy equipment for this year’s election, when U.S. intelligence agencies fear even worse problems.
But instead of choosing simple, hand-marked paper ballots that are most resistant to tampering because paper cannot be hacked, many are opting for pricier technology that computer security experts consider almost as risky as earlier discredited electronic systems.
Called ballot-marking devices, the machines have touchscreens for registering voter choice. Unlike touchscreen-only machines, they print out paper records that are scanned by optical readers. South Carolina voters will use them in Saturday’s primary.
The most pricey solution available, they are at least twice as expensive as the hand-marked paper ballot option. They have been vigorously promoted by the three voting equipment vendors that control 88 percent of the U.S. market.
Some of the most popular ballot-marking machines, made by industry leaders Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, register votes in bar codes that the human eye cannot decipher. That’s a problem, researchers say: Voters could end up with printouts that accurately spell out the names of the candidates they picked, but, because of a hack, the bar codes do not reflect those choices. Because the bar codes are what’s tabulated, voters would never know that their ballots benefited another candidate.
Even on machines that do not use bar codes, voters may not notice if a hack or programming error mangled their choices. A University of Michigan study determined that only 7 percent of participants in a mock election notified poll workers when the names on their printed receipts did not match the candidates they voted for.
ES&S rejects those scenarios. Spokeswoman Katina Granger said the company’s ballot-marking machines’ accuracy and security “have been proven through thousands of hours of testing and tens of thousands of successful elections.” Dominion declined to comment for this story.
Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. voters will be using ballot-marking machines this year, compared with less than 2% in 2018, according to Verified Voting, which tracks voting technology.
Pivotal counties in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina have bought ballot-marking machines. So have counties in much of Texas, as well as California’s Los Angeles County and all of Georgia, Delaware and South Carolina. The machines’ certification has often been streamlined in the rush to get machines in place for presidential primaries.
Ballot-marking devices were not conceived as primary vote-casting tools but as accessible options for people with disabilities.
Critics see them as vulnerable to hacking. At last year’s DefCon hacker convention in Las Vegas, it took tinkerers at the ‘Voting Village’ not even eight hours to hack two older ballot-marking devices.
Tampering aside, some of the newer ballot-marking machines have stumbled badly in actual votes. That happened most spectacularly in November when ES&S’s top-of-the-line ExpressVote XL debuted in a Pennsylvania county.
Even without technical troubles, the new machines can lead to longer lines, potentially reducing turnout. Voters need more time to cast ballots and the machine’s high costs have prompted election officials to limit how many they purchase.
“There are a huge number of reasons to reject today’s ballot-marking devices — except for limited use as assistive devices for those unable to mark a paper ballot themselves,” says Doug Jones, a University of Iowa computer scientist who co-authored the voting technology history “Broken Ballots.”
But election officials see ballot-marking devices as improvements over paperless touchscreens, which were used by 27 percent of voters in 2018. They like them because the touchscreens are familiar to voters, looking and feeling like what they have been using for nearly two decades, and officials can use one voting method for everyone.
Michael Anderson, elections director for Pennsylvania’s Lebanon County, said “voters want it.” The county offers voters both machine- and hand-marked ballots.
“When we give them a paper ballot, the very first thing they say to us is, ‘We’re going back in time,’” he said.
New York State election commission co-chair Douglas Kellner was an early critic of paperless electronic voting machines. But he is confident in a ballot-marking device, the ImageCast Evolution by Dominion, certified for use in his state. He said safeguards built into the machines and security protocols make a hack of the Image Evolution “extraordinarily unlikely.”
But Jones is among experts who think today’s ballot-marking devices undermine the very idea of retaining a paper record that can be used in audits and recounts. It’s an idea supported by a 2018 National Academies of Sciences report that favors hand-marked paper ballots tallied by optical scanners. Some 70 percent of U.S. voters used them in the past two presidential elections and will do so again in November.
One state, Colorado, is banning bar codes from ballot-marking voting machines beginning in 2021.
Election administrators who reject hand-marked paper ballots as antiquated, inconvenient or unwieldy have few options beyond ballot-marking devices. That’s because the $300 million voting equipment and services industry is so insular and entrenched.
Counties using ballot-marking devices in 2020
Ballot-marking devices, which voting security experts question because a computer marks the paper ballots, are being used for all voters in more than 400 counties in 16 states.
The industry faces virtually no federal regulation even though election technology was designated critical infrastructure in January 2017. Federal certification guidelines for voting machine design are 15 years old and voluntary. The leading vendors have resisted publicly disclosing third-party penetration testing of their systems.
”It’s a self-reinforcing system that keeps it frozen in a place in the past,” said Eddie Perez, a former product development director for Hart InterCivic, the No. 3 voting equipment company, now with the OSET Institute, a nonprofit that promotes reliable voting solutions. “They don’t want to make any changes in the equipment unless they absolutely have to.”
The Republican-controlled Senate has refused to take up bills that would, among other things, require a voter-verifiable paper trail and require bulletproof postelection audits. Republicans say the federal government should not impinge on states’ authority to oversee elections.
Northampton County, on Pennsylvania’s eastern edge, mirrored the state’s choice in 2016 by voting for Donald Trump after twice choosing Barack Obama. Last Election Day, it became ground zero in the debate over ballot-marking devices.
The county’s new ExpressVote XLs failed doubly.
First, a programming misconfiguration prevented votes cast for one of three candidates in a judge’s race from registering in the bar codes used to count the vote. Only absentee ballot votes registered for the candidate, said the county executive, Lamont McClure. The other problem was miscalibrated touchscreens, which can “flip” votes or simply make it difficult to vote for one’s desired candidate due to faulty screen alignment. They were on about one-third of the county’s 320 machines, which cost taxpayers $8,250 each.
One poll judge called the touch screens “garbage.” Some voters, in emails obtained by the AP in a public records request, said their votes were assigned to the wrong candidates. Others worried about long lines in future elections.
Voters require triple the time on average to navigate ES&S ballot-marking machines compared to filling out hand-marked ballots and running them through scanners, according to state certification documents.
ES&S said its employees had flubbed the programming and failed to perform adequate preelection testing of the machines or adequately train election workers, which would have caught the errors.
Election commissioners were livid, but unable to return the machines for a refund because they are appointees.
“I feel like I’ve been played,” commissioner Maudeania Hornik said at a December meeting with ES&S representatives. She later told the AP she had voted for the devices believing they would be more convenient than hand-marked paper ballots, especially for seniors.
“What we worry is, what happens the next time if there’s a programming bug — or a hack or whatever — and it’s done in a way that’s not obvious?” said Daniel Lopresti, a commissioner and Lehigh University computer scientist.
ES&S election equipment has failed elsewhere. Flawed software in ballot-marking devices delayed the vote count by 13 hours in Kansas’ largest county during the August 2018 gubernatorial primary. Another Johnson County, this one in Indiana, scrapped the company’s computerized voter check-in system after Election Day errors that same year caused long lines.
“I don’t know that we’ve ever seen an election computer — a voting computer — whose software was done to a high standard,” said Duncan Buell, a University of South Carolina computer scientist who has found errors in results produced by ES&S electronic voting machines.
Voting integrity activists have sued, seeking to prevent the further use in Pennsylvania of the ExpressVote XL. Grassroots organizations including Common Cause are fighting to prevent their certification in New York State.
ES&S defends the machine. In a Dec. 12 filing in a Pennsylvania lawsuit, company executive Dean Baumer said the ExpressVote XL had never been compromised and said breaches of the machine “are a practical impossibility.”
ES&S lobbied hard in Pennsylvania for the ExpressVote XL, though not always legally.
After ES&S won a $29 million contract in Philadelphia last year in a hasty procurement, that city’s controller did some digging. She determined that ES&S’ vice president of finance had failed to disclose, in a mandatory campaign contribution form, activities of consultants who spent more than $400,000, including making campaign contributions to two commissioners involved in awarding the contract. ES&S agreed to pay a record $2.9 million penalty as a result. It said the executive’s failure to disclose was “inadvertent.”
The Philadelphia episode contradicts claims by ES&S officials, including by CEO Tom Burt in Jan. 8 testimony to a congressional committee, that the company does not make campaign contributions.
Public records show ES&S contributed $25,000 from 2014-2016 to the Republican State Leadership Committee which seeks GOP control of state legislatures.
ES&S has also paid for trips to Las Vegas of an “advisory board” of top elections officials, including from South Carolina, New York City and Dallas County, Texas, according to records shared with the AP from a Freedom of Information request.
Philadelphia paid more than twice as much for its ExpressVote XL machines per voter ($27) as what Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, disbursed ($12) for hand-marked paper ballots and scanners — plus ballot-markers for the disabled — from the same vendor.
Allegheny County’s elections board rejected ballot-marking devices as too risky for all but disabled voters. Its vice chair, state judge Kathryn Hens-Greco, regretted during a September hearing having to award ES&S the county’s business at all given its behavior in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
But no other vendor offered a hand-marked option with enough ballot-configuration flexibility for the county’s 130 municipalities.
While cybersecurity risks can’t be eliminated, Hens-Greco said, the county would at least have “the ability to recover” from any mischief: a paper trail of hand-marked ballots.
OCTOBER 2018 – US election integrity depends on security-challenged firms
It was the kind of security lapse that gives election officials nightmares. In 2017, a private contractor left data on Chicago’s 1.8 million registered voters — including addresses, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers — publicly exposed for months on an Amazon cloud server.
Later, at a tense hearing , Chicago’s Board of Elections dressed down the top three executives of Election Systems & Software, the nation’s dominant supplier of election equipment and services.
The three shifted uneasily on folding chairs as board members grilled them about what went wrong. ES&S CEO Tom Burt apologized and repeatedly stressed that there was no evidence hackers downloaded the data.
The Chicago lapse provided a rare moment of public accountability for the closely held businesses that have come to serve as front-line guardians of U.S. election security.
A trio of companies — ES&S of Omaha, Nebraska; Dominion Voting Systems of Denver and Hart InterCivic of Austin, Texas — sell and service more than 90 percent of the machinery on which votes are cast and results tabulated.
Experts say they have long skimped on security in favor of convenience, making it more difficult to detect intrusions such as occurred in Russia’s 2016 election meddling.
The businesses also face no significant federal oversight and operate under a shroud of financial and operational secrecy despite their pivotal role underpinning American democracy.
In much of the nation, especially where tech expertise and budgets are thin, the companies effectively run elections either directly or through subcontractors.
“They cobble things together as well as they can,” University of Connecticut election-technology expert Alexander Schwartzman said of the industry leaders. Building truly secure systems would likely make them unprofitable, he said.
The costs of inadequate security can be high. Left unmentioned at the Chicago hearing: The exposed data cache included roughly a dozen encrypted passwords for ES&S employee accounts . In a worst-case scenario, a sophisticated attacker could have used them to infiltrate company systems, said Chris Vickery of the security firm Upgard, which discovered the data lapse.
“This is the type of stuff that leads to a complete compromise,” he said. ES&S said the passwords were only used to access the company’s Amazon cloud account and that “there was no unauthorized access to any data or systems at any time.”
All three of the top vendors declined to discuss their finances and insist that security concerns are overblown. ES&S, for instance, said in an email that “any assertions about resistance to input on security are simply untrue” and argued that for decades the company has “been successful in protecting the voting process.”
STONEWALLING ON SECURITY
Many voting systems in use today across the more than 10,000 U.S. election jurisdictions are prone to security problems. Academic computer scientists began hacking them with ease more than a decade ago, and not much has changed.
Hackers could theoretically wreak havoc at multiple stages of the election process. They could alter or erase lists of registered voters to sow confusion, secretly introduce software to flip votes, scramble tabulation systems or knock results-reporting sites offline.
There’s no evidence any of this has happened, at least not yet.
The vendors say there’s no indication hackers have penetrated any of their systems. But authorities acknowledge that some election mischief or malware booby traps may have gone unnoticed.
On July 13, U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence operatives for, among other things, infiltrating state and local election systems. Senior U.S. intelligence officials say the Kremlin is well-positioned to rattle confidence in the integrity of elections during this year’s midterms, should it choose to.
Election vendors have long resisted open-ended vulnerability testing by independent, ethical hackers — a process that aims to identify weaknesses an adversary could exploit. Such testing is now standard for the Pentagon and major banks.
While the top vendors claim to have stepped up their cybersecurity game, experts are skeptical.
In an April 2014 meeting with Colorado elections officials, ES&S objected to a new state requirement for vulnerability testing because it didn’t allow for the results to be kept secret, Colorado Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert said in an interview. She said the company ultimately didn’t seek certification because the system it was offering didn’t meet state requirements.
ES&S did not directly respond to a query about this incident. A company spokeswoman said a review of company correspondence found no sign that it resisted the testing requirement, although it did “ask clarifying questions.”
“The industry continues to stonewall the problem,” said Bruce McConnell, a Department of Homeland cybersecurity czar during the Obama administration. Election-vendor executives routinely issue assurances, he said, but don’t encourage outsiders to inspect their code or offer “bug bounties” to researchers to seek out flaws in their software.
Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has long criticized what he calls the industry’s “severe underinvestment in cybersecurity.” At a July hearing, he accused the companies of “ducking, bobbing and weaving” on a series of basic security questions he’d asked them.
ES&S told The Associated Press that it allows independent, open-ended testing of its corporate systems as well as its products. But the company would not name the testers and declined to provide documentation of the testing or its results.
Dominion’s vice president of government affairs, Kay Stimson, said her company has also had independent third parties probe its systems but would not name them or share details. Hart InterCivic, the No. 3 vendor, said it has done the same using the Canadian cybersecurity firm Bulletproof, but would not discuss the results.
ES&S hired its first chief information security officer in April. None of the big three vendors would say how many cybersecurity experts they employ. Stimson said that “employee confidentiality and security protections outweigh any potential disclosure.”
SLOPPY SOFTWARE AND VULNERABILITY
Experts say they might take the industry’s security assurances more seriously if not for the abundant evidence of sloppy software development, a major source of vulnerabilities.
During this year’s primary elections, ES&S technology stumbled on several fronts.
In Los Angeles County, more than 118,000 names were left off printed voter rolls. A subsequent outside audit blamed sloppy system integration by an ES&S subsidiary during a database merge.
No such audit was done in Kansas’ most populous county after a different sort of error in newly installed ES&S systems delayed the vote count by 13 hours as data uploading from thumb drives crawled.
University of Iowa computer scientist Douglas Jones said both incidents reveal mediocre programming and insufficient pre-election testing. And voting equipment vendors have never seemed security conscious “in any phase of their design,” he said.
For instance, industry leader ES&S sells vote-tabulation systems equipped with cellular modems, a feature that experts say sophisticated hackers could exploit to tamper with vote counts. A few states ban such wireless connections; in Alabama, the state had to force ES&S to remove them from machines ordered for one of its counties earlier this year.
“It seemed like there was a lot more emphasis about how cool the machines could be than there was actual evidence that they were secure,” said John Bennett, the Alabama secretary of state’s deputy chief of staff.
California conducts some of the most rigorous scrutiny of voting systems in the U.S. and has repeatedly found chronic problems with the most popular voting systems. Last year, a state security contractor found multiple vulnerabilities in ES&S’s Electionware system that could, for instance, allow an intruder to erase all recorded votes at the close of voting.
ES&S referred the AP to a brief California report that found “two out of the three initially identified vulnerabilities” were fixed and that a third would be handled in “future ES&S releases.” The company did not say whether the third problem was ever resolved.
In 2014, the same contractor, Jacob Stauffer of the security firm Coherent Cyber, found “multiple critical vulnerabilities” in Dominion’s Democracy Suite that could allow skilled hackers to compromise an election’s outcome.
“These systems are Frankenstein’s monster, essentially,” Stauffer said.
The federal Department of Homeland Security began offering confidential vulnerability testing to vendors over the summer. But only one vendor has submitted to such testing, said an agency official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
More competition might help, but industry barriers to smaller vendors are “absolutely enormous,” said Larry Moore, president of upstart Clear Ballot. Its auditable voting system took two and a half years to win federal certification at a cost of $1 million.
Startups are hard-pressed to disrupt an industry whose main players rely heavily on proprietary technologies. ES&S and other vendors have jealously guarded them in court — and also unleash lawyers against election officials who purchase competitors’ products.
In October, ES&S sued Cook County, Illinois, seeking to void its $30 million, 10-year contract with a competitor. It also recently threatened Louisiana and Douglas County, Kansas, with lawsuits for choosing other suppliers.
Cook County elections director Noah Praetz said litigious behavior only chills modernization. Competition and innovation are already hampered in an industry with “really low” margins, especially considering limited government funding for election equipment.
“The market isn’t functioning real well,” he said.
Elections are run by the states, whose oversight of suppliers varies. California, New York and Colorado are among states that keep a close eye on the vendors, but many others have cozier relationships with them.
And the vendors can be recalcitrant. In 2017, for instance, Hart InterCivic refused to provide Virginia with a paperless e-Slate touchscreen voting machine for testing, said Edgardo Cortes, then the state election commissioner.
In this year’s midterms — as in the 2016 election — roughly 1 in 5 voters will use such electronic machines. Their tallies cannot be verified because they produce no paper record.
Cortes decided to decertify all such systems. If anyone tried to break in and alter votes, he concluded, “there was really no way for us to tell if that had happened.” Hart InterCivic’s vice president of operations, Peter Lichtenheld, did not dispute Cortes’ account in July Senate testimony, but said its Virginia customers were already moving to newer machines.
At the federal level, no authority accredits election vendors or vets them or their subcontractors. No federal law requires them to report security breaches or to perform background checks on employees or subcontractors.
Election vendors don’t even have to be U.S. companies. Dominion was Canadian-owned until July, when a New York private equity firm bought a controlling interest.
Federal oversight is limited to the little-known Election Assistance Commission, a 30-employee agency that certifies voting equipment but whose recommendations are strictly voluntary. It has no oversight power and cannot sanction manufacturers for any shortcomings.
“We can’t regulate,” EAC chairman Thomas Hicks said during a July 11 congressional hearing when the question came up. Neither can DHS, even though it designated the nation’s election systems “critical infrastructure” in early 2017.
There are no software ‘glitches’
I led the team that developed the fraud detection software for the largest online auction house in the world.
Scammers sold products, did not deliver them to paid customers, then dropped off the site. The perp then changed every identifier — name, address, credit card, phone, literally every ID — and rejoined the site.
Fraud detection software was blind because there was nothing in common between the bad guy and the newly listed same bad guy. Neural nets were useless; there were no patterns.
This was a high-profile deal. It was front-page national news for months. The Secret Service, the FBI, about every fraud detection company was trying to solve it. They could not.
We delivered a fraud technology that stopped auction fraud in its tracks. The auction site publicly stated such, noting it in its annual report.
We know a little bit about fraud, cyber-security, computer programming, and “glitches.”
Software is really stupid stuff. It does not go off on its own, has no mind of its own, and there is no intelligence anywhere in code. It performs instructions and does them over and over, exactly the same every time, no matter what.
Until something changes.
Something changing is not a “glitch.” It is a change.
Software does not wake up in the morning and suddenly shift 6,000 votes from candidate A to candidate B, as in Biden. An electrical impulse hitting from that outdoor lightning strike does not make code do something different. It may fry a hard drive, but it does not change vote counts.
Software leaves tracks. These are called log files.
This is a little geeky, but software runs on an operating system. You have one on your phone, that thing that updates itself right in the middle of the phone call you need to take.
Operating systems need to track everything they do, so they write automatically to a log file for everything that happens. The software vendor usually uses these log files to see what happened, when something that was not expected did happen. Log files are really useful, and most serious applications use them.
Log files are huge. They are really ugly. If you saw a log file, it would look like thousand pages of random numbers and letters. It would mean nothing…to you.
To a system that reads log files, it would mean everything. A log file is the equivalent of having a social media post for every one of your eye blinks, heartbeats, finger movements, 24 hours a day — you get the picture.
You can screw around with log files and modify them, but it is really hard. It also leaves tracks, as any change to a log file is written to — you guessed it, that log file.
Some applications run on very constrained machines and do not create log files. To create them is to eat up dear storage. No log file means that an application problem is harder to find. Think days of work, maybe a week.
If a computer system appears to wake up in the night, when a national election has stopped counting votes, and “glitches” votes from one candidate to another, guess what: it isn’t the standard code. Something changed and it is discoverable in the log files. If there are no logs, it can usually be found in places where the application is writing to a database.
Whatever it was, and there are lots of choices, vote-counting software would be highly unlikely to do this during an election. These kinds of problems are solved during the quality assurance testing as the first item one might check. Such checks would be run over and over against every conceivable circumstance.
Vote-counting software — checking if it actually counts votes for the right guy is something one does pretty early in the process. And if it works, it will continue to work — unless something changes.
So when you hear that there is a “glitch” in the dark of night and votes got moved around, you can bet it wasn’t the lightning strike or a broken water pipe. It was someone changing something. It likely left some tracks.
And my experience is there will be lots of tracks. Competent forensic investigators know just where to look. They are likely to find that someone changed something, and it was not a “glitch.”
The moment when Michigan counted 149,772 votes in 5 seconds and less than 6,000 of them were for Trump.
Software glitch going on here in Virginia.
4.42am – “We’ve counted 3,368,181 votes!”
5.12am – “Wait, no, we’ve only counted 3,199,165 votes”
Merkel congratulates Joe Biden on his presidential win