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No Voting Machine is Safe from Hacking

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Yes, computer hackers get together for conventions, just like entomologists & ethnologists & philatelists & paleontologists.

At a recent computer hacker's convention in Las Vegas, a wide variety of voting equipment was easily hacked. Push-button machines & touch-screen machines & the scanners (OCR or Op-Scan) that read paper ballots. Each one required only seconds to insert malware. Most were available by wireless or bluetooth, so the hacker didn't even have to touch the machine.

The problems are endemic. The manufacturers themselves cannot be trusted. The machines are hackable by design because the people who are in charge of running our elections are not above wanting to affect the outcome.

Return to hand-counted paper ballots is the obvious and straightforward solution. It's much harder to steal elections when there are no computers involved.


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Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

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Devil's Advocate

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Of course, we already know any computerized device can be hacked, both by the user at the console, as well as by anyone accessing the device through online means.

But, the real threat is posed by those who control what is done with the databases these machines create. Rigging the results at the receiving end is a far easier, more "efficient" and less visible way to cheat the public. I have no doubt all the significant tampering happens quietly, well outside of these polling stations.

Submitted on Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019 at 5:13:24 PM

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Josh Mitteldorf

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Yes, there has been some evidence of this over the years. Most famously, this is how Ohio was moved from the Kerry to the Bush column in 2004.

But usually precinct-by-precinct results are available on line, and this creates a risk for cheaters of getting caught. If the precinct numbers are changed, then somebody from the prercinct may notice it. If they're not changed, then the numbers don't add up, and someone may notice the arithmetic error.

Submitted on Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019 at 2:26:55 AM

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I get what you're talking about, but it misses the point.

You cannot trust what you get online would reflect the actual votes made. All results can be manipulated by the system before offering anything online. The whole tabulation is being done invisibly, and cannot be verified at any point in the process.

You're at the whim of algorithms you cannot bear witness to, while having to trust the ones running them (who can see what's really going on) at their word that nothing nefarious is going on.

It's really quite a distasteful arrangement, in my eyes.

Submitted on Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019 at 4:41:40 AM

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