Don’t Be Too Worried About A Conspiracy To Hack The Vote

We’ve written for the past couple of weeks about Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s tepid attitude towards federal intervention of election administration all in the name of cyber-security.  Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been making remarks about the “rigged system” that will steal this election from him for a while now, and I know a lot of supporters are truly concerned about the security of our election process.  It was a topic of discussion at last week’s town hall meeting with Indiana Governor Mike Pence in Dalton.

Jim Galloway had a chat with Merle King, executive director for the Center of Election Systems at Kennesaw State University.  Those are the folks who oversee the operation and programming of ballots into our state’s voting machines (they print the paper absentee ballots as well).

King mentions how our elections are administered–by the states and then delegated down to the counties:

[T]he 18th century origins of voting in the United States are a low-tech advantage when it comes to cyber-security. Elections fall under the control of states, which hand most of those duties to officials in more than 3,000 counties.

Our way of administrating elections isn’t exactly modern and centralized.  It’s still fairly local, and that’s a good thing.  Plus, consider the various types of voting platforms different states use.  If you look over at Ballotpedia, different states use different methods including mail-in ballots, paper ballots, and direct recording electronic systems (what Georgia uses).

The likelihood of the elections being “stolen” or “rigged” by nefarious actors in Russia/China/North Korea/whatever is not very high because of how our nation handles elections:

“It’s so fractured, and in many cases works against good election principles,” King said. “But in some cases, and I think with the issue of security — promulgating an error, much less an intentional threat, among these various systems is just a logistical impossibility.”

King is a cool to the idea as well of a federal usurpation of the states’ ability to administer its own elections all in the name of “cyber-security”.  I know I’ve said it before, but there are procedures in place to keep the machines secure.  If you’re worried about the DRE voting machines, you can always request a paper absentee ballot that you mail back to your county elections administrator.  If you see some sort of shenanigans on Election Day at your precinct, notify the poll manager.

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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Of course they’re concerned about ballot fraud. Georgia was rife with fraud at the polls until the photo ID requirement addressed the few alleged occurrences per decade.

Benevolus
Benevolus

The problem is that if it were hacked we would likely never know. It would be a stroke of immense luck to find a discrepancy by randomly auditing about 1% of the votes, and I’m not sure even that is done. And as we now know, the target seems to be voter registration records anyway, another area that hacked edits would be difficult to discern. Many people get turned away now because they moved, or precinct locations changes, or redistricting. Add in misspelled names or addresses and it’s not really uncommon to get turned away and few will go through… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

I’m curious about the electronic voter roll they use at the polls. I don’t know if they are connected or not.
Does every device have the entire county on it, or just the precinct it is to be used at?
If someone votes in Precinct 1A does it immediately update all devices to show that that voter has voted?
What happens to the data after the election?