A short time ago I wrote a post supporting the notion that voting machines can be hacked.
I shared this post on the Armstrong and Getty Fan Page. A reader named Ryan Ronco commented on the post and listed many reasons that “fixing a voting machine” was unlikely (see the exchange in my footnote). His enumeration of voting safety protocols convinced me he was knowledgeable and it calmed my fears. I suspect that my conclusion that he is knowledgeable remains correct, but the video below indicates that sophisticated programers can subvert the safeguards employed by voting officials.
I hope Mr. Ronco is correct and that we can all relax. However, new doubts are creeping in.
And thanks to MB for sending this to me.
Ryan Ronco Here’s a major problem with the “rigged election” theory shown in this video – in this voting system, ballots are still ultimately cast on paper, not electronically, so you always have the paper ballot to go back to if a recount is needed. California law requires an audit after the election where 1% of precinct ballots and 1% of all races must be hand counted at random to confirm the computer count, so outside manipulation would be very detectable when the votes cast on the ballots versus on the memory card are radically different. Plus the hacker had unfettered access to the memory card – I don’t know where you vote, but that doesn’t happen in my county.
Roy Filly Hope you are right. But frankly your hypothesis has some holes in it.
Ryan Ronco Probably the holes are just areas where my brevity allows your doubt to creep in. If you have specific issues, perhaps I can fill in the blanks.
Roy Filly Lock picks. Duplicate memory cards preprogrammed with all the time in the world. Helpful election “officials.” Bribery. Need more?
Ryan Ronco Lock picks won’t work because of numbered, tamper-evident seals and locks protecting the memory card and the case covering the hardware and firmware. Duplicate memory cards won’t work either because each card has a unique serial number. All these serial numbers (both on the memory cards and on the seals and locks) are logged, recorded and checked as part of the election audit (and many times along the way). Helpful election officials and bribery can be a problem – that issue is not exclusive to this voting system hack video. However, elections offices (at least the good ones) have checks and balances in place to keep one person from having all the keys to the kingdom – restricted access to memory cards, programming occurs with two or more people at the same time under video surveillance, programmers don’t have access to the server that records the video or the audit logs, etc. And, again, there are those pesky seals and locks that have been logged – if they are broken (whether on purpose or because of an attempt to tamper), the paper ballots that were voted by the voters can be counted. Do you have more?
Roy Filly Wow. Thanks. I’m impressed. I feel better now.
Ryan Ronco You’re welcome! I’d hate for anyone to think that there’s no point in voting or that the whole thing is rigged.