Himalaya Canada Liberte
Proof reader Amy
In 2019 counties and states all over America purchased 130,000 new voting machines (Ballot Marking Devices – BMD) that were used in the 2020 election for the first time. In 2019 experts already highlighted many issues with these new “high-tech” BMD machines that could erode public trust and confidence in the new voting process. Today we are seeing the results of those system’s weaknesses.
The main weaknesses identified in these BMD’s: transparency of voting & counting; ability to check election results; the role of local election boards in judging voter intent on challenged and recounted ballots; and the ability of hackers to change the voting rolls and voting results.
In the system the voter enters their candidate choices on a touch-screen and the BMD machine prints a completed ballot. Those who promote the BMD machines say they make voting easier, and that automated ballots will eliminate the animosity inherent in the jury process when ballots are contested because of mistake. Some systems include a “pollbook” which is a database of the voter rolls – who has registered to vote.
The old system consisted of the voter preparing a ballot by hand which was then “read” by a vote counting machine. Lawyers prefer this approach since it is easier to audit these ballots as opposed through a machine. The BMD machines generate ballots with a bar code which represents the candidate choice, as well as a readable printed text with the choice. However, the bar code is not visible to the human eye – only the ballot counting machine can read the code, and the code is what the machine uses to record the vote. A hack of the machine could change the bar code but print the correct text on the physical ballot. In addition, a hacked BMD could print one result on the card while recording something else on the tabulated totals. There is no way to detect if the software has been altered.
Additionally, hacker access to the poll book could be disastrous. From there they could invade a state’s voter registration database. Voters could be: deleted from the rolls; assigned a different voting location; listed as having cast an absentee ballot or having vote early, which would make them ineligible to vote on voting day.
By using the BMD humans are relinquishing the judgment over voter intent, and in some cases the voting rolls themselves, to a machine. Proponents insist that the subjectivity of human intervention is best removed. Detractors argue that this is only true if these machines are hack-proof, and that auditing tools won’t catch hacking. With BMD machines you can never know for certain what the voter did at the touch-screen. Evidence that can be shown to the winner and loser in order to legitimize the results is critical as we are now finding out.
The BMD machines are now widely used: Georgia, South & North Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, Pennsylvania cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Los Angeles.
“Our system of jurisprudence is based on the right to review and the right to appeal an adverse decision”5. The BMDs eliminate a fundamental American right to meaningful review.
Another weakness of the “democratic” voting system in the United States is that it is now a largely secretive and private-run system conducted out of the public eye with little oversight. Corporations that run most aspects of American elections including voter registration, casting of votes, and counting of votes by machines, to the manufacture of the machines themselves are privately-owned, closely held, and subject to little regulation. “There are no technical standards or best practices from the US federal government on the security of voter registration systems”5. These companies are often asked to investigate, or police, themselves. There are a small number of companies and they have a near-monopoly. The software code and hardware are trade secrets and difficult to investigate or test. Private vendors have histories of obstructing politicians and the public from seeking information about corruption, foreign influence or false statements about security.
Scientists have been buying voting machines and hacking them. At the 2017 Defcon hacking conference scientists revealed a report on how they hacked a suite of voting machines and found poor computer programming. Virginia decertified their voting machines and moved to paper ballots as a result of this report. Predictably the BMD manufacturing companies have sought to avoid this scrutiny, sending litigation threats to researchers. They have blocked litigation which sought information when voting errors occurred. They have also lied to politicians and journalists about access by hackers.
Oregon senator Ron Wyden, in a speech at an election security conference in Washington DC, said that the voting machine lobby “literally thinks they are above the law, they are accountable to nobody, and they have been able to hotwire the political system in certain parts of the country like we’ve seen in Georgia”5.
U.S. intelligence agencies, have warned that electronic voting systems are likely targets of foreign governments trying to disrupt elections. The Department of Homeland Security says that in 2016, operatives affiliated with the Russian government probed the election systems of all 50 states3. In 2020 it is clear the real threat comes from the CCP which is determined to help Joe Biden gain the Presidency. With Biden as President they expect to enjoy the benefits of his more “friendly” foreign policy – purchased with their bribery operations, which were revealed in the documents and emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop. The multiple flaws in the US election system have provided fertile ground for their hacking operations.
- “Researchers question reliability of Dominion voting systems, election systems & software”, Alana Mastrangelo, Breitbart, November 8, 2020
- “Reliability of pricey new voting machines questioned”, Frank Bajak, A.P., February 23, 2020
- “In high-stakes election Georgia’s voting system vulnerable to cyberattack”, Alan Judd, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 23, 2020
- “They think they are above the law: the firms that own America’s voting system”, Jordan Wilkie, The Guardian, April 23, 2019
- “Why more than 130,000 new voting machines could lead to more distrust in the 2020 presidential election results”, RawStory, Steven Rosenfeld, October 9, 2019,