By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
Trying to sort out the voting systems, hardware and software is crazy. Here is some help for you so that you can work out your own answers to questions you may have. There is much, much more for sure… this summary is merely a tip sheet for the reader.
Primer: The Texas Secretary of State letter describing the refusal of the Dominion voting system.
The nation’s three largest voting machine manufacturing vendors — Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Dominion Voting Systems, and Hart InterCivic — have all publicly acknowledged that they place modems in some of their vote tabulators and scanners.
While the vendors claim that their “firewalls” protect computers from outside interference, many of the nation’s leading technical experts say this claim is bogus.
“Once a hacker starts talking to a voting machine through the modem,” says Princeton University Computer Science professor Andrew Appel, “they can hack the software and make it cheat in future elections.” It’s as straightforward as that.
So, what can we do?
“We should be unplugging all of these machines from the internet,” says Kevin Skoglund, the computer scientist who led the 10-expert investigatory team. This means keeping elections technologies disconnected all the time, including on election night.
“We cannot make our computers perfectly secure,” says Andrew Appel. “What we should do is remove all of the unnecessary, hackable pathways, such as modems. We should not connect our voting machines directly to the computer networks. That is just inviting trouble.” More here.
We begin with more details by Sidney Powell (General Flynn’s lawyer and part of the Trump legal team).
Then we have this summary from American Oversight, which is a very left-leaning group of lawyers but they too have concerns regarding Georgia’s overhaul of the state voting systems.
Last updated: November 16, 2020
In July 2019, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that the state had awarded a $107 million contract to manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems to replace existing voting machines with a new “verified paper ballot system.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both Dominion and the state’s former elections company, Election Systems & Software, had connections with Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration. Dominion lobbyist Jared Thomas had been a longtime political and campaign aide to Kemp, who previously served as secretary of state, and another lobbyist, Barry Herron, had worked for Diebold Election Systems, which had originally sold Georgia its electronic voting machines.
Georgia voters had complained about malfunctioning voting machines after the November 2018 midterm elections, even filing a lawsuit aimed at overhauling the state’s election system, including the electronic machines. But critics worry that the new electronic ballot-printing devices from Dominion won’t be much better, contending that hand-marked paper ballots remain the most secure voting method. In fact, the new devices were given a test run in six Georgia counties during the November 2019 election and ran into a number of issues. And records we’ve already obtained showed that voter check-in devices used “1234” as their default password — an “exceptionally weak security measure.” (State officials have said the passwords have been changed.)
Elsewhere in the state, voters reported long lines and ballot issues, and concerns remain about the hidden costs of the new voting system, the state’s planned purge of 300,000 names from its voter rolls, and security weaknesses in voting equipment. With the 2020 elections looming and the security of U.S. voting systems less than certain, American Oversight is investigating state officials’ communications with Dominion Voting Systems and its subcontractor KnowInk and is requesting records that could shed light on how the state is working to ensure secure and accurate elections.
Dominion Voting Systems used a statement, which obscured the company’s council membership, to dispute concerns over voting systems
After allegations emerged that called into question the integrity of voting machines produced by Dominion Voting Systems, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)—part of the Department of Homeland Security—issued a statement on Nov. 12 disputing the allegations, saying “the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”
What the agency failed to disclose, however, is that Dominion Voting Systems is a member of CISA’s Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council, one of two entities that authored the statement put out by CISA.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Dominion and Smartmatic had input or were otherwise involved in CISA’s Nov. 12 statement. In addition, Smartmatic, a separate voting machine company that has been the subject of additional concerns, is also a member.
The joint statement on the integrity of the Nov. 3 election was issued by the Executive Committee of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC), an Executive Committee representing a coalition of certain state & local government officials and government agencies, and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council (SCC), a coalition primarily composed of voting system manufacturers that also includes Democracy Works, an organization which promotes the use of technology to increase voter participation.
The statement claims, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too,” says the statement.
Some of the allegations surrounding the integrity of the presidential election, included by President Donald Trump’s legal team, have been focused on the voting systems provided by Dominion, and to a lesser extent, Smartmatic. Both Dominion and Smartmatic have dismissed concerns over their systems.
Both companies are listed as members of CISA’s Sector Coordinating Council and appear to be actively involved as they are named as “Organizing Members” of the SCC. Among the key objectives of the SCC is to “serve as the primary liaison between the election subsector and federal, state, and local agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), concerning private election subsector security and emergency preparedness issues.”
The Charter states the primary mission of the Council is to “advance the physical security, cybersecurity, and emergency preparedness of the nation’s election infrastructure, in accordance with existing U.S. law. This mission will be accomplished through the voluntary actions of the infrastructure owners and operators represented in the Council.”
CISA’s Reliance on Commercial Vendors
CISA says that it “works to ensure the physical security and cybersecurity of the systems and assets that support the Nation’s elections,” including voter registration databases, IT infrastructure and systems to manage elections (including counting, auditing, and validating election results), voting systems, storage facilities for voting system infrastructure, and polling places including early voting locations.
In effect, CISA appears to act as something of an interface between commercial vendors and state & local governments.
“CISA is committed to working collaboratively with those on the front lines of elections—state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and vendors—to manage risks to the Nation’s election infrastructure,” the agency states on its website.
As CISA notes, they do not have direct oversight or responsibility for the administration of our nation’s elections as that responsibility lies with state and local governments.
“Ultimate responsibility for administering the Nation’s elections rests with state and local governments, CISA offers a variety of free services to help states ensure both the physical security and cybersecurity of their elections infrastructure,” the agency writes on its website.
Dominion Using CISA to Deny Allegations
On Nov. 12, this publication published an article detailing a number of concerns raised about the integrity of Dominion Voting Systems in a sworn Aug. 24 declaration from Harri Hursti, a poll watcher and acknowledged expert on electronic voting security.
Hursti’s observations were made during the June 9 statewide primary election in Georgia and the runoff elections on Aug. 11, 2020, and centered primarily, although not exclusively, around the Dominion systems and equipment.
Hursti summarized his findings as follows:
- “The scanner and tabulation software settings being employed to determine which votes to count on hand-marked paper ballots are likely causing clearly intentioned votes not to be counted”
- “The voting system is being operated in Fulton County in a manner that escalates the security risk to an extreme level.”
- “Voters are not reviewing their BMD [Ballot Marking Devices] printed ballots, which causes BMD generated results to be un-auditable due to the untrustworthy audit trail.”
As part of the article, we reached out to Dominion Voting Systems for comment on Nov. 11 about the allegations contained in Hursti’s sworn statement, to which the company did not respond. Our article was published on the morning of Nov. 12. That afternoon CISA published its statement denying any problems with the voting systems.
The next day, Nov. 13, Dominion sent us an email titled “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: FACTS & RUMORS,” which cited the joint statement published by the GCC and SCC, of which Dominion is an organizing member.
Nowhere in its email did Dominion disclose that it had any affiliation with CISA, or was an active member of the SCC, one of the issuing councils. The email itself referenced the statement in third-party fashion:
“According to a Joint Statement by the federal government agency that oversees U.S. election security, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity, & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): ‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’ The government & private sector councils that support this mission called the 2020 election ‘the most secure in American history.’”
CISA did not respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times about whether it has investigated the claims made in the Georgia lawsuit about Dominion.
While it remains unclear whether CISA and the GCC/SCC have evaluated concerns raised in the Georgia lawsuit, their public statements categorically deny any problems with the systems.
However, in an Oct. 11 order just weeks prior to the presidential elections, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg agreed with the concerns associated with the new Dominion voting system, writing that the case presented “serious system security vulnerability and operational issues that may place Plaintiffs and other voters at risk of deprivation of their fundamental right to cast an effective vote that is accurately counted.”
Despite the court’s misgivings, Totenberg ruled against replacing the Dominion system right before the presidential election, noting that “Implementation of such a sudden systemic change under these circumstances cannot but cause voter confusion and some real measure of electoral disruption.”
Given the recent timing of Judge Totenberg’s order, it does not appear that any of these issues were addressed by Dominion, CISC, or any of its affiliated organizations or Councils, despite their later statements claiming there were no such issues.