2 Tier Approach to Election Audits

Robust audits are the single most useful tool we can use to ensure the accuracy and security of our elections. I have written a proposal for a realistic approach to implement audits in as many counties as quickly as possible. The basic concept is to do 100% hand-count audits in places where it will not be burdensome, such as smaller jurisdictions, and those with simpler ballots. In larger jurisdictions, and those with more complex ballot content, risk limiting audits can be implemented; but it would be advisable to additionally audit one randomly drawn race on every ballot, and all races closer than 1 % with 100% hand-count audits.

I have presented this paper at 3 conferences now. The Electoral Integrity Project Workshop in San Francisco in August, The People's Convergence Conference in September, and the Take Back the Vote Conference this past weekend in Berkeley. The response has been very positive.

Below is a link to the complete paper. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

If you support the work that I'm doing, please show that support by making a donation to my GoFundMe today. I very much need your help right now in order to continue.  Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, and thank you for the work that you are doing to move this issue forward! 

 

Click on the photo to read or download the complete paper.

Click on the photo to read or download the complete paper.

Hackers crack Voting Machines at DEFCON

This is my first report from the #DEFCON #VotingVillage in Las Vegas. In some cases within minutes—and in other cases within a few hours—of the village doors' opening, hackers in attendance said they had successfully penetrated some systems. The security investigators claimed to have breached or found major vulnerabilities in every voting system present.

Vegas is expensive. I also have other trips coming up and needed new camera equipment. Anything you can give to my GoFundMe account is greatly appreciated. I’m at over 25% of my goal, and the fund is trending! Very encouraging.

I’ll be doing a Facebook live hit at 6 pm PST today to take questions about what hackers were or were not able to at the #VotingVillage.

I believe we are at the tipping point. If we keep focused and work together we can make our elections significantly more secure and more transparent by 2018, and 2020.

Thank you so much for everything you’re doing.

GA Lawsuit Filed in Special Election Alleges Results "Cannot Be Known"

Marilyn Marks the Executive of the newly christened "Coalition for Good Governance" is celebrating the fourth of July by suing a bevy of Georgia election officials, including Secretary of State Brian Kemp, claiming that the results of Georgia's special election "cannot be known" due to  "the insecurity of Georgia’s voting system and the lack of voter-verifiable paper ballots."

The suit goes into detail about the security breaches that took place prior to both rounds of Georgia's sixth district congressional race that eventually pitted former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel against political newcomer and film producer Jon Ossoff. I published an article yesterday on Alternet about the suspect results of the election. 

The suit points out that the election system website was left open on the internet from August of 2016 until March of 2017. It describes how during that time, a video was available instructing election officials, "to first download files from the Kennesaw State University Center for Election Systems website, put those files on a memory card, and insert that card into their local county voting systems." Since the normally secure aspects of the website were completely open to the public during that time, it is possible that an election worker downloaded compromised data from that website - as instructed by the official tutorial. This could have resulted in malicious software being loaded directly onto the voting machines.

The suit does not exaggerate when it says, "This would be a serious security concern."

It goes on to claim that the voting machines have not been re-certified since 2007, and are not currently authorized for use.

The suit claims that Kemp and other election officials "allowed the uncertified and compromised systems to be used in the Runoff" contrary to the requirements of the Georgia state constitution.

Marilyn Marks said in a phone conversation that "The machines are unfit" for use. According to the press release, she is seeking "to overturn the reported results of the Special Election and to order a new election." She is also attempting to prohibit the machines from being used in the upcoming November municipal elections.

She will hold a Facebook Live press conference on Thursday July 6th from the Georgia Capitol building.

What to investigate?

Here is where I am today on evidence of Russian involvement in our elections; what is a valuable use of time; and what is less so.

- There is a lot of evidence that Donald Trump has been doing business with individuals associated with the Russian mob and money laundering.
"...for more than three decades the FBI has had Trump Tower in its sights. Many of its occupants have been targets of major investigations ... One thing many of them have in common is deep ties to organized crime — including the Russian mafia."

- The Clintons seem to have compromised themselves by donations from Russia and various business associates surrounding a uranium deal with Russia.

Why many progressives are more interested in the Clintons' ties to Russia than Trump's ties I don't understand.

Louise Mensch apparently says that Russia is connected to everything. So eventually, with any luck, she may be right about something. Could be Trump.

All of this for me, is a distraction from the real issue, which is how are we going to establish accurate, secure election protocols by the 2018 mid-term elections. Anyone can hack our elections right now: The Russians, Iran, China, Karl Rove, The DNC. Alex Halderman has said straight up that he could do it, probably most of his grad students and the girls from black girls code could as well. It is infinitely more fascinating to speculate on who may have been doing it than to do the nitty-gritty, tedious work of how to prevent it. Yet, that is where we need to put our attention. We have an incredibly narrow window in which to do this work before it will simply be too late to make changes to voting sytems prior to the election. Already Chicago and Maricopa County AZ are in the process of making these decisions.

There are a number of really important areas that need to be researched. If people are interested in assisting with this research - it would be really useful!

1) We need an excel sheet of the laws pertaining to how ballots are counted in each state.  Many states have outlawed hand-counting and we need to know which ones, and what the specific regulations are in each state. Someone could start this in a google spread sheet, and others could add in information. 

2) We need to research about 7 different emerging voting technologies that are coming on the market. I support hand-counted paper ballots in as many places as possible. Probably that will be in jurisdictions with on average 50,000 votes or less — and not too many referendums on the ballot. Other locales are going to need some kind of mechanism, and it would be good to compare emerging technologies and see which ones offer the most transparency and ability to verify the vote. 

Someone could start a google spread sheet and begin listing the parameters that can be compared for each system. This would be tremendously helpful! We can crowd-source this research and get it done more quickly and more thoroughly than anyone could do it on their own. If we can get a spreadsheet in place with basic information and websites of each option — we can take this to a team of computer scientists and ask for more in-depth vetting of the systems. 

If you start a spread sheet, please lmk via my website or DM and I will send you an email to add me. Here are the systems that I am aware of currently. 

o   Clear BallotMark EarleyIon Sancho may be a source of information on this company

o   Clear Ballot has partnered with Voatz – (supporting internet voting- quite risky)

o   Galois

o   Jim Keller’s system (photographer/inventor from San Antonio Texas)

o   STAR – Travis County election officials & Rice Univ

o   Mitch Trachtenberg / Humboldt County system

o   TOBI – The open ballot initiative - Ray Lutz, Citizens’ Oversight Projects

o   Trust the Vote – Open Source – but available for commercial development

o   Some jurisdictions may be developing their own systems- LA & San Francisco are

o   A simple off the shelf system that would scan or photograph ballots that could then be counted via spreadsheets, in a system developed by the Michigan Election Reform Alliance, or a slide show method that has been developed by the Wisconsin Election Integrity Action Team, or another protocol.

Thoughts? Willing to help? Please let me know!!

 

Citzens for Voting Integrity NY

Citizens for Voting Integrity NY had a good meeting last night. We met in Hastings on Hudson NY and discussed working on New York legislation for hand-counted paper ballots, risk-limiting audits and allowing candidates and citizens to request recounts. Also considering a name-change. It is a small, but focused group led by Allegra Dengler. The meeting was lots of fun! Let me know if you'd like to join us next time. We meet on the third Wednesdays of the month.

Did Roger Stone coordinate with Guccifer 2.0?

This report from The Hill is a piece of solid evidence that looks criminal in the case that Trump's campaign coordinated with Hackers to throw the election to him. Roger Stone, one of Trump's advisors at the time, apparently had advance notice about the hack of former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's emails. Stone tweeted about it saying, "“Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel.” He had Twitter correspondence with Guccifer 2.0 prior to that. Guccifer told him, "...please tell me if i can help u anyhow. it would be a great pleasure to me.” Did Guccifer tell Stone Podesta was next, or did Stone suggest that a Podesta hack would be useful?

 

Roger Stone, former Trump advisor

NY Focus

We focused this week on NY reforms. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker spoke about her bill "The modernized voter registration act of NY." It includes provisions for same day voter registration, online registration, automated registration through official agencies & changes to audits . We invited NY & other election reform activists and election officials to share their thoughts on the bill as well as what they'd like to see happen going forward. Recording is here and comments from the call are in the comments section. 

We will not have a call next Sunday. The calls are going to move to a weekday night. If you have a preference between Tues & Thurs please put it in the comments. The time will be 8pm EST. 

Thanks to everyone who has been participating!

Vote Counting Protocols Part 3

Next #HonestElections Conference Call Sunday 1/29 3-4pm EST. Please join us and share! This is the recording from today's call. There is a little feedback at first - but we get it cleared up quickly - and the quality of the call is great after that. This is a great discussion about a slide show auditing technique that's been developed and a new voting system that is designed for transparency.

Here is more information about today's call:

Today's #HonestElections conference call will feature a voting system that takes a photo of the ballot. It is designed by Jim Keller a photographer and inventor from San Antonio Texas who owns 5 patents on photography and other equipment. We will also speak with Karen McKim of Wisconsin Election Integrity about slide show auditing.

Jim Soper will give us a preview of upcoming legislation in California at the end of the call. Please join us!

This is a prototype ballot from Jim Keller's system.

Please put comments and questions from the call in the comments below.

What Did the Wisconsin Recount Teach Us?

Computer scientists and election reform advocates trust hand counts, but election administrators do not.

I have done three video reports on the Wisconsin recount so far.  This article at Medium - summarizes what I found:

Election experts and scientists keep telling us that we need to count on paper because we can always go back and examine those paper ballots. J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan summed up one of the most important take-aways from the recount, “ ‘Also shocking is how unlikely states are to look at any of the paper, even in a surprising and close election like this,’ Halderman said.”

Read more...


Here are the links to the three video pieces I produced for alternet.org:

Part 1 - How Accurate are the Voting Machines? (Brown County Wisconsin)

Part 2 - Racine County Clerk Refuses to Acknowledge Problems With the Count

Part 3 - The Machines are Not Secure and Some of Them are Wireless

I encourage you to watch these pieces - you will get a much better sense of what a hand count is like than from just reading an article about it.