By Steve Levy
Our center has for years concentrated deeply on protecting the integrity of the electoral process. We’ve been raising concerns about the use of electronic voting machines. And now, a new report issued by highly regarded Michigan University professor Alex Halderman suggests these machines are more vulnerable than many pundits have thought. https://www.newsmax.
Our concerns have had nothing to do with the 2020 election, or who won or felt cheated. We’ve been sounding the alarm well before that and will continue to raise the issue until proper safeguards are put in place.
As far back as 2006, Suffolk County government brought a lawsuit seeking to prevent the federal government from mandating the use of electronic machines. http://www.
There was nothing wrong with the old lever-pulling machines, which were inexpensive, easy to use, and unhackable.
The so-called experts will consistently claim there is nothing to worry about, and that hacking is nearly impossible. But these are the same experts from huge companies such as Yahoo, JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft, all of whom claimed they could never be hacked, but eventually were. And of course, the Suffolk County government was hacked in the last two years.
Even the U.S. military got hacked by China. https://wpde.com/news/
Some will say that the concerns about hacking electronic machines are overstated because the machines are not interconnected. You would have to hack each precinct one by one. However, that does not dismiss our concerns.
Elections are often won by a small number of votes. There doesn’t have to be widespread fraud. Tampering with just one election district can change the outcome of a campaign. It’s quite common for congressional candidates to win by under 100 votes. Former Minnesota senator Al Franken won his statewide race by about 350 votes, which was less than the number of votes contested.
And let’s not forget that President George Bush won his election by a mere 500 votes in Florida. That’s right, if just 500 votes flipped in that state, the electoral college vote would have changed and placed Al Gore into the presidency.
That’s why it’s disturbing to see a new study by Professor Haldeman, who showed a judge in Georgia, in real time, how he was able to hack the voting machine that was used in Georgia and flip the vote to a different candidate. All he needed was a Bic pen and a smart card. Now we’re not saying it’s easy to do this, or that it has been done to any extent in the past. But there is the potential for tampering in the future.
We think the old-fashioned lever-pulling machines were their surest way to get a quick Election Day result with little controversy.
Our center has also been concerned about the dramatic increase in the use of mail-in ballots. A 2005 bipartisan commission headed by former President Jimmy Carter warned that the greatest potential for fraud is through mail-in votes. That is why almost every Western democracy in Europe has banned this practice.
We have to make sure that these ballots are not sent out to people who don’t ask for them, and we should at least require that the signatures on these ballots match the signatures that are on file with the Boards of Election. We should also require some type of ID as Florida just mandated. Many of those safeguards were removed in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic and have not been reversed back to their former safer condition. And anyone questioning the safety of the electronic machines continues to get falsely accused of being a conspiracy nut wearing a tin hat.
You can bet that the Chinese, the Russians, and the Iranians at some point will be able to bribe an election official, or hack their way in and make changes to these electronic systems.
The algorithms used in these machines are only as good or honest as the individuals programming them. Remember, it doesn’t take a great deal of tampering to shift an American election and history itself.
Steve Levy is President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of “The Steve Levy Radio Show.” He is the author of “Solutions to America’s Problems” and “Bias in the Media.” www.SteveLevy.info, X (formerly Twitter) @SteveLevyNY, email@example.com