The Dismal State of America’s Decade-old Voting Machines

Wired ran a piece in September 2015 on an important Brennan Center report: “America’s Voting Machines at Risk.” On top of being vulnerable to fraud, voting machines are now also old and falling apart.

The aging machines are prone to failures and crashes that disenfranchise voters through “long lines and lost votes on Election Day,” write authors Lawrence Norden and Christopher Famighetti.

Read the report for more detail:


Clinton Does Best Where Voting Machines Flunk Hacking Tests

Counterpunch writer Doug Johnson Hatlem has a provocative series of articles on election fraud allegations in the 2016 presidential primaries.

In one of his recent pieces, he investigates the correlation between victories for Hillary Clinton and states that use old, fraud-prone voting machines. He takes into consideration places where the exit polls were off by abnormal amounts.

Brennan Center for Justice

Brennan Center for Justice

While acknowledging that the correlation may not have a causal connection, Hatlem says it provides an “agenda for reasonable investigation.” He offers the following path forward:

People wanting to prove this theory should be suing for a technologically sophisticated and independent review of results and the voting results’ entire computer ecosystems in places like Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Boston, Chicago, New York, and many others.

Congressman Introduces Bill to Help Replace Bad Voting Machines

Georgia representative Hank Johnson wrote an opinion piece in The Hill recently citing the need to replace old, faulty, and fraud-prone voting machines. He has introduced legislation to assist states in paying for new systems:

My bill, the “Verifying Optimal Tools for Elections Act of 2016,” or VOTE Act would allocate more than $125 million in HAVA (Help America Vote Act) grants to assist states in replacing machines that were at least five years old in the 2012 general election. These grants would match state funding at a rate of 2 to 1.
The VOTE Act would also allocate $75 million dollars in grants to assist in training poll workers, developing new voting technologies and protecting voting machine source code. 

Rep. Johnson should be applauded for his leadership in tackling the voting technology crisis.


Virginia Finally Decertifies Worst Voting Machines in America

Wired magazine reported in August 2015 on the long overdue decision to decertify AVS WINVote machines in Virginia after it was found that vote data could be modified remotely using the system’s wireless network.

The machines had a whole host of vulnerabilities:

  • Physical security easily circumvented
  • Windows XP operating system had not been patched since 2005
  • Weak WEP wireless encryption key: abcde
  • Mobile phones able to connect to the wireless network
  • Disabling the wireless setting did not stop the network card from sending and receiving
  • Administrative account password was hardcoded: admin
  • Microsoft Access vote database had a weak password (“shoup”)
  • Microsoft Access vote database was not encrypted
  • Authentication was not required to modify the vote database

As computer security and election expert Jeremy Epstein says, “If no Virginia elections were ever hacked (and we have no way of knowing if it happened), it’s because no one with even a modicum of skill tried."