Insecure Election Technology Videos

Elite computer scientists have repeatedly shown that America’s voting machines are open to fraudulent attack by industry insiders or malicious outsiders. Below are key videos produced by those researchers.


Why Electronic Voting is a BAD Idea

Tom Scott explains why the importance of not trusting any person in the electoral process makes security so difficult in high-stakes elections. He identifies three key problems with electronic voting:

  1. It is nearly impossible to audit the proprietary black box software and hardware and be assured that the correct version is running on election day.
  2. Electronic votes are transferred in extremely insecure ways such as USB sticks and Internet connections.
  3. Central tabulators are only seen and used by a limited number of officials and keeping them secure between elections presents a major challenge.

Argonne National Laboratory Hacks a Diebold Voting Machine

Security researchers on the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory demonstrated how they were able to hack a Diebold touchscreen voting machine. They executed a classic man-in-the-middle attack, inserting electronics that allowed them to control the touchscreen interface as well as the voting data being sent to the machine’s computer. The attack could be activated remotely from a half mile away. Cost of parts: $10–26. Level of science: High school.


Princeton University Hacks a Diebold Voting Machine

Three Princeton researchers conducted an independent security study of the Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. They showed that is “vulnerable to extremely serious attacks” during typical election procedures. They came to the following conclusions:

  1. An attacker could install malicious code in under one minute with physical access to a machine or its removable memory card;
  2. Malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates.
  3. An attacker could also create a voting-machine virus that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities. 

Princeton University Hacks a Sequoia Voting Machine

Professor Andrew Appel and a team of researchers at Princeton University and Lehigh University showed how the Sequoia AVC Advantage could be hacked in just seven minutes by picking the lock and replacing one of the ROM chips with a fraudulent version.

The cheating software they installed would affect every future election run on the machine, and was able to recognize candidates by party affiliation. The program evades detection by distinguishing between testing and election modes, and by waiting to flip votes until after a certain number have been cast.


Argonne National Laboratory Hacks a Sequoia Voting Machine

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory replaced hardware on a Sequoia voting machine with tampered circuitry. Their fraudulent machine could be switched into cheating mode remotely with a simple radio frequency device. There are plenty of opportunities for physical access to voting machines during storage and transit, allowing for even relatively cumbersome attacks such as this.


Internet Voting: What Could Go Wrong?

University of Michigan professor J. Alex Halderman explains his research into the perils of Internet voting. He and his students have been able to hack into or show vulnerabilities in online voting systems in Estonia and Washington, D.C.