In August 2008, Crain’s Detroit Enterprise revealed a tongue-in-cheek obituary for voting machines.

“Digital Contact-Display screen Voting Machine, beloved stepchild of the 2000 Presidential Election and loving father of Insecurity, Confusion, and Delay, peacefully went dwelling to be along with his maker in 2007. There shall be no memorial companies. Interment shall be in numerous warehouses round America,” wrote Alan Baker.

After Florida’s “hanging chad” drawback within the very shut Bush-Gore contest, an excessive amount of cash was spent nationally shopping for digital voting machines to switch paper ballots. “Voting machine issues quickly adopted,” the obituary famous, “vanishing votes, breakdowns, malfunctions and rising proof that the gadgets have been weak to hackers.” Starting in 2007, California, Ohio and Florida “abruptly ordered election officers to mothball their digital machines,” Baker wrote.

By 2020, nevertheless, election officers had discovered a method to spend your cash to purchase machines once more. The hook this time was that the machines would generate paper ballots. “You’ll be able to’t hack a paper poll,” then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla advised the editorial board of this newspaper.

One such system is in use in Los Angeles County, designed and manufactured by Smartmatic to the customized specs of Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan. The machine is a “ballot-marking machine.” After the voter makes selections on the touchscreen, the machine prints out a poll with human-readable textual content and a machine-readable QR code. The voter can test the textual content for accuracy, however it’s the QR code that’s learn by scanners and accommodates the vote knowledge that’s truly tallied.

Within the state of Georgia, a trial is underway over the accuracy of comparable gadgets manufactured by Dominion Voting Methods. The plaintiffs within the case, described by the Atlanta Journal-Structure as “liberal-leaning Georgia voters and activists,” argued to U.S. District Decide Amy Totenberg that she ought to order the state to desert using the machines and swap to paper ballots as a substitute.

Again in November, Decide Totenberg steered a compromise to keep away from this trial. She advisable eliminating the QR codes and including extra election audits and cybersecurity measures. However the plaintiffs stated the court docket had basically confirmed that “Georgia’s establishment is much too dangerous” and insisted on hand-marked paper ballots. The chief director of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of many plaintiffs within the case, stated, “We stay up for prevailing at trial as we reveal why touchscreen BMDs (ballot-marking gadgets) can’t be used safely.”

And that’s precisely what their skilled witness, College of Michigan pc scientist Alex Halderman, proceeded to do within the courtroom. Proper in entrance of the choose he used an peculiar pen to press a reset button on the touchscreen machine that allowed him to vary the outcomes of a hypothetical election over Sunday alcohol gross sales. He programmed a pretend voter card to flip the winner of an election between George Washington and Benedict Arnold. He used a $100 USB machine and a cable related to a printer to reprogram the machine to print out as many paper ballots as he wished.

In response, Georgia election officers gave the choose their assurances that this didn’t truly occur in a Georgia election.

Is that the perfect they’ll do?

In all procedures associated to voting, it’s crucial to stop vulnerabilities earlier than somebody exploits them to cheat in an election. After the election, it’s too late. Courtroom challenges are sluggish, and the winners are licensed quick.


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