SMART Elections, a non-partisan project dedicated to “Elevating Election Reform to an Urgent National Priority” to hold a Congressional Briefing on Election Security.
10am in Senate Dirksen G-11.
Briefing will feature nationally recognized security and auditing experts:
Dr. Andrew Appel – University of Princeton Professor of Computer Science
Dr. Stephanie Singer – Verified Voting | former Philadelphia Election Commissioner
Bennie Smith – Memphis Tennessee Election Commissioner and Computer Programmer
Moderated by Lulu Friesdat – Award-winning election security journalist and filmmaker
The panel will feature a demonstration of malware changing votes on an actual voting system, flipping the winner of the race in a matter of seconds. Panelists will cover current vulnerabilities in U.S. voting systems, available solutions, and the need for a rapid response to our current security crisis. Voters, including voters with disabilities must know that their votes are counted accurately and securely.
The need for action is crucial and immediate. Both the House and the Senate passed funding allocations in the 2020 budget for election security. The House approved 600 million (H.R. 3351), and the Senate 250 million (S. 2524). The House funding comes with strict security requirements regarding how funds can be spent, but the Senate funding has no such restrictions.
○ 250 million does not give states enough to purchase new voting systems, conduct audits, hire cybersecurity and IT staff, as well as audit their electronic pollbooks for unauthorized activity. All of these are necessary to secure our elections.
○ Having no security requirements attached to the funding leaves states vulnerable to making poor security decisions. For example: Louisiana just leased risky new voting systems with no paper ballots for Early Voting and intends to expand them for use across the whole state.
Allocating funds with no security requirements (as the Senate has done) is an incredibly dangerous scenario, which replicates the conditions under which the current generation of unreliable and vulnerable voting machines were purchased. That spending spree began in 2002 with Congress allocating over 3 billion in funds with no security requirements, and ended with the realization that many of the voting systems sold were poorly manufactured and were dangerously vulnerable to hackers.
"After California declared almost all of the electronic voting machines in the state unfit for use in 2007 for failing basic security tests, San Diego County put its decertified machines in storage. It has been paying the bill to warehouse them ever since: No one wants to buy them, and county rules prohibit throwing millions of dollars’ worth of machines in the trash bin."
Local election officials often do not have the technical background to vet complex systems and must have strong security requirements in place to help them with these purchases.
ES&S and Dominion, the two leading voting machine vendors, are currently selling a dangerous new type of BMD intended for use by all voters in lieu of hand-marked paper ballots. With all voters using BMDs, even a robust hand-count audit cannot determine if reported electronic election outcomes are legitimate. Many jurisdictions throughout the US are purchasing these risky new systems.
We will demonstrate why security experts recommend hand-marked paper ballots for all voters who are able to mark a ballot by hand and non-tabulating ballot-marking devices for those who cannot, or choose not to. The panel will cover why audits are such a critical component of election security, and how very few states are conducting them in a meaningful way.
If Congress does not allocate funding with strong security requirements to help states prepare for 2020, we may face unprecedented interference in our elections. It is a danger that can and must be addressed rapidly.
SMART Elections Co-founder Lulu Friesdat
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