90 Miles From Tyranny : Engineer: Software-based Voting Must Die Before It Kills the Republic

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Engineer: Software-based Voting Must Die Before It Kills the Republic

Upon seeing election workers on TV poring over paper ballots and analyzing “hanging chads” during the contested 2000 election, many were aghast. “How could the United States use such ‘backwards technology?!’” was the cry. But as people advocated electronic voting, I and others pointed out the obvious: Such technology allows the massive alteration of votes via software manipulation — perhaps by just one person. This is why, warns a top-notch computer engineer writing in 2020, for our Republic to live, software-based voting must die.

That man, Hank Wallace, has sterling credentials that include writing more than a million lines of code for major companies during the last 42 years and having been granted quite a few patents. Living and breathing his work, Wallace is a man who’ll lie awake in bed at night designing systems and algorithms in his mind. It should thus give us pause when he says that putting his own ballot in an electronic voting machine sickens him because, he laments, he “cannot see what’s behind the algorithmic curtain.”

“You see, the great thing about software is that you can have a chunk of expensive electronic and mechanical hardware sitting there, and you can easily change the function of it with a simple software update,” Wallace writes at American Thinker. This is great for software developers, he says, but disastrous when applied to systems critical to our Republic because they can be too easily corrupted.

The engineer then lists the ways cheating could be perpetrated, writing:
  • Change the voting ratio between two candidates by any fraction
  • Display an entered vote correctly to the voter, then change the vote before tabulation
  • Display a summary of votes to an election official, and change that total later
  • Allow remote modification of vote totals via the internet or local WiFi
  • Change votes or methods at a certain time of day, or at a later date, even after voting machine certification concludes, or before/during auditing
  • Change votes in a random fashion on election day [sic] to make it appear to be a legitimate voting trend
  • Change voting trends by precinct, or using historical voting statistics
  • Update the software secretly with a new algorithm
  • Provide intermediate vote tallies to remote actors who are gaming the election in other ways
  • Make adjustments to the votes of one candidate and tracking adjustments to other candidates down ballot
“Any cheat you could do with a paper ballot becomes extremely easy with an electronic voting machine, plus a lot more,” Wallace then explains. “Want dead people to vote? You don’t need to dig up their identification or voter registration card; just program the machine to register 1.02 Biden votes for every actual vote. So every 50 Biden votes result in one nonexistent person voting Biden as well. That’s 2% that costs you no visits to the cemetery or morgue.”

The issue lies not with the software or hardware, not with the design, Wallace correctly points out, but with the designers. Your election’s integrity can’t be greater than theirs is.

Artificial intelligence poses the same problem. It can be very convenient, but the reality is that many software engineers “grew up in amoral California or amoral socialist countries,” notes Wallace, “and these people have zero moral...

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1 comment:

Therefore said...

I'm a programmer/Systems Analyst by education, training and employment with 40+ years computer programming experience. One of the issues I have with electronic voting systems is no paper trail.

Here are a couple of other things I've observed and which are not difficult to accomplish:

* Some voting systems use a smart card to carry the ballot to the voting machine. That ballot is produced by the pool worker entering your name and address into the system which then programs the ballot card which you insert into the voting machine. You vote and it is recorded on that ballot card which you return to the poll worker as you exit to be counted. Is my name now connected to my vote? Have I lost the ability to vote anonymously? (In MD you can request an anonymous ballot but you not all poll workers know how to do it and even if they know, many are unwilling)
* Who has reviewed the code for functionality and correctness? All voting systems I know about are closed source
* When black box testing, it is not difficult to change functionality based on different indicators.
* What's to keep the software from taking a vote pattern and dropping into a "admin" mode to change how votes are tallied?
* What's to keep the software from functioning correctly on all days except voting day and then only after processing a random number of votes? I.e. all tests before election day work, only votes on election day are modified and then only after that machine has seen 37 votes?

There are so many ways to hide a backdoor in software that it isn't even funny. Look up the "wizard" command for the program "sendmail" for an example of backdoors in software.