As we approach the 2012 presidential election, concerns are being raised about the likelihood of cyber attacks leading up to and during that event. There are many individuals, groups and rogue nation states that would like nothing better than to disrupt this year’s election. Remember back in 2010 there were reports of a cyber attack that allowed hackers to gain access to online voting system in the District of Columbia. Now add to that the activity of hackers during last year’s elections in Russia, as well as the cyber fire exchanged during the last Iranian elections. We shouldn’t forget the cyber attacks back in 2008 that targeted the Obama and McCain campaigns. With all this activity it is easy to see why cyber security practitioners have a heightened state of awareness and are on cyber guard. In an election that looks like it will be too tight to call, all they have to do is to create a reason for the results to be called into question.
During their news conference Friday, Iowa’s Republican secretary of state, Matt Schultz, and Democratic attorney general, Tom Miller, presented evidence suggesting there are non-citizens who have registered to vote illegally and that some of these illegal registrants have voted. Clearly, further investigation is called for, and if indeed these people have voted, they should be prosecuted. I am worried, however, about the effort to run a database matching effort to ferret out and remove non-citizens from the voting rolls. The central problem here is that we have no requirement of registering to vote under the same name as we use for other purposes.
For a driver’s license, you present a birth certificate, so your name on the driver’s license will match your birth certificate. To register to vote, you can use your employer ID card and a phone bill. As it turns out, my voter registration is in the same name as my driver’s license. That’s because I used my license to register about 32 years ago. On the other hand, my employer’s ID card lists my name differently (just a middle initial). I could have registered to vote with that card, had I wanted to. There is no legal requirement that I use the same name everywhere, and in fact, I use a variety of names and nicknames:
- Most people know me as Doug Jones.
- Some know me as Douglas Jones.
- To my employer, I’m Douglas W. Jones.
- And on my driver’s license, I’m Douglas Warren Jones.
I’m not trying to confuse people. It’s just that, at various times, I’ve used different and obvious variations on my full name.