The scenario would go like this. On Tuesday, November 6, Americans tune to television sets and radio broadcasts, unlock their phones and keep an eye on their desktop screens, all waiting for the same thing: A definitive account of who has won what in the midterm elections. Throughout the night, election numbers shoot across their screens—live, preliminary return data pumped in from congressional and Senate races across the country, and key gubernatorial races, too. Then, around 10 PM EST, CNN anchors announce the network’s call: The Democrats have taken control of the House, winning 31 of the necessary 24 seats to successfully wrest control from Republicans. On camera, Van Jones and Anderson Cooper waste no time as they begin discussing the implications of the victory and how the midterm results have placed the Trump presidency in a new chapter of turmoil. But there’s a problem. Fox News analysts have just announced the opposite result: In an extraordinary turn of events, Republicans have managed to hang on to their majority by a single seat, retaining control of the House. It’s a major political upset, says Bret Baier, and a replay of Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. And yet for clients of the newswire Reuters, the results are simply opaque—with political analysts there reporting that control of the House, and several nail-biter gubernatorial and Senate races, still remain too close to call.
The next morning, as the country tries to sort through the crisis, the President pours on accelerant—sprinting toward an obvious opportunity to delegitimize the incoming House Democrats, who may well alter the fate of his presidency. This proves that the election is rigged, Trump bays to a crowd of raucous supporters. And what did CNN do, when the results showed Republicans winning? The lying media rigged the numbers!
It’s a nauseating scenario. But is it possible?
Several current and former members of the intelligence community, as well as civilian officials in the Obama White House, suggested that it is—at least in theory. The idiosyncratic nature of American elections is at the heart of their concerns: Namely, that the numbers that appear on our various screens throughout election night are, in a way, an illusion.
… Blewett says security at the field house “is very rigorous,” adding, “nobody can just wander in off the street and wander around and see what’s going on there.” Blewett also said he wasn’t aware of any effort to subject student and faculty staff, which are under his purview, to background checks—a recommendation advanced by the Belfer Center at Harvard for improving election security. Other researchers who saw photographs of the field house voting center raised questions about the IT configuration visible there: Matt Bernhard, an election security researcher at the University of Michigan, wanted to know which computers were networked and which were “air gapped,” or isolated from the internet; the security protocol for the machines when stored between elections; the use of two-factor authentication; and whether the models allowed for USB or CD-ROM inputs, methods that hackers have used for on-site delivery of malware in the past. (Blewett couldn’t speak to those aspects of AP Elections’s security measures, but did mention that he believes the computers have USB ports.)
Full Article: Could Hackers Give Us Another Bush v. Gore? | Washingtonian.