“They’ll be back in 2020, they may be back in 2018, and one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process.” — Former FBI Director James Comey, testifying about the Russian government before a House Intelligence Committee hearing, March 20, 2017
We are facing a major national security threat. As former Director Comey stated, we know that Russia attacked our 2016 election, and there is every reason to expect further attacks on our elections from nations, criminals and others until we repair our badly broken voting systems. Despite a decade of warnings from computer security experts, 33 states allow internet voting for some or all voters, and a quarter of our country still votes on computerized, paperless voting machines that cannot be recounted and for which there have been demonstrated hacks. If we know how to hack these voting systems, so do the Russians and Chinese and North Koreans and Iranians and ….
We are told not to worry, because these machines are secure, since they are never connected to the internet. But even if the machines are isolated from the internet, election information — such as candidate names and the location of each name on the ballot — is uploaded to those voting machines from digital memory devices. Those devices are initialized using computers that typically are connected to the internet at some time. It takes only a fraction of a second for a computer to be infected with a malicious virus. Once a computer is infected, the memory devices also can be infected, and they in turn can infect voting machines.