Electoral fraud

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Electoral fraud, sometimes referred to as election fraud, election manipulation or vote rigging, is illegal interference with the process of an election, either by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both.


It is well known that current voting systems... can be compromised... many of the specific vulnerabilities reported over a decade earlier... are still present in these systems today... ~Lawrence Norden
  • Democracy in the United States is now largely a secretive and privately-run affair conducted out of the public eye with little oversight. The corporations that run every aspect of American elections, from voter registration to casting and counting votes by machine, are subject to limited state and federal regulation...
    Oregon senator Ron Wyden... said that the voting machine lobby “literally thinks they are just above the law, they are accountable to nobody, [and] they have been able to hotwire the political system in certain parts of the country...”.
  • Not only are the companies largely free from public records requests, they are often asked to investigate or police themselves, according to election law expert Candice Hoke. “It is unheard of, for instance in a bank, that if they have anomalies or a potential hack that they need to investigate, that they are supposed to call the software licensor or the software company and get them to examine their own software and decide whether their software was hacked or flawed in some way,” Hoke said. “Absolutely preposterous. And yet we allow that in our elections.”
  • Participants at Def Con, a large annual hacker conference, were asked to try their skills on voting machines to help expose weaknesses that could be used by hostile actors. A video published by CNN shows a hacker break into a Diebold machine, which is used in 18 different states, in a matter of minutes, using no special tools, to gain administrator-level access. Hackers also quickly discovered that many of the voting machines had internet connections, which could allow hackers to break into machines remotely, the Washington Post reported. Motherboard recently reported that election security experts found that election systems used in 10 different states have connected to the internet over the last year, despite assurances from voting machine vendors that they are never connected to the internet and therefore cannot be hacked.
  • On June 27, the House passed a bill that would bolster America’s high-tech voting infrastructure with a low-tech fix: paper... the SAFE Act requires that all voting machines involve “the use of an individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot of the voter’s vote.”... Election security experts from Harvard, Stanford and the Brennan Center for Justice all recommend the phasing out of paperless voting... Yet despite expert consensus, political activism, and availability of funding, opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate makes it unlikely that the SAFE Act or any paper ballot standard will be implemented by 2020. With no method to verify votes in the case of software or hardware failure, paperless voting machines represent a large vulnerability.
  • Participants vetted dozens of voting machines at Defcon this year, including a prototype model built on secure, verified hardware through a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. Today's report highlights detailed vulnerability findings related to six models of voting machines, most of which are currently in use. That includes the ES&S AutoMARK, used in 28 states in 2018, and Premier/Diebold AccuVote-OS, used in 26 states that same year. "As disturbing as this outcome is, we note that it is at this point an unsurprising result," the organizers write. "It is well known that current voting systems, like any hardware and software running on conventional general-purpose platforms can be compromised in practice. However, it is notable—and especially disappointing—that many of the specific vulnerabilities reported over a decade earlier ... are still present in these systems today... This confirms what we’ve been saying for years now—around the country, we’re still using antiquated equipment that should be replaced, both for security and reliability reasons," says Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program at New York University School of Law.
  • As we barrel toward what is set to be the most important election in a generation, Congress appears poised to fund another generation of risky touchscreen voting machines called universal use Ballot Marking Devices (or BMDs), which function as electronic pens, marking your selections on paper on your behalf. Although vendors, election officials, and others often refer to this paper as a “paper ballot,” it differs from a traditional hand-marked paper ballot in that it is marked by a machine, which can be hacked without detection in a manual recount or audit. These pricey and unnecessary systems are sold by opaquely financed vendors who use donations and other gifts to entice election officials to buy them. Most leading election security experts instead recommend hand-marked paper ballots as a primary voting system... Voting machines that make it difficult or impossible to detect hacking can leave voters susceptible not only to stolen elections, but also to false claims of election-rigging.

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