The world of voting machines is in shambles.
- The industry faces little to no federal regulation.
- Certification guidelines for machine design are 15 years old. And voluntary!
- Leading vendors have refused to disclose any hacks of their systems publicly.
- Oh, and the top three vendors control 88% of the market!
The more things change, the more they get even worse
After Russian interference in our 2016 election, you’d think our voting machine system would have improved. For crying out loud, Apple has come out with five different iPhones since then! But if you thought our voting machines would have become more secure, you’d be wrong. And it’s not just because of Mitch McConnell’s refusal to even bring any election security bills up for a vote.
The glory days of ’16
We already have the technology to fix this. In fact, even the Amish have this technology. Hand-marked paper ballots are the least likely to be tampered with because you can’t hack a sheet of paper. Unfortunately, the powers that be had other visions. These new machines, called ballot-marking devices, use touchscreens to register selections. But these new models, unlike touchscreen-only, print out paper records that are subsequently scanned by optical readers. They’re not only twice as expensive (as the hand-marked paper ballot) but easily manipulated. And, get this, nearly 20% of voters will be using this method – up from less than 2% during the midterms.
At the DefCon hacker conference, it took less than eight hours for a couple of older ballot-marking machines to get hacked.
Not intended for everyone
Ballot-marking machines were designed for people with disabilities – not for everyone voting. Now for even worse news: some of these new machines register votes in bar codes that are indistinguishable to the human eye. Next time you’re in the supermarket, try deciphering a bar code. Bottom line: you may have thought you cast your ballot for Candidate A, but in reality, you’ve just voted for Candidate B. And you’d never know.
“There are a huge number of reasons to reject today’s ballot-marking devices — except for limited use as assistive devices for those unable to mark a paper ballot themselves.”
“They don’t want to make any changes in the equipment unless they absolutely have to.”
What you can do
Write to your representatives in Congress and demand paper ballots.