Recently, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, explained that Donald J. Trump believes that millions of voters cast their ballots illegally. The media has pointed out on numerous occasions how they believe this to be a false assertion, akin to the recent claim that there were just as many people attending the inauguration as the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. this weekend, despite the fact that crowd scientists explained three times as many attended the march.
But all this talk about alternative facts is insignificant, because the real issue is that even Trump seems to believe that the 2016 election was fundamentally flawed. And so there can be no doubt that many people agree that he is correct. In fact, there were numerous reports of hacked election websites and systems prior to the election. The Washington Post reported Russian hackers compromised the system in Arizona and Illinois.
In Arizona, hackers were actually able to install malicious software, prompting the state to take the machines down/offline for nine days. For those naysayers, this is a confirmed remote access and compromise of an election system – which means that it is possible just about anywhere there is a remote voting system. In Illinois, in truly disturbing form, hackers used malicious SQL/database scanning software to inject code and obtain 200,000 voter files. Among countless other examples of election hacking issues, the Feds claimed Florida was also compromised by the Russians. The U.S. has claimed on numerous occasions that known Russian hackers were behind the compromise.
Arizona and Illinois led the FBI, amongst other intelligence agencies to issue an alert attempting to explain to voting officials how to identify and act upon these new threats. The problem is, however, that many counties simply did not have the technical resources to deal with election fraud and hacking properly and in a timely manner. Additionally, there are political questions which get in the way – the voting systems are particularly vulnerable (even today). The cost of an IT professional for voting systems and websites is quite substantial and many counties or states may have great trouble footing the bill.
A recent lawsuit in the Supreme Court, claims that the government failed to protect the people from these threats, labeling them “cyber-invasions,” and claiming that they demand consideration under the Constitution’s “Guarantee Clause.” The case asks for a revote of the 2016 due to compromise by potential Russian actors. There can be no doubt that there have been many questions about the administration’s possible ties to Russia. In a separate lawsuit filed on Monday, Trump may need to answer questions surrounding potential foreign business interests. Problems with corporate software are related to questions of corporate interest in government — these of course, are not novel concepts.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign expressed concern about the software application designed by Microsoft in January of last year during the Iowa Caucus where the company collaborated with the parties to run the election. In fact, there were numerous complaints that the program had failed to tally all of the votes, thus leading to an inaccurate result. Microsoft dismissed the complaints, but the aggrieved fired back, citing the fact that Microsoft was compromised because it had donated hundreds of thousands to Clinton’s campaign.
This is an all too common story in election systems as corporate control of voting software has been a great contributor to the mess we are in today. In fact, most of the voting systems currently in use are using platforms built by big business interests. The current Supreme Court case arguing for a revote in the 2016 election explains the two potential areas of compromise, which can occur either remotely or on-site — which I already discussed in a previous article.
In fact, the Plaintiff’s argue that the United States, composed of the Executive and Legislative Branch had a duty to protect the States as well as the people from invasion and that it failed to protect the people when it permitted the election systems to become compromised and that the Court is the only branch competent to make a proper determination.
Trump has also explained that the system is rigged and that millions have voted illegally.
Non-Corporate controlled, open source software, advocated by the National Association of Voting Officials (NAVO) is the best solution to the problem going forward. Brent Turner, Secretary of NAVO explains that depending on the timeline and political will, the system could most definitely accommodate for a revote. The Court has the power to impose this remedy if they so choose. With the case in process with the next deadline set for February 21st, the Justices do not seem opposed to at least consider the idea. The only solution, then appears to do a revote of the 2016 election.