It Is Time To Call Our Lawmakers To Ensure US Voting Integrity In Nov. 2018
Why on earth would US congressional republicans refuse to renew election security funding along party lines on the 19th of July 2018? I have to ask the question, Are republicans relying on assistance from Russia in order to mitigate their losses in the upcoming November 2018 elections?
As per the 7/19/18 Washington Post report, “House GOP refuses to renew election security funding as Democrats fume over Russian interference” by Erica Werner, “House Republicans on Thursday voted down a Democratic effort to increase election security spending, as Democrats accused the GOP of refusing to stand up to Russia over interference in U.S. elections.”
“In a vote along party lines, Republicans rejected Democrats’ motion for more funding, unmoved by Democrats’ vigorous pleas and chants of “USA! USA!” on the House floor.”
Link to entire report: House GOP refuses to renew election security funding as Democrats
Those of us who are a part of the resistance need to call our US senators to push for better protections against hacking for US voting machines before the 2018 mid term November elections. US Congressional bills to better secure the US election systems like S.2261 and others H.R.6188 or S.2593 have been introduced only to be left languishing on the vine.
At the very least, we need to demand that the 13 states (Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) that still have in use voting machines without a paper trail be blocked from utilizing these machines in the upcoming November 2018 elections.
As per the 3/8/18 Brennan Center for Justice report, “America’s Voting Machines at Risk-An Update by Lawrence Norden and Wilfred U. Codrington III, “Despite manifold warnings about hacking for the past two years, the country has made remarkably little progress in replacing vulnerable voting machines — and has done even less to ensure that we can recover from a successful cyberattack against them.”
“By 2018 these numbers have barely changed: 13 states will still use paperless voting machines, and 5 will continue to use such systems statewide. Only Virginia decertified and replaced all of its paperless systems. In Pennsylvania, Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres directed that all voting machines purchased in the state must employ “a voter-verifiable paper ballot or paper record of votes cast,” but this applies only to new systems. The state has not provided any money to replace its current paperless machines.”
Link to entire report: America’s Voting Machines at Risk – An Update | Brennan Center
Other states should be required to follow the State of Virginia’s model: Virginia bars voting machines considered top hacking target – POLITICO
Action: Advocate for hack-proofing voting protections and or at least all 13 states usage of only voting machines with a paper trail before November 2018.
Call: Your two Senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about protecting the vote. Our democracy is vulnerable if we don’t learn a lesson from 2016 and protect ourselves. Russia-linked groups are actively hacking and seeking to control our midterm elections. I would like [name] to make election security a priority, especially by co-sponsoring any bipartisan Secure Elections Act like [S.2261] or H.R.6188 or S.2593 that would allow states to both assess their risks and enact proven measures that protect the integrity of our vote. At the very least, each of the 13 states having voting machines without a paper trail, should not be permitted to use them. Thank you.
TO FAX: Resistbot will do it all for you. Text “RESIST” to 50409 or message Resistbot on Facebook and it will walk you through the steps to fax your Senator and will tell you when your fax has been delivered.
The main US Senate phone line 202-225-3121 (202-224-3121) or YOU CAN FIND PHONE NUMBERS FOR EVERY SENATOR HERE. or U.S. Senate: Senators of the 115th Congress.
I believe the republicans in the US Congress have been acting like an arm of the Russian Government. The GOP have done virtually nothing to very little to prevent a repeat in 2018 of what happened in 2016 when Russia hacked into US computer systems tied to the US presidential elections, and then launched a full throttle campaign of disinformation and propaganda in the US designed to interfere with our elections.
The CIA Director Mike Pompeo has declared, that “I have every expectation that they (Russians) will continue to try’ to meddle in House and Senate races in November,” like this is no big deal. Oh, hum, like what else is new.
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats recently stated for the record:
“The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers,” Coats said in a statement. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”
Director Coats’ words came hours after President Trump stood next to Vladimir Putin at a 7/16/18 news conference in Helsinki and accepted the Russian president’s denials of interference in the U.S. election.
We can’t get a straight answer as to what steps are currently being taken by the executive branch to mitigate against future anticipated attacks on our election processes, voting systems in the 2018 elections because even the mere mention of this subject upsets our president. Despite the Dutch having shared with US Intelligence officials, photos of Russian hackers attacking US election-related systems, the republican President Donald J. Trump still persists in denying this reality.
Meanwhile, there have been computer experts demonstrating just how scary easy it is to hack state electronic voting machines within minutes.
“We the People” need to act by having our US lawmakers create legislation where steps can be taken to protect the integrity the vote. There was a bipartisan bill that would allow for states to assess their voting machines’ vulnerability and to take steps to prevent being hacked, which went nowhere, like S.2261 or H.R.6188 or S.2593.
See: GovTrack’s Summary
A new bill could eliminate paperless voting machines, which experts say are the most vulnerable to hacking and tampering. It would also expand the use of post-election audits, which are rare and usually used in event of a recount.
About one out of four Americans currently vote on touchscreen voting machines which produce no paper trail, like a receipt.
This worries many, because such electronic systems are much more susceptible to hacking or other malpractice. And without a non-electronic confirmation that a person voted, any evidence of potential tampering could disappear — and do so without anyone even knowing until it was too late.
The Secure Elections Act or similar type acts have 3 major aims:
Get rid of all paperless voting machines. Although many states are already moving away from paperless, budget restrictions for cash-strapped states prevent many other states from following suit. So the bill provides federal grants to states to switch their voting systems in an amount to be determined by an independent panel of cybersecurity experts appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security. States applying for the money would have to submit a list of all paperless voting machines in their jurisdiction, and would only receive the amount of money necessary to replace them with versions that read paper ballots.
Incentivize states to perform post-election audits for most or even allelections. No longer would it primarily occur for extremely close results or recounts, as is currently the case.
“Expand information sharing regarding voting systems. The Department of Homeland Security determined that 21 states had their election systems targeted by Russian hackers in 2016 — but it took almost a year for the department to notify those states.”
“It does not command states to act in specific ways, it does not hijack election administration from counties, states, or municipalities, and it limits the federal government’s role to advising and empowering state and local jurisdictions to run their proverbial railroads,” writes Lawfare.”