It’s 2022. Two years after one of the most hotly contested elections in U.S. history. And elections security “watchdog” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, also known as CISA, is finally admitting what many have known all along: Dominion Voting Systems has serious election security vulnerabilities.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday about CISA issuing an alert about the Dominion voting machines. It is heavily weighted with verbiage meant to spurn anyone who might come to the conclusion that the 2020 election was “stolen.” It is worth citing the AP, nonetheless.
“Electronic voting machines from a leading vendor used in at least 16 states have software vulnerabilities that leave them susceptible to hacking if unaddressed, the nation’s leading cybersecurity agency says in an advisory sent to state election officials,” the report said.
“The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, or CISA, said there is no evidence the flaws in the Dominion Voting Systems’ equipment have been exploited to alter election results,” the report added. “The advisory is based on testing by a prominent computer scientist and expert witness in a long-running lawsuit that is unrelated to false allegations of a stolen election pushed by former President Donald Trump after his 2020 election loss.”
It is worth noting that the report from expert witness, J. Alex Halderman, a computer scientist at the University of Michigan, is still sealed and is not yet available for public scrutiny.
“The advisory, obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its expected Friday release, details nine vulnerabilities and suggests protective measures to prevent or detect their exploitation,” the AP noted.
“These vulnerabilities, for the most part, are not ones that could be easily exploited by someone who walks in off the street, but they are things that we should worry could be exploited by sophisticated attackers, such as hostile nation states, or by election insiders, and they would carry very serious consequences,” Halderman told the AP.
The AP added that Halderman, who wrote the report on which the advisory is based, has long argued that “using digital technology to record votes is dangerous because computers are inherently vulnerable to hacking and thus require multiple safeguards that aren’t uniformly followed. He and many other election security experts have insisted that using hand-marked paper ballots is the most secure method of voting and the only option that allows for meaningful post-election audits.”
It is critical to note that elections watchdogs, including prominent Democrats, were sounding the alarms about voting security vulnerabilities well ahead of the 2020 election.
“An expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences called for fundamental reforms to ensure the integrity of the U.S. election system, which is handicapped by antiquated technology and under stress from foreign destabilization efforts,” the AP reported in 2018.
“The cautiously worded report calls for conducting all federal, state and local elections on paper ballots by 2020,” the report added. “Its other top recommendation would require nationwide use of a specific form of routine post-election audit to ensure votes have been accurately counted.”
In February 2020, ahead of the presidential election contest, the AP published a report on America’s insecure voting systems, noting also that these systems are ‘pricey.’
“Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. voters will cast ballots this year on devices that look and feel like the discredited paperless voting machines they once used, yet leave a paper record of the vote,” the AP reported. “But computer security experts are warning that these so-called ballot-marking devices still pose too much of a risk.”
Halderman told the Associated Press more recently the specific alleged issues with the Dominion Voting Systems machines.
“One of the most serious vulnerabilities could allow malicious code to be spread from the election management system to machines throughout a jurisdiction,” Halderman told the AP. “The vulnerability could be exploited by someone with physical access or by someone who is able to remotely infect other systems that are connected to the internet if election workers then use USB sticks to bring data from an infected system into the election management system.”
“Several other particularly worrisome vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to forge cards used in the machines by technicians, giving the attacker access to a machine that would allow the software to be changed,” Halderman added.
“Attackers could then mark ballots inconsistently with voters’ intent, alter recorded votes or even identify voters’ secret ballots,” Halderman said.
Thus, the Associated Press is conceding the plausibility that Dominion Voting Systems machines have security vulnerabilities. This expert-acknowledged fact was nonetheless called a “conspiracy theory” after the contested 2020 election.
It seems like the only time the mainstream media call something a “conspiracy theory” is if it harms the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton to this day still claims that the 2016 election was “stolen,” and Democrats in 2017 objected to the election of Donald Trump. One of their complaints? Voting machines.
Thus, it seems like there should be a bi-partisan consensus: If you can’t independently audit an election, those results can arguably be considered to be illegitimate.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.