More on the Security of the 2020 US Election

Last week I signed on to two joint letters about the security of the 2020 election. The first was as one of 59 election security experts, basically saying that while the election seems to have been both secure and accurate (voter suppression notwithstanding), we still need to work to secure our election systems:

We are aware of alarming assertions being made that the 2020 election was “rigged” by exploiting technical vulnerabilities. However, in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent. To our collective knowledge, no credible evidence has been put forth that supports a conclusion that the 2020 election outcome in any state has been altered through technical compromise.

That said, it is imperative that the US continue working to bolster the security of elections against sophisticated adversaries. At a minimum, all states should employ election security practices and mechanisms recommended by experts to increase assurance in election outcomes, such as post-election risk-limiting audits.

The New York Times wrote about the letter.

The second was a more general call for election security measures in the US:

Obviously elections themselves are partisan. But the machinery of them should not be. And the transparent assessment of potential problems or the assessment of allegations of security failure — even when they could affect the outcome of an election — must be free of partisan pressures. Bottom line: election security officials and computer security experts must be able to do their jobs without fear of retribution for finding and publicly stating the truth about the security and integrity of the election.

These pile on to the November 12 statement from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the other agencies of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) Executive Committee. While I’m not sure how they have enough comparative data to claim that “the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” they are certainly credible in saying that “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

We have a long way to go to secure our election systems from hacking. Details of what to do are known. Getting rid of touch-screen voting machines is important, but baseless claims of fraud don’t help.

Posted on November 23, 2020 at 6:44 AM109 Comments

Comments

Quidnam November 23, 2020 8:23 AM

“…they are certainly credible in saying that ‘there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’”

Perhaps so, but the degree to which such statements can be substantiated deserves to at least be questioned.

“There is no evidence” would mean, at most, that no such evidence has been presented to them. Let’s stipulate that this is mostly true (as it seems to be).

What evidence of such things could be presented? What evidence would exist, and would it actually look like if there were a true case of election fraud?

If numbers were being changed on the back end of the tabulation systems by someone with root access, or altered in the voting machines themselves by unauthorized code, what evidence of this would we actually see? Are we presupposing that any such activity would be caught beforehand? Why?

It seems like we have a system that uses layer after layer of black boxes, and we just have to assume everything is on the level. Even if everybody involved is acting in good faith (perhaps not the best assumption), the way we’ve structured things means the legitimacy of any particular result can’t be clearly demonstrated with anything short of a digital+analog forensic examination taking place every time there is an election.

Bell9 November 23, 2020 9:40 AM

@DEE

+1

… the obvious (non-partisan) question should be:
” if there was genuine fraud & malfeasance in any Presidential election process — how would that be evident to general observers and the public ??

Solemn claims of “no evidence” ring hollow if there is no reliable system mechanism to expose any fraud in elections.
(And there is NO such mechanism in U.S. national elections)

Presidential Elections are an extremely complex man/machine system — with abundant vulnerabilities to routine error AND deliberate, illegal manipulation.
“lnsiders” within the government electoral bureaucracy are especially well situated to manipulate election outcomes AND conceal such manipulation.

Winter November 23, 2020 9:42 AM

@Allk detractors
“Sadly Schneier does his part is supporting his political beliefs by throwing in with the “no evidence of election tampering”. ”

1) The accusers have to supply evidence of tampering. The losing side claiming election fraud has to this date been filing dozens of lawsuits in at least five states. Even though this is the PotUS heading the majority party in the Senate, controleld the USPO, which had observers in every counting station, he has NOT been able to present any evidence of fraud, nothing at all. If the PotUS cannot deliver any evidence, there is no case.

If PotUS cannot deliver evidence, Bruce Schneier can rightly follow CISA claim that there is “no evidence of election tampering”.

2) You cannot prove a negative. Proving there was NO election fraud is like proving there exist no gnomes, Yetis or Bigfoots. But it is easy to prove they exist: Provide one to show us. When you show me a Yeti, I believe they exist. Show us real evidence that there was massive fraud, and then we believe you.

3) When the ruling party claims the loss at the elections was caused by unspecified massive fraud by the opposition, we know we are in some African dictatorship, or the USA.

Winter November 23, 2020 9:50 AM

@Bell9
“Solemn claims of “no evidence” ring hollow if there is no reliable system mechanism to expose any fraud in elections.”

If you claim THIS election was “stolen” with no evidence, how about earlier election victories?

So we must now assume that the Trump winning the 2016 elections was the result of massive election fraud? Or the victory of GW Bush in 2000?

Btw, the courts have very good and reliable system for detecting fraud which works in elections too. It starts with witnesses and material evidence of misbehaving and breach of procedures.

None were supplied by the PotUS nor the GOP, even though they had observers in every polling and counting station.

Quidnam November 23, 2020 9:52 AM

@Winter

“You cannot prove a negative.” No, but you can design a system with mechanisms that are transparent enough to inspire confidence in the result.

As it stands, we’re left with something more like Schrödinger’s election, repeated in thousands of localities across the country.

Even if you’re happy with a particular electoral outcome, it shouldn’t be too much to observe that the larger outcome (a groundswell of mistrust) is not a good one.

And the answer to that mistrust should not be more dismissive appeals to authority, but rather the development of a system that could inspire greater confidence.

This is also where information security people could provide real value.

bcs November 23, 2020 9:53 AM

I’d be interested in peoples opinions of touch screen voting machines that then prints out a human readable paper ballot to be submitted in the traditional way? Basically a machine that fills in a paper ballot for the voter. This retains the transparency and verifiability of hand filled paper ballots wile providing the possibility of reducing the rates of ballots being voided due to illegible or incorrect usage.

parabarbarian November 23, 2020 10:05 AM

I doubt elections can be secured without acknowledging that, as long as there is any limitation on who can vote, more than chin wagging has to be paid to AAA: Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting. I thought — somewhat vainly it appears — that anyone who fancies himself a security expert would get that.

QnJ1Y2U November 23, 2020 10:22 AM

@bcs
You’re describing a ‘Ballot Marking Device’. BMDs can be audited effectively, unlike Direct Record Electronic (DRE) devices. But some implementations use a barcode for the the tallies; the readable text is supposed to duplicate the barcode, but obviously that’s tough for a human to verify.

@all
It’s not like election security is a brand new field, and that election audits and observers don’t exist. People have studied this; we don’t have to start from scratch here in the comments. The letter that Bruce referenced links to this overview on how to secure the vote:
https://doi.org/10.17226/25120

The election system in the US encompasses a huge number of agencies and people. That’s sometimes an issue, but it also a strength – there is simply no practical way for someone to change the result in a presidential election decided by hundreds of thousands of votes.

Bownse November 23, 2020 10:36 AM

Sadly, I find Mr. S’s assertions sniff a little of personal bias. As difficult as it might be, standing above it all until a clear ruling by a court with standing is finalized would be the wisest approach. Yes?

Quidnam November 23, 2020 10:50 AM

@QnJ1Y2U
“The election system in the US encompasses a huge number of agencies and people. That’s sometimes an issue, but it also a strength”

Thankfully those thousands of counties and states would never collectively turn system level control of their voting machine logic and back-end tabulations over to one or two concentrated entities. That would be unthinkably reckless, obviously!

Lucky for us, we can be confident in the knowledge that our stalwart public servants would sooner relinquish their pensions in protest than allow conditions under which they scarcely understand the process they are supervising and certifying.

Worst case, the Other Party could be relied upon to blow the whistle. There is obviously no way that they would collude with each other toward a common agenda (like fleecing the public) over the course of decades. And thank God for that!

If the Experts are all happy too, that’s more than enough for a pleb like me. There is truly so much for us to be thankful for this week!

Impossibly Stupid November 23, 2020 10:58 AM

As always seems to be the case when anything remotely political is the topic, we see a flood of non-critical thinking. I support the anonymity of the message boards, Bruce, but I still would like to see some accountability by, if not IP address, then some geographical label that points to standing.

@Quidnam

What evidence of such things could be presented?

All of it. Everything that is the basis of a credible claim can and should and would be presented. As of yet, though, I have not seen any objective evidence that points to fraud occurring, despite the fact that everyone is carrying evidence-gathering devices in their pockets.

If numbers were being changed on the back end of the tabulation systems by someone with root access, or altered in the voting machines themselves by unauthorized code, what evidence of this would we actually see?

On what basis are you making the claim if you assert there is no evidence? In the real world, such “access” is based on a mechanism. Network access leaves a trail. Physical access really leaves a trail. The onus is on you to answer the questions you ask.

@Bell9

… the obvious (non-partisan) question should be:
” if there was genuine fraud & malfeasance in any Presidential election process — how would that be evident to general observers and the public ??

The same way it has been made evident in other, genuinely fraudulent elections around the world. Go ahead a do a deep dive on that; there are some videos of hilariously bad attempts to cover up election tampering. When you’re done, come back and let us know what similar evidence you have for claims regarding the US elections.

@Winter

If you claim THIS election was “stolen” with no evidence, how about earlier election victories?

Baseless claims of fraud could be made against the loser just as easily as the winner. And Republicans did pretty well in the non-Presidential races, so any intellectually honest conspiracy theorist should be asking themselves how that’s possible.

stine November 23, 2020 11:09 AM

Would it also be true if the statement was changed from “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” to “there is no evidence that any voting system ADDED, deleted, CREATED or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised IN ITS DESIGN OR EXECUTION.”

Dee November 23, 2020 11:20 AM

@Impossibly Stupid

Nice and appropriate handle ! Congratulations, you tick all the boxes.

  • Starting with calls for censorship and repression of opinions you don’t agree with.
  • Selectively answering the points you think you can, while conveniently ignoring the others, like since when is an affidavit not legal evidence ?
  • Claimn “critical thinking” while doing nothing else than unquestioningly parrotting the party line.

isp November 23, 2020 11:31 AM

This is also where information security people could provide real value:

“Do a paper ballot, Let the ballots be counted manually on level of polling places by committees staffed with people from all parties and other citizens. Report it through similar district and state level committees to a top authority. Make all numbers public. In case of any problems recount the paper ballots.”

bcs November 23, 2020 11:31 AM

@Dee: A quick scan of your link and all I’m seeing is non-technological interference. My reading is that Mr. Schneier’s comments are speaking strictly about technological interference: hacking the machines, editing databases, etc.

All types of interference are important, but being able to categorically exclude some types is still useful for choosing priorities.

kiwano November 23, 2020 11:31 AM

@Quidnam

In answer to your question about what evidence of vote-tampering could be presented, this is one of the reasons paper ballots are so important. When people enter their choice on a paper ballot, and mechanization/automation is only used to assist in counting the paper ballots, then evidence would take the form of significant discrepancies between the count reported by the machines, and a manual count of the same ballots. Several states and polling stations have manually counted ballots that were also machine counted, and no significant discrepancies have been found to date.

In the case of machines where the vote is entered on the machine itself, and a receipt/ballot is produced which is then deposited in a ballot box to allow recounts, there are two approaches to vote tampering, each of which produces its own evidence.
The first approach is that the machine reports a count that is different from what the voters entered, but still provides each voter with a receipt/ballot that matches that voter’s intentions. Evidence of this first approach is the same as evidence of tampering in a scanning/counting system: significant discrepancies between the count reported by the machines, and the manual recount.

The second approach is that the machine changes the voter’s choice both in its count, and on the paper ballot/receipt. While not everyone can be expected to carefully check their ballot/receipt to make sure that it matches their choices, we can expect enough people to perform such checks, that an unusually high number of voters reporting input errors (whether they accuse the machine of changing it, or just figure they hit the wrong button by mistake) would serve as evidence of this sort of tampering. Again, there are no reports of this sort of irregularity (including in the Trump campaign’s numerous legal filings).

This only leaves questions about whether there was manipulation of results in elections that generated no actual paper records. I don’t know that any states are actually conducting elections in this way, but I’ve certainly not heard any news about claims that an election without a paper-trail was having its results disputed, and am assuming that’s because none of the election officials deciding on voting technologies were foolish enough to put themselves in a position where they could be at the middle of a news story like that.

I’d even go so far as to say that an election that doesn’t generate a paper trail at all should probably be taken as evidence of tampering (however speculative or circumstantial) — and even by this generous standard, there is still no evidence of tampering.

I think that regardless of our opinions of Trump as a president or presidential candidate, we should all be able to agree that his campaign has presented a fairly rigorous stress-test to the systems guaranteeing the integrity of American elections, and if commentary on past election years is any indication, a much-needed stress-test.

Fortunately, the systems appear not to have failed, and we now have a better sense of how to ensure election integrity in the future (and more importantly, a better impetus to act on that sense).

jones November 23, 2020 11:33 AM

Don’t feed the trolls!

If somebody values belief above reason, you can’t sway them with arguments.

When you encounter somebody who is delusional, you can no more reason with them about their beliefs than you can reason with a broken leg.

Making a delusional person defend their beliefs can lead to greater entrenchment.

AL November 23, 2020 11:46 AM

There is the old adage about the boy who cried “wolf”. When the same people continue to cry wolf now that cried wolf in the past, I tend to believe that there is no wolf. Now maybe past performance is no predictor of future performance, but that is all we have to go by.

We heard that the popular vote was inflated in 2016, and that went nowhere despite the expenditure of tax payer money on the matter. I think I’ll believe that there was substantial voter fraud in 2020 once I see the proof that Obama’s birth certificate was forged, and he wasn’t eligible to be president. I’m still waiting patiently.

Winter November 23, 2020 12:16 PM

@IS
“so any intellectually honest conspiracy theorist should be asking”

Does such a thing exist? An intellectualy honest conspiracy theorist?

Winter November 23, 2020 12:34 PM

@kiwano
“that his campaign has presented a fairly rigorous stress-test to the systems guaranteeing the integrity of American elections,”

What it primarily showed is that the Republican Party has abandoned Democracy as their political system.

The current world has two major political systems:
One where the people chose their government and one where the government chooses it’s people.

The GOP has decided it wants to switch to the side of Putin and Xi yinping where the rulers decide who are the people whose votes and voices are counted.

David Rudling November 23, 2020 1:25 PM

If a non-US citizen cam make an observation, it is true that absence of evidence of fraud is not synonymous with evidence of absence. But in a distributed counting process of over 153 million voters which has not apparently resulted in a knife edge result, fraud actually reversing the result would have to have been on a scale certainly not undetectable and arguably absurd.

I am fearful of the warning by Voltaire:-

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

MarkH November 23, 2020 1:49 PM

@Quidnam et al:

Yes, we can envision many many ways to attack the election processes in order to distort the vote tallies.

I haven’t been able to think of even one, that isn’t straightforward to detect. If you all think it’s easy to do and get away with it, then by all means tell us how!

Language like “back end tabulation systems” sounds very high-tech. But all they’re doing is addition any fourth grade kid should be able to accomplish. Computers are really good at adding! Many people are good at it too, using only pencil and paper!

If any part of the big abacus is giving wrong answers, this is VERY VERY SIMPLE to detect.

If you don’t believe me, and you’re in the U.S., look the the tallies for your election district. Even better, talk to someone who officiated in your district: those people are your neighbors!

Find the tallies for the other districts in your county. Check the addition. If you’re not good with sums, a spreadsheet will help.

You can repeat this process for county tallies to check the state totals.

Your state Republicans have a very very strong incentive to detect manipulation which might harm their election outcomes. Unless the party officials are very lazy, they’ve already done these checks. If they found any summation error, even very tiny, they would already have made plenty of noise about it.

Likewise, with your state Democrats.

Likewise, with all the other U.S. states.

========================

What many don’t seem to understand, is that the entire universe of modern commerce depends on the ability to count and add, and to do so with reasonable reliability.

These numbers need to be reliable despite inevitable mistakes.

These numbers need to be reliable despite people who will deliberate attempt theft, embezzlement, etc.

For purposes of commerce, many strong systems of auditing and cross-checking, and many kinds of dependable equipment, have been developed to help ensure these desired results.

Audit controls don’t actually make it impossible for bank tellers to steal cash … but they make the fact of such theft infeasible to conceal.

Counting ballots is not rocket science. It is far simpler than many of the commercial processes for which strong audit techniques have long existed, and is watched by many thousands of people alert for incorrect results, an intensity of human supervision usually not affordable for commercial purposes.

The only exception to the foregoing, are electronic-only voting machines, which fortunately remain in only a small number of counties in six states.

People who sincerely care about the integrity of U.S. elections should be delighted by the increased use of mail balloting, because that is an auditable paper system.

James November 23, 2020 1:58 PM

I appreciate Bruce’s insights on most security matters, but I have serious questions about this election.

  • Why did key states suddenly, simultaneously, stop counting votes on election night?
  • Why were there hundreds of thousands of votes in a row for a single candidate?
  • Why were poll watchers denied access?
  • Why were election observers effectively prevented from observing?
  • Why do we see huge negative vote discontinuities in the Edison data stream?
  • Why do we see huge vote “moves” from one candidate to another in the Edison data stream?
  • Why has every discovered and corrected “glitch” only given votes to one party?
  • Why does the count of poll book signatures not match the number of votes cast?
  • How can mass mail-in voting possibly be considered “secure” when you have:
    • No chain of custody for ballots
    • No poll watchers observing the voting
    • No way to prevent “vote buying”
    • No way to confirm who actually voted (who marked the ballot)
    • No way to verify that the ballot inside the envelope corresponds to the signature on the outside
    • In many cases, no signature verification; hence no voter ID

It seems to me that fair, free and transparent elections are a benefit to everyone. I see no reason not to fully investigate and demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that this election was fair. Any suggestion to the contrary would seem suspect to me. If there are no shenanigans, match every signature; hold every ballot up and show observers the vote. Make it obvious who legitimately won.

These same arguments apply no matter which party won and no matter which election we are discussing. If I’m on the losing side, I want to know that I lost fair and square. If I’m on the winning side, I want to prove that I’m the legitimate winner. No one wants a cloud of doubt and suspicion hanging over their term in office.

Winter November 23, 2020 2:10 PM

@MarH
“Counting ballots is not rocket science.”

I am afraid that many people have difficulties with counting and adding. And many people also have trouble comparing magnitudes. How many Americans have problems telling what country is more populous, India or the USA, or even California?

So, yes, understanding how to compare votes to voter rolls is a problem for many.

Impossibly Stupid November 23, 2020 2:11 PM

@Dee

Starting with calls for censorship and repression of opinions you don’t agree with.

I did no such thing. I simply asked for evidence of standing. Without that, nobody knows if you’re an American voter sincerely interested free and fair elections, or a foreign controlled/influenced troll seeking to sow seeds of discord. I link to my own site because I stand behind what I say here. I put very little weight in the opinions of people who don’t do that, whether they agree with me or not.

Selectively answering the points you think you can, while conveniently ignoring the others, like since when is an affidavit not legal evidence ?

Since pretty much forever. Testimony is not evidence. It has its place in a legal proceeding or scientific process, but it is worthless when held up against actual objective evidence. I mean, by your logic, Trump swore the 2016 election was rigged, and he won that election, ergo he’s admitted to election fraud and should have been summarily convicted of that felony. Is that really the point you want to make?

But, no, the onus is not on you or me to address every wild accusation that someone else levels in a discussion. They must at a minimum make a credible claim. That involves a base level of evidence more than someone saying they heard that someone saw something fishy. Again, this has been settled.

Claimn “critical thinking” while doing nothing else than unquestioningly parrotting the party line.

You have that backwards. It is my critical questioning that leads me to the party of reason. Do you not realize that experts actually do a ton of work to reach consensus? It is the wingnuts of the world who simply follow their leader.

To that point, trying not to get overly political on the subject, I do support Trump’s legitimate right to challenge the outcome of the election. But he has not been picking his battles wisely. He could easily have approached this in a way that is respectful of the democratic process. Instead, by not giving us any solid evidence of fraud, he went at it in a manner that reeks of desperation. It taints not only this election, not only future elections, but past elections including his very own.

@jones

If somebody values belief above reason, you can’t sway them with arguments.

Sometimes it’s not about feeding the trolls themselves, but about feeding all the other readers who are reasonable and would just like to see the counterpoint to consider. On the topic of election security, simply asking for objective evidence of election insecurity should not be seen as a high bar to clear.

@Winter

Does such a thing exist? An intellectualy honest conspiracy theorist?

Well, that’s part of the joke! 🙂 For all their anomaly hunting, they seem unable to spot the huge inconsistencies in their own arguments. Motivated reasoning is a hell of a drug.

Winter November 23, 2020 2:17 PM

@James
“but I have serious questions about this election.”

If these are valid legal concerns, why weren’t they made in court?

I suspect because they were neither true nor valid.

Winter November 23, 2020 3:36 PM

@galt
“d here are more than enough evidence to believe massive cheating took place in multiple states. ”

If that had been real, it would have been used in court. As it has not been offered as evidence in court, it is not real.

Elvis lives, evidence is on the internet.

James November 23, 2020 3:38 PM

@Winter

Did I say they were legal questions? No, I did not. I said I had questions.

This is a security blog and Bruce has signed on to two letters saying the election was secure. I believe my questions raise reasonable doubts about that. These issues (and many others) deserve to be addressed and answered. That’s all I’m suggesting.

The fact that so many are so quick to dismiss reasonable questions seems sketchy to me. As I said previously, if I were on the winning side, I’d want to prove that I won. Hold up every ballot, point to the vote and say “see, I told you so!” The fact that one side is adamantly against an audit is suspicious.

@jdgalt1 – thanks for the support.

WmG November 23, 2020 3:44 PM

@Winter
“Elvis lives…” Exactly.

All of those court cases being thrown out, often by Republican judges. Yet in these comments, perhaps in their minds, The Fraud, like immortal Elvis lives.

Galt, above cites Monster Hunter Nation, as though it could be credible??

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 23, 2020 4:21 PM

The link provided by JDGALT is poorly formatted data, it is a raw file not well handled by some browsers I imagine, moderator your attention here might be warranted. And, the web root is similar in content, raw data file formats of a type yet to be determined. But that’s what ya get for hosting from Utah, fromTexas.

Poor form I say. COMMENT ID=359166

Clive Robinson November 23, 2020 4:54 PM

@ Dee,

When “Roscoe B. Davis” say’s

“Now all these so called legal pundits, who some are actual attorneys, saying there is no evidence is 100% crap.”

He is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. That is a factually incorect view point when considered from a multitude of knowledge domains including those of maths, science, medical, philosophical and legal fields.

When he goes on to say,

When a human being swears under oath under the penalty of perjury, either in an affidavit, or in a deposition, pointing out fraud, THAT’S EVIDENCE!”

No it’s not evidence…

All it is, is a document with a signature on it that the person signing acknowledges that there are penalties for “knowingly making fslse statements”. Nothing more, than that, it’s all it is.

To become evidenve it then has to be “tested” by the court for admissability to the court.

The only “legal thing” about it is the signed statment about perjury. So if a court finds the document inadmissable for some reason it can then be used against the person who signed it as evidence in a subsequent trial –or trial within a trial– for perjury.

The point is the “sworn” part of it is the only factual part of it. It’s upto the court to accept the submited document (hint it does not have to), then decide if it is admissable (hint it does not have to), then and only then does the information in the document become of concern to the court.

Again they can reject it as hearsay, or they can decide it has no evidentriary value, or that it is false testimony for many reasons.

There are other hurdles that it has to clear before it becomes of consideration by the court “as evidence in the trial”. Not least of which is what type of evidence it purports to be (witness, expert, etc).

Before that it’s all just a pile of paper as a friend used to say “Fit only for perforation” (as you see on sheets of toilet tissue/paper).

But even if it does become part of the trial it still is not proof of anything, that is for “the tribunal of truth” to decide (ie the jury or magistrate).

That is, what many call evidence is not proof of anything at all, because a witness could have been deceived in many ways quite unkowingly. LEO’s can be quite good at changing peoples perception, and the mind can play tricks ask any stage magician or confidence trickster about indirection.

Take that “peeking into envelopes” and the witness assumption that followed it. It’s not proof of anything, it’s just a personal observation that the person then makes an assumption by cognative bias, most likely after the fact, that has in no way been tested, let alone objectively.

I don’t know what sort of LEO the man is/was but he’s not giving me any confidence in his abilities other than as a person inadiquate to the task of misdirection of others in a public forum.

Do not let your own emmotions get involved, consider objectively, otherwise you are just going to invest in what will hurt you for a long time to come.

MarkH November 23, 2020 5:21 PM

@James:

In my experience, most people who say they have serious questions have one of two mutually conflicting intentions:

A, they are dishonestly asking very unserious questions in order to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt; or

B, they sincerely want to discover truth.

Deceitful FUD questioners don’t want answers at all — revelation of truth would undermine their purpose.

When I honestly have serious questions, I often make a serious effort to seek answers to them, doing my best to maintain intellectual integrity. Part of that is paying attention to my desires: what answers do I want or expect to be true? With this in mind, I conduct my search for answers in directions I hope will counter my biases.

But before starting such a search, I had better examine my predicates. I can save myself time and embarrassment by doing so.

Consider the intriguing question, “why do extraterrestrial beings tangle my shoelaces while I’m sleeping?” Before going too far down the road to investigating that, I’d probably want to check whether extraterrestrial beings are, in fact, doing any such thing.

========================

Let’s consider a concrete example:

Why has every discovered and corrected “glitch” only given votes to one party?

We have undisputed reporting from the state of Georgia, that three groups of uncounted ballots were discovered roughly two weeks after election day, and their tallies were added to the state totals. The net effect was to increase Trump’s vote total by roughly a thousand votes.

Is that consistent with the hypothesis that glitch corrections give votes to only one party?

If not, then the question includes a false predicate and is without meaning.

Some other questions you posted also have predicates which deserve to be verified. Others of them have simple and straightforward answers, which can be find by research, or even by sitting and thinking the problem through.

========================

You also wrote, “one side is adamantly against an audit.” Is that true???

Georgia conducted what will probably be the most thorough audit of the 2020 election. Who adamantly opposed it? The Biden campaign? Democratic party officials? I don’t remember hearing about such opposition.

What “one side” is fighting against, are efforts to delay election processes which are mandated by law to fixed schedules.

To the best of my knowledge, the only election fraud so far discovered which actually could have affected vote totals, are small numbers of people who voted twice.

I’ve read of two cases of people with large quantities of counterfeit ballots, which didn’t reach the election system.

========================

As you mentioned, this is a security blog.

If you’re interested in keeping elections secure from vote tampering, think about how you would shift vote totals by thousands, or tens of thousands — lesser amounts of fraud would have been useless.

Educate yourself about the processes of balloting, ballot collection, counting, and accounting. For each of your proposed attacks, consider the likelihood that they could go undiscovered.

Ignorance is our default condition. Luckily, learning is a powerful medicine to treat our ignorance.

Keep at it, you can learn a lot. Good luck!

Clive Robinson November 23, 2020 6:53 PM

@ Ron Helwig,

I posit that we are now in a transition period, where the old centralized media is dying but fighting to survive, and the new media hasn’t fully evolved. It will likely be a while before this gets settled out.

Funny, but that’s almost exactly what my son said last Friday, when he asked the rhetorical question “Of what use is Fox news, or News International in the modern day” to which I replied “Less than a choclate fireguard”.

As older readers of this blog might remember I pointed out that Rupert Murdoch could never win with “Paywalls” it was a doomed business process as others would publish the news for free or just cut-n-paste it out from behind the firewall…

As it turns out it appears that Rupert Murdoch actually does cut-n-paste, in that he pays people a pitence to cut and paste from open resources to use behind his paywalls…

“Oh how the mighty have fallen” from “King Maker” to being a “bare faced liar” under oath, brought down by the meek yet tenacious.

Clive Robinson November 23, 2020 7:49 PM

@ WmG,

Galt (why is your name so recognizable?),

There have been atleast four “Gault’s” on the blog and none of them were christened with them.

It’s a name from some truly appaling fantasy trying to pass of as science fiction. That basically contains a brain dead manifesto from a woman who lacked any kind of understanding.

In fact even so truely appaling and detached from reality it was, it did not stop the lunitic fringe Republican tea-baggers teaching their children to wave placards and shout meaningless diatribe from “Atlas Shrugged”.

John D. Gault was suppodadly the hero of the story, but an impartial observer reading the story would realise that it was a reflection of the author and that they were a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies and no sense of morals with respect to society,

https://www.salon.com/2015/10/14/libertarian_superstar_ayn_rand_defended_genocide_of_savage_native_americans/

Oh and don’t look up any of her stuff on Wikipedia, it’s known that “jimbo” the “great white whale” keenly fantasies about her and her extreme beliefs…

V November 23, 2020 8:48 PM

@bcs asks

I’d be interested in peoples opinions of touch screen voting machines that then prints out a human readable paper ballot to be submitted in the traditional way? Basically a machine that fills in a paper ballot for the voter. This retains the transparency and verifiability of hand filled paper ballots wile providing the possibility of reducing the rates of ballots being voided due to illegible or incorrect usage.

In my opinion (my opinion plus $5.00 will buy you a cuppa fu-fu coffee at starbucks) ballot marking devices are a solution in search of a problem: they are ex$pen$ive machines designed to replace a clipboard, a piece of paper, and a pencil. They may prevent some marking too many or not enough bubbles, or marking your ballot in a way that’s ambiguous, but the vast majority of voters are capable of marking their ballots properly. They reduce the ability to vote for lizard people – hxxps://media.npr.org/news/images/2008/dec/16/lizard_540-32e934d1ac9d71c3e367d04a1d707a2dc087caf8.jpg – I’m not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.

ONE ballot marking device per precinct to assist disabled voters could be a good thing.

These machines exist to turn a profit for the manufacturer. In my opinion election officials who buy ballot marking devices should be sacked – not for election fraud, but for wasting the people’s money.

Fred Carson November 23, 2020 10:08 PM

With all these “security” experts commenting on voter fraud, how many of you have actually worked at a local voting location, the precinct level, or for a county or state board of elections? I have not.

Can you actually describe the processes, controls, technology and people involved in running a local election, much less a state or national election. If you have, then I welcome your comments and opinion.

We all have something to say, but that doesn’t mean you have to say it here, at this time, or that this is even the proper forum for raising your concerns, assuming they are factually validated by evidence.

The 2020 election is over. Lets get back to the security aspects of the technology and let the dust settle for a couple of months.

WmG November 23, 2020 11:14 PM

@Clive Robinson

Ah, yes. A friend used to talk about writing a satire involving a John Fault. Fault appeared heroic and convinces many of the CEO class to go on a sudden strike (but of course they can’t call it a strike— too socialistic) in order to prove how valuable and necessary they are to the world. Fault’s view is that spending a life cheating on taxes, so that roads, bridges, hospitals and education are all run to ruin is good for the executive who gets a big bonus for cutting either the tax bill or the payroll, preferably both.

But things take a surprising turn once the big shot MBA types are gone. Suddenly businesses, previously hobbled by extremely expensive but strangely short-sighted, stupid management save huge amounts of money and begin to invest in furthering their business and the human beings who make it possible to get the job done.

Civilization begins to re-emerge from the wreckage of the past half century.

Winter November 24, 2020 12:26 AM

@Clive
“John D. Gault was suppodadly the hero of the story, but an impartial observer reading the story would realise that it was a reflection of the author and that they were a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies and no sense of morals with respect to society,”

In the end of the story, the “Hero” of Atlas Shrugged manages to kill some hundred million Americans. That is a thousand times more than Trump managed. But then, Trump was not an engineer. Still, anyone who hides behind Ga(u)lt as a pseudonym is someone I know strives to kill of half the US population.

I always wondered why there are Americans who consider someone who kills off half the US population to be an American hero. But now I have seen the responses to the last election on some of the Libertarian sites (not here), I am starting to understand.

Winter November 24, 2020 12:33 AM

@WmG
“Fault appeared heroic and convinces many of the CEO class to go on a sudden strike”

This is not a fantasy, this actually happened with bankers striking in Ireland in 1970. The story is as funny as your fantasy:

h ttps://hbr.org/2010/11/the-irish-banking-crisis-a-par

h ttps://www.independent.ie/business/how-six-month-bank-strike-rocked-the-nation-26130249.html

WmG November 24, 2020 12:36 AM

@Winter
The response to the pandemic disaster makes it rather clear that when the Republicans talk about what they call herd immunity, they are signaling that the goal is “thinning the herd.”

Winter November 24, 2020 1:04 AM

@WmG
“when the Republicans talk about what they call herd immunity, they are signaling that the goal is “thinning the herd.”

That has been clear from the start. Those dying from COVID are predominantly voting Democrat.

It might have cost them the elections as it infuriated a part of the elderly Republican voters who saw their friends and family becoming ill and dying.

WmG November 24, 2020 1:41 AM

That’s how I see things.

Certain oddities remain, e.g. all those down ballot losses by Dems. I just haven’t had time to look into it. Collins of Maine is understandable, her opponent, though pretty good was not good enough. Beginning with the fact that she is originally from Rhode Island. Which in a place like Maine is a real problem.

Clearly, a lot of folks turned out to vote, and that was unusual. And very helpful.

But the abject failure to even lift a finger, other than the middle one was probably greatly detrimental to Trump’s job security.

WmG November 24, 2020 2:17 AM

@Winter
My comment thanking you for the links to the marvelous episode from Irish history vanished into my machine, somehow, so am reposting.

Thank you.

xcv November 24, 2020 2:57 AM

Attorney Sidney Powell has released the kraken as promised, following a U.S. Army raid on Scytl servers in Germany, and Federal Election Commission Chairman Trey Trainor’s reports and affidavits that fraud in fact did take place; and George Soros has been arrested for election interference.

The document originally appeared on a variety of lesser-known Darknet websites, before being shared widely on the open net, and eventually Twitter and Facebook.

The indictment focuses only on the criminal activity Soros allegedly participated in prior to the election, such as wire fraud, identity theft, and damage to computers. None of these claims have been proven in court, and Soros is believed innocent until proven guilty.

Jason November 24, 2020 3:23 AM

Long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

a few Russian registered biz bought facebook ads were labelled as “election tempering”…

may we live in interesting times!

Winter November 24, 2020 4:17 AM

@xcv:
“George Soros has been arrested for election interference.”

Except, he hasn’t:
h ttps://checkyourfact.com/2020/07/07/fact-check-george-soros-custody-crimes-against-america-satire/

h ttps://www.factcheck.org/2020/11/website-concocts-false-story-of-soros-arrest/

Which again shows gullibility and the lack of critical thinking in contributor xcv. Not entirely unexpected from a conspiracy peddler.

Btw, Attorney Sidney Powell was also perpetrating the story that:

On Saturday, Mr Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell promoted a baseless conspiracy alleging that a software company had bribed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, to rig the election against the president. Her comments followed a week of appearances on right-wing networks alleging fraud and a criminal conspiracy, without providing any evidence, while the president’s lawsuits in states where he has challenged elections results have been roundly dismissed.

as well as:

She has claimed that late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez engineered a plot with liberal philanthropist George Soros and the Clinton Foundation to rig the results.

h ttps://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/chris-christie-trump-election-lawsuit-b1759989.html

Winter November 24, 2020 4:21 AM

@xcv
“following a U.S. Army raid on Scytl servers in Germany”

No such thing happened:
h ttps://www.scytl.com/en/fact-checking-regarding-us-elections-debunking-fake-news/

Mostly:
They have no presence in Frankfurt, they do no deliver voting machines to the USA etc.

Winter November 24, 2020 5:36 AM

@xcv
“following a U.S. Army raid on Scytl servers in Germany”

I forgot to ask. Have you realized that WWII has been over for 75 years now and that the US Army stopped doing raids on German soil since then?

If needed, the Germans are perfectly able to deploy any force needed on their soil using only German personnel.

MrC November 24, 2020 7:10 AM

@ Quidnam :

I question your motives posting here and strongly suspect that you’re what MarkH terms a “deceitful FUD questioner.” But since you’ve at least posed an intelligible question, I’ll you give the benefit of the doubt, and an answer.

“What evidence of such things could be presented?”

  1. Statistical evidence. (No, I do not mean Benford’s Law.) You know something is up if the total number of votes in a given district exceeds the (publicly verifiable) number of registered voters, or varies significantly from the number of registered voters multiplied by the election’s overall turnout rate, to an extent that ordinary clerical error cannot explain. Likewise you know something is up if the outcome in a given district varies from its pre-election polling by much more than 2 SD or from the exit polling by much more than 1 SD.
  2. Ex-Conspirator testimony. The ideal election from a conspiracy-resistance perspective involves voting machines that are basically glorified printers producing voter-verifiable paper ballots that can be hand (re)counted by a decentralized workforce of canvassers distributed across thousands of sites, answerable to hundreds of local officials. In such circumstances, attacking the voting or tabulation machines is fruitless for the reasons MarkH explains — voters will notice misprinted votes; canvassers will notice misadded tallies. The only effective way to subvert this system is to suborn all (or, depending on circumstances, nearly all) of the canvassers and election observers at a given tallying site — and to repeat that across enough tallying sites to sway the election. That requires an unrealistic number of conspirators. Large conspiracies are doomed to fail because someone always has a change of heart, or sells the conspiracy out to bail themselves out of unrelated trouble, or gets drunk and blabs, or was a narc or double-agent from the beginning. (Paper on that: ht tps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147905) While U.S. elections don’t always live up to this standard (especially when it comes to voting machines), they’re close enough that a conspiracy big enough to tip the election would be way to large to stay secret.
  3. Eyewitness testimony/smartphone recordings. Not only do large conspiracies involve too many people for them all to stay quiet, they also involve too many people doing too many things in too many places to avoid being stumbled upon by some shmuck with a smartphone camera who was just looking for the bathroom.

xcv November 24, 2020 8:03 AM

@Winter

For one thing, Attorney Sidney Powell is in good standing with the bar.

I forgot to ask. Have you realized that WWII has been over for 75 years now and that the US Army stopped doing raids on German soil since then?

The NSA has maintained listening posts in Germany ever since WWII, and the U.S. Army has had a continuous presence there as well.

Trump has encouraged the Europeans to fund more of their own defense rather than relying on NATO provisions and U.S. assistance.

Winter November 24, 2020 8:13 AM

@xcv
“For one thing, Attorney Sidney Powell is in good standing with the bar.”

Which tells us nothing at all. She can be batshit crazy and still be a good lawyer. Anyone who peddles a conspiracy between Hugo Chavez, Soros and Hilary Clinton has lost it completely.

@xcv
“The NSA has maintained listening posts in Germany ever since WWII, and the U.S. Army has had a continuous presence there as well.”

The moment you write that the US Army performed a raid on German soil we know you have no idea what you are talking about.

Winter November 24, 2020 8:58 AM

@owen
“Zeynep Tufekci has it on the radar:”

She also gives extensive reasons why some politicians are fighting better voting procedures tooth and nail: They win by making voting hard on those who vote for their opponents.

1&1~=Umm November 24, 2020 12:53 PM

@Jason:

“may we live in interesting times!”

That is a Chinese curse, are you saying it was a different color of red that this time that bought…

And so a conspiracy is started, time to throw in,

Careful Big Brother is watching !

Now wait for the boomerang effect to turn into an echo chamber effect 😉

anon November 24, 2020 3:20 PM

@James Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

I hope you will not give up commenting, despite condescending commenters like MarkH.

One thing that we’ve learned in security is that it is not the crypto that fails us, but the human side. We are talking about all kinds of obscure mathematical attacks, but in reality it is human frailty that fails us.

One human weakness is the desire to show off. It is a normal part of our lives and even our mating rituals, but it has, in dark times, been directed against outsiders to prove ones worth to your own group.
Over the last few years, stomping on outsiders to establish oneself in ones group has become pervasive.

In your case, instead of answering your arguments, people take it out on you to show off.
If your comment was dumb, it would have been easily disproven without personal insults.

Sadly, attacking ‘outsiders’ as a way to prove your worth to your tribe is a positive feedback loop. Initially it starts with the weak fringe elements of a group that want to belong, but don’t. So they take it upon themselves to march against the perceived ‘enemy’. Plenty of examples in history, sadly. Eventually, this forces everyone in the tribe become more and more radical, as no one wants to become the new fringe.
It all ends in a race to the bottom of everyone trying to outdo everyone else to gain status. Frequently, this is the end of the tribe, as the reasonable people either become radicalized, get pushed out and become radicalized by the other side, or just do not participate in any discussion anymore. No one wants to be ostracized for voicing an opinion, and people with dissenting opinions will just stop posting. This happened on most forums on either side, and it will probably happen here as well.

The desire to buy favors of your tribe by ostracizing others is exactly the kind of behavior that enabled Trump and that ultimately split the US.

Will the security community be resistant? Can we remain critical, if criticism makes you the target of ostracism?

If we do not address this human security issue, security professionals will turn into nothing more than partisan hacks like Giuliani and Powell.

I don’t think anyone here would want this, so let’s all take a step back and focus on the security issues of the election and how we can improve elections such that the disaster of 2020 never repeats itself.

Voter fraud or not, the election system is not transparent enough. In the absence of any serious security analysis (how can an election as important as this one be carried out without a detailed threat analysis for every imaginable action) I do no think this election is secure. They don’t even have presence logs to disprove claims that poll watchers were not present.
How can this be acceptable from a security point of view?

p.s. For those who might accuse me of being a ‘Trumpist’: The world does not revolve around your imperialistic country. I am not American, I am not in America, and I don’t care who your president is. Whoever will be your next president, I sincerely hope it will work out well for you!

xcv November 24, 2020 3:42 PM

@Winter

The moment you write that the US Army performed a raid on German soil we know you have no idea what you are talking about.

THE MARSHALL REPORT
SIDNEY POWELL’S “KRAKEN” IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM! WE ARE AT WAR!

Certain sectors of Special Forces Operations now report directly to Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller. They are aligned with Trump, the Constitution and the defending of America against its enemies, both foreign and domestic. So don’t panic and fear not. President Trump is in control and the battle lines are drawn. The Kraken has been released and it has everything. Special Forces assets are now being deployed to take down America’s domestic enemies and traitors.

Read full report at this link http://tapnewswire.com/2020/11/intelligence-update-the-great-reset-vs-the-great-awakening-the-grand-battle-taking-place-right-now-for-the-future-of-america-and-the-free-world/

JF November 24, 2020 5:07 PM

@Bell9

“Solemn claims of “no evidence” ring hollow if there is no reliable system mechanism to expose any fraud in elections.
(And there is NO such mechanism in U.S. national elections)”

But there are such mechanisms. Audits of paper ballots in randomly selected precincts would demonstrate whether or not ballots are tabulated correctly. Such audits are routine.

In the case of Georgia and the Presidential race, there was a hand recount of the entirety of the ballots.

Winter November 24, 2020 5:23 PM

@xcv
“THE MARSHALL REPORT”

Still, the USA Army is just as likely to do raids on German soil as it is to do raids on Canadian soil. The US Army doing a raid in Frankfurt is like Canadian or German troops doing raids on New York.

That is just not happening.

And Sidney Powell was fired by Trump’s legal team for being an embarrassment to their legal strategies.

You are not different from the flat earthers. Reality is what you want to see.

MarkH November 24, 2020 5:33 PM

@anon, who proposes an inquiry into:

how we can improve elections such that the disaster of 2020 never repeats itself

To repeat myself, are extraterrestrial beings tangling my shoelaces while I sleep? If not, how can I rationally investigate their intentions?

As far as confirmed public information goes, the 2020 U.S. general election was conducted with very high degrees of accuracy, adherence to law, and a level of openness of which most people can only dream.

Four days were needed to for all of the major news organizations to reach a consensus about who won the presidency, which is longer than the modern average. This was partly due to certain state governments which prohibited the counting of mail-in ballots before election day.

As Clive has observed, it was an impressively successful election considering its stressful circumstances.

If I understand you correctly, commenter anon, when you write “disaster” you are focusing on the millions of persons who are skeptical about the election results. That’s a very serious problem, but I don’t think it’s primarily due to the election process itself.

Rather, the POTUS and an army of his political collaborators spent months abusing their enormous capacity for public messaging to broadcast false claims that the election would be invalid, or after the event that it was invalid.

As you can see from comments in this thread, even with the most perfect election process humanly attainable, millions of Americans would have believed that the election was rigged (if their man lost) because they trust partisan messaging more than objective factual sources.

It might interest some readers of this blog that organizations tracking misinformation — unfortunately, that’s a necessary industry now — determined that about 1/3 of all U.S. Covid disinformation came from a single individual.

It is nearly certain that tens of thousands have already died, who would still be alive had they not placed their trust in that person.

===============================

That many millions who have access to vaccines aren’t using them, because of false claims concerning autism, is a surely a disaster.

Is that a vaccine disaster?

Or a disinformation disaster?

More transparency in the process of developing and certifying vaccines might help, but surely can’t solve the problem.

===============================

I’m very much in favor of learning lessons from every election, and promulgating best practices.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. one major party is in favor of participation and confidence in elections, and the other finds it expedient to discourage voting (at least, by people with low incomes and/or pigmented skin) and sow doubt about the results (at least, when their candidates are losing).

And because the anti-democratic party has power in many states, some of its officials will use their powers to sabotage elections, rather than improve them.

SpaceLifeForm November 24, 2020 6:27 PM

@ JF, ALL

Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence!

Audits of paper ballots in randomly selected precincts would demonstrate whether or not ballots are tabulated correctly. Such audits are routine.

In the case of Georgia and the Presidential race, there was a hand recount of the entirety of the ballots

Only ONE contest was audited.

The QR codes are worthless.

xcv November 24, 2020 7:17 PM

@ Winter • November 24, 2020 8:13 AM

@xcv
“For one thing, Attorney Sidney Powell is in good standing with the bar.”

Which tells us nothing at all. She can be batshit crazy and still be a good lawyer.

If Sidney Powell can be batshit crazy and still a good lawyer, then clearly I can be batshit crazy and capable of handling and storing firearms safely. And since I am not a murderer, I should not be required to bear the mark of Cain on NICS, and forfeit my freedom along with an entire lifetime of earnings and possessions, as well as the right to marry or enter into relationships and friendships of my choosing, on a basis of equal rights, because of the same types of malicious Democrat allegations against my mental health, and related Democratic Party-motivated false accusations.

Not to mention a different attorney, on Trump’s team, has received official protection from the U.S. Marshal Service due to Democrat threats on her health and life.

One of President Trump’s campaign lawyers in Pennsylvania was placed under official protection following threats against her, according to court papers filed Wednesday evening.

Philadelphia lawyer Linda Kerns “has been the subject of threats of harm, to the point at which the involvement of police and US Marshals has been necessary to provide for her safety,” the filing says.

Givon Zirkind November 24, 2020 7:59 PM

I respectfully disagree. Bev Harris, has a website, blackboxvoting.org I do not vouch for her or her sites validity. However, she states that she had access to source code & ran tests. She displays pictures of results. After discussing fractional allocation, she shows tallies that are not equal. I have tried contacting her, without success.

In regards to the Dominion system, I downloaded the docs from the State of Coloroda submitted for the bid. Dominion tried to block publication of those which were made public after a FOIA request. All company individuals & engineers are redacted. I find this very suspicious, in that proposals usual discuss “the team”, the board & engineering leads — with pictures. Why the secrecy?

Without seeing the source code and having a machine to test, given the discrepancies and; overt tampering with paper votes, an inordinate amount of dead voters, ballot harvesting, blocking windows, not allowing for audits, lack of transparency, etc. I can’t possibly accept this vote wasn’t rigged.

In addition, what is being ignored, are all the affidavits of those claiming to be eye-witnesses to the voting machines ability to manipulate votes and tallies. I have downloaded these affidavits from the courthouses official websites. Further, there is the affidavit, albeit redacted, of the former Venezuelan General claiming to have been at the creation of Dominion system. He states it was built to rig elections; was there when it was deployed; and show it in operation manipulating votes. This is serious and; the redaction is just a delaying measure for witness protection. If that isn’t proof, nothing is.

As to why all the offices are Dominion are shuttered and the officers have gone underground, is very suspicious. Further, any statement made now, by Dominion officers, is no different than the cigarette manufacturer executives telling Congress, cigarettes are neither dangerous nor carcinogenic.

There is no proof the elections weren’t rigged? There is no proof that the elections were fair either.

In my experience with investigations, where there is smoke, there is fire. And, there is a lot of smoke here. Personally, I know people who committed heinous crimes (statutory rape, murder and more) who were never arrested (for those crimes) and probably never will be.

Anyone who is a parent knows, you may not have seen who stole the cookie from the cookie jar, but, you know. Ditto teachers and cheating on tests. Ditto cops who don’t have the proof to arrest or; prosecutors the proof to go to trial. Al Capone was a very guilty man who was put away for just tax evasion because they couldn’t “prove” anything else. I maintain these elections are no different. To be clear, these elections were as rigged as Al Capone was guilty but, can’t be proven guilty.

Givon Zirkind November 24, 2020 8:47 PM

https://sputniknews.com/us/202011161081183372-video-us-cyber-security-expert-exposes-flaws-in-pennsylvania-e-voting-systems/

This raises serious security questions.
1. Keys were stolen. What was the remedial measure?
2. What was on the stolen laptop?
3. What were the remedial measures for the stolen laptop?
4. If the Windows 10 system that is connected to the Dominion voting device is not secure, hacking and vote alteration is possible.
5. What kind of encryption is used for the thumb drives? A weak or very strong one?

https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-voting-machine-warehouse-broken-1535630
The government alleges this incident was of no consequence.

As to thumb drives that were “found” during recounts, that begs the question of protocols. Was an inventory of drives taken? What were the inventory procedures? Were drives signed in and out? Was an accounting made for the drives? Apparently, not! What security procedures were in place for transmission/delivery of the drives? How were these drives authenticated? What were backup procedures if the drives were lost in transit?

Givon Zirkind November 24, 2020 9:00 PM

In addition, if anyone audits the source code, before I accept that audit, given the circumstances, I would only accept that audit, if machines are secured now–as in evidence and; the source code given is compiled and matches in size the current object code. Ditto drivers, etc.

Also, there is also the issue about control or tabulating servers outside the US, offshore, in Barcelona Spain & Germany. This hasn’t been denied. How is this legal? Why was it done?

QnJ1Y2U November 25, 2020 12:07 AM

Bruce co-authored an op-ed in the NYTimes on Monday:

“What Makes Trump’s Subversion Efforts So Alarming? His Collaborators”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/23/opinion/trump-republicans-election-2020.html

The comments here have obviously taken a turn into crazytown; I suspect it’ll get be worse if/when he re-posts the op-ed here.

========
This article has a fascinating account of the political machinations and pressures behind the Michigan vote certification process:

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/11/24/michigan-election-trump-voter-fraud-democracy-440475

The piece notes that the delayed start of the counting of absentee ballots left a gap that was easily filled with rumors and conspiracy theories, and that many Rs were more than happy to promote the lies.

Winter November 25, 2020 12:34 AM

@xcv
“If Sidney Powell can be batshit crazy and still a good lawyer, then clearly I can be batshit crazy and capable of handling and storing firearms safely.”

You are trying to change the subject. Your mental health has nothing at all to do with the non-existing events you were posting here as facts. They still never happened.

Whether the US Army raided offices in Frankfurt or not is not related to your mental health. And whatever you say Democrats have supposedly done to you is also not related. These non-existing events still never happened and quite good they never happened because some of them would have been acts of open warfare against a friendly NATO country.

Your diversions convince me that there is indeed no material evidence of massive and decisive election fraud. Which corroborates the fact that Trump’s lawyers never claimed massive fraud in court, as the courts would have punished them for perjury.

@xcv
“Not to mention a different attorney, on Trump’s team, has received official protection from the U.S. Marshal Service due to Democrat threats on her health and life.”

Democrats have received bomb letters from Trump supporters. What is new? If you are a journalist, a feminist, or write your opinion on Facebook or Twitter you get threats against your life.

These threats do not prove anything about the elections except that the situation in the USA is tense.

Winter November 25, 2020 12:44 AM

@Givon
“I respectfully disagree. Bev Harris, has a website, blackboxvoting.org I do not vouch for her or her sites validity. ”

It is the Democrats who have always warned against voting machines. It is the Republicans who want them.

h ttps://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/democratic-senators-warned-of-potential-vote-switching-by-dominion-voting-machines-prior-to-2020-election/ar-BB1aZAYf

The well known Sidney Powell tried to hide this fact by baselessly claiming that Democrats have links to Dominion. No such links exist.

h ttps://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/11/20/fact-check-alleged-dominion-democrats-links-wrong-misleading/6248542002/

Trump and the GOP ignored the voting machines in those states they won:
h ttps://americanindependent.com/trump-campaign-dominion-voting-machines-republican-party/

But Trump’s team distanced themselves from Sidney Powell after she cdlaimed:

And another lawyer for the campaign, Sidney Powell, falsely claimed at a campaign press conference on Thursday that the software used on Dominion machines had been rigged for Biden at the direction of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013. Trump’s team disavowed Powell on Sunday evening.

Note that the 2020 conspiracy was lead by a person who died 3 years before Trump was elected.

Clive Robinson November 25, 2020 2:50 AM

@ Givon Zirkind,

You link to “Sputnik News” which is a direct arm of the Russian Government via “Rossiya Segodnya”[1].

They have a reputation of “grey propaganda” and “using sources that fit their government directed narrative”. They are known for claiming conspiracy theories where ever they can in Western Society.

So have you looked at the story for “hard and verifiable facts” rather than vague statments?

What about checking the background of Ron Watkins? who Sputnik claim is “A US cyber-security expert”.

Is he the same Ron Watkins that many believe is behind the Qanon Q-drops along with his father, and who he has just “ratted out”[2].

I can dig a lot further, but why spoil the fun for others?

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossiya_Segodnya

[2] https://gizmodo.com/wait-did-ron-watkins-just-rat-his-dad-out-as-q-1845683225

Winter November 25, 2020 3:12 AM

@Clive
“So have you looked at the story for “hard and verifiable facts” rather than vague statments?”

You can always hope.

Givon Zirkind November 25, 2020 4:56 AM

@ clive robinson

Personally, I don’t think any news source has real credibility any more. It’s just what you believe. Liraz Margolit has interesting podcasts on fake news, from a psychiatrists point of view. It’s all about belief.

I did look for Ron Watkins on LinkedIn. Didn’t find him. If he believes in QANON, so what? I’m not sure Qanon is so bad, no matter how badly they are painted by the media.

What is absolute in this election is, there was no transparency, as in Philadelphia.

Democratic candidates have complained in the past too. If you can believe anything you read. But, they were small time and lacked the vigor of Trump.

And, an ad hominem attack on Ron Watkins, whoever he is, doesn’t detract from the questions he raises.

Interestingly, in some States, where there is no dispute, the original paper ballots are archived securely.

One very strong question is, with all the controversary, why–I repeat, why–hasn’t Dominion allowed independent assessment and testing of their machines? Better yet, test machines that were used in the election. Black box testing might prove guilt or the absence of guilt. Because the testers don’t know what to look for, or which button to press, doesn’t mean the machine can’t fix the votes. Remember, the allegation is the machines were built to hid the fixing of votes. … Which begs the questions to all 59 signators of the letter, did any of you security experts actually test the system? Look at the files? The encryption? Press some keys like monkeys at a keyboard and see what happens?

MarkH November 25, 2020 4:56 AM

@Clive:

Thanks for your important observation concerning Sputnik News. One of their favorite disinformation tactics is to host supposed experts who (a) are strongly at odds with the consensus of expertise in their field, (b) are not well respected or credentialed, or (c) some combination of the two.

Ironically, in Russia public confidence in institutions tends to run much lower than in the West, to a great extent because of bitter experiences of intense corruption and incompetence.

The greater confidence reposed by the peoples of the Western democracies in their own institutions is a great strength, and the Kremlin has been engaged in a long-term effort to diminish that.

@Givon:

It’s a big mistake to put blind trust in any election equipment, which is why pure-digital voting machines are a horrible idea and mostly phased out.

Aside from the sinister danger of intentional interference, tabulation equipment can malfunction due to a variety of innocent causes.

Fortunately, checking them is perfectly feasible. For example, suppose that ballots are tabulated in batches, for example around 1000 at a time. I estimate that a trio of election workers could hand-count such a batch in two or three hours. If the hand count differs by more than one or two from the initial machine tally, then investigation is indicated.

Doing such checks for only a small percentage of tabulating machines gives a very high probability of detecting any systematic error or bias.

Provided that such sampling is done, the rest of the tabulators can be checked with very much less labor by doing second counts of batches — but swapping each batch to a different tabulator from that used for the first count.

Diligent election officials can do a lot to protect integrity. No high-tech solution is needed, and even if one were in place, how could be certain of its perfection? For a variety of reasons, functional verification can do what no amount of engineering analysis can accomplish.

Simple is Beautiful, both in general and in this context.

=========================

If you live in the U.S., I strongly recommend that you educate yourself about the conduct of elections in your district. Given the enormous attention to the recent general election, they might already have published information about how they ensure integrity.

If you don’t find it by search, then by all means contact the local election entity: as I keep reminding folks, those people are you’re neighbors, not shadowy operatives from Venezuela who were flown in under cover of darkness.

Ask them about their quality process. If it seems inadequate to you, that’s a great opportunity to work toward making future elections more secure.

Winter November 25, 2020 5:11 AM

@Givon
“Personally, I don’t think any news source has real credibility any more.”

Divide and Conquer is the mantra of the Kremlin (and many others).

The Kremlin’s solution of the Censorship Problem has been the disinformation fire hose. They do not silence voices, they drown them out with fake messages and nonsense. And you are one of them, willingly or not.

If you do not trust anyone, you will be dead soon. Humans must trust others to survive.

In the end, those who trust no one are forced to trust the wrong people. So, they do not trust the MSM but they trust unconditionally random strangers on Facebook.

In reality, it is like in your neighborhood. You trust your one neighbor because you know she knows what she is talking about. But you take anything your other neighbor says with a large grain of salt because he will repeat any nonsense he hears.

The same with journalists and news media. Some have an impeccable track record, some are pure fiction, and many are in between.

Winter November 25, 2020 5:32 AM

@Winter (myself)
“The same with journalists and news media. Some have an impeccable track record, some are pure fiction, and many are in between.”

A concrete example:
How well COVID-19 coverage prepared for the actual course of the pandemic

1) NY Times, Washington Post, BBC
Almost perfect coverage. You could hardly have been better prepared about the developments of the pandemic than if you followed these MSM. What they wrote in February and March 2020 was the best that was known at the time.

2) Fox News, Trump
Almost perfect, close to 100%, FAIL. Following Fox News or Trump would have anti-prepared you about how the pandemic developed. They incited you to make the exact wrong choices. With Trump’s bleach use advise as a worst example.

See, it is very easy to decide which news outlet I will trust more in the future.

JF November 25, 2020 8:56 AM

@SpaceLifeForm and also @Bell9

“Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence!”

Gawd, one would think people would make some small effort to ascertain facts before writing. This is how things are done in my state:

hxxps://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/elections/2020/11/14/heres-how-post-election-audits-work-in-florida/

It does say not all states require audits, and I think Florida could up its audit requirements to further increase confidence that irregularities would be caught. And of course, states must use paper ballots to do such audits.

The bigger issues here in the US are the long history of limiting voting rights, gerrymandering, and voter suppression.

Winter November 25, 2020 9:07 AM

@JF
“It does say not all states require audits, and I think Florida could up its audit requirements to further increase confidence that irregularities would be caught. ”

This assumes the winning party in Florida is interested in improved audit requirements.

As you write, the interests seem more in selectively reducing voter turnout.

Chris November 25, 2020 1:37 PM

@Winter

“Intellectual honesty” is a poor standard by which to judge conspiracy theorists; as the sagacious philosopher George Costanza once said, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

“Intellectual rigor” might be better but, QED, your garden variety conspiracy theorist is neither prepared nor willing to apply it.

Clive Robinson November 25, 2020 4:46 PM

@ Chris, Winter,

… your garden variety conspiracy theorist is neither prepared nor willing to apply it.

Or simple logic and fact verification either…

Nearly all of the current fake news can be shown to be questionable with just a couple of Internet searches and a basic knowledge of the legal process.

I know I’ve been accused of “feeding the trolls” but people have to think about the long term. If we do not rebutt fake news as it’s brought up then there is a danger it becomes “the only news” for not just future generations to look back upon but the next election.

There are two types of people involved in fake news, those that create it and those that spread it. We might not be able to stop the former, but we can sure point out the failings of those that spread it.

The sad thing is whilst those who create fake news are usually doining it quite cynically and self-interestedly frequently for money or power either now or in the near future, the spreaders are in many cases emotionaly invested. That is they are for whatvever reason “believers” that are being cynically manipulated. They are overly simplistically like the spouse of a serial cheater believing the “it will never happen again” rhetoric. Many find out about “cheaters” very early on in their teen years learn the lesson and get over it and get on with their lives a little wiser. The problem with serial cheaters are all to often they are also serial abusers and things turn nasty the longer the parasitic relationship continues.

The thing that those who believe in the fake news no matter how ludicrous it is have to realise is not only are they being cynically manipulated they will also be abused.

And we can see the abuse has started by the fake crowdsourcing of funds for court cases. You can guess who’s pockets are being empted and who’s are being filled, it is in fact little more than a “fill yer boots” policy.

The question now is the pocket fillers “exit strategy” thus I would look carefully at any claimed death threats they might receive etc. Did they infact arrange or deliberately encorage or provoke them by inflammatory rhetoric on news oitlets so they could walk away at the court room steps but still get paid?

If I was a judge getting a request to be released from a case, I might just be tempted to test it in various ways. After all the lawyer would be safer in the courthouse jail untill the end of January rather than walking the streets…

SpaceLifeForm November 25, 2020 5:35 PM

@ JF, ALL

Why did you try to pivot from Georgia to Florida?

You just pointed out that audit requirements vary from state to state.

Yet, none are worthy.

If only “randomly selected” contests are to be audited, then who or what is the random?

The only way to trust the counts is full hand recount of paper. Period. Full Stop. ALL Contests, not just one.

If you can not see why this is true, you need to nerd harder.

I can describe to you how easy it is to commit election fraud, but I will not.

xcv November 25, 2020 10:49 PM

@ trsm.mckay • November 25, 2020 7:10 PM

what could you expect from any MSM story

Faux News. Second hand. No link.
Israel preparing for potential US military strike on Iran: Report

Israel Defense Forces have been preparing for the possibility that the U.S. military will strike Iran during the next two months of President Trump’s lame-duck period, Axios reports. …

There is no intelligence that indicates an imminent U.S. strike, but Israeli officials anticipate that the coming weeks will be “a very sensitive period,” according to Axios.

@ Ivan Durakov

software created by Hugo Chavez…

There is that. And Axios (ἄξιος) is Greek, the significance of the Greek being that, well, it’s “not Jewish” — and now I’m suspecting Jewish connections to Dominion Voting Systems Corp. (Canada) as well as Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, S.A., a subsidiary of Service Point Solutions, S.A. (Spain) — the Greek language also suggests the existence of other involved companies that may be incorporated in Cyprus (a Greek-speaking corporation-friendly tax haven district) such as Burisma Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Brociti Investments Limited, both Ukrainian companies being incorporated in Cyprus. — It was the investigation into Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s involvement in Burisma which led to the impeachment scandal early on in Trump’s term.

Winter November 26, 2020 12:26 AM

@xcv
”software created by Hugo Chavez… ”

And NASA was directed by Copernicus to conspire with Werner von Braun to make the people believe the world is a globe so Biden could steal the election from Trump.

But Nostradamus knew it all and warned Trump.

But in the end, the Flat Earthers will prevail and Trump will rule forever.

Elvis lives!

Winter November 26, 2020 3:58 AM

@Givon
“I know people who actually lived through communist Russia, were in Siberia”

As far as I know, we were discussing the 2020 elections in the USA. I do not see how 20th century Soviet Union policies of human rights abuses have anything to do with this subject. Current day, 21st century, policies of the Kremlin are also totally different.

@Givon
“And, no one has responded yet, that I have read, that they actually audited the operation of these machines.”

I do not see why these voting machines are relevant. In in-person voting, where voting and tally machines are most relevant, Trump won. It was the mail-in votes that allowed Democrats to vote en masse and allowed Biden to win. And mail-in votes are on paper and (re-)counted by hand. Trump’s campaign was attacking the paper mail-in votes, not the voting machines, because they know the voting machine results tended to favor Trump.

@Givon
“She says the system does not encrypt its log files and is open to tampering that way.”

As I wrote several times above, Democrats warn against voting machines, and Republicans want them. That is for a reason.

MarkH November 26, 2020 6:17 AM

@Givon, who wrote:

no one has responded yet, that I have read, that they actually audited the operation of these machines

I’m not certain that I understand that statement, but I’ll try to respond to what I think it means.

First, in Georgia, there was a hand recount of the presidential vote tallies for every ballot. This confirmed the machine totals to a very high degree of accuracy. The equipment included the sinister “Dominion” brand; had those machines been miscounting votes for president, the recount would have shown this.

Of course, it’s possible that some malfeasance was committed in other states, while Georgia was free from tampering.

In Pennsylvania — to which you seem to have referred — state law has required post-election audits since 1980. Under that law, a random selection of 2000 ballots or 2% of the total must be hand counted for every item included on the ballot, which I guess to be nearly 100,000 ballots. It’s difficult to conceal a systematic miscount from such an audit.

Pennsylvania is in the process of transitioning to risk-limiting audits, which are more sophisticated in their design, make minimal assumptions of uniformity, and are designed to disclose a wide variety of election system errors (whether intentional or accidental) with 99.9% probability.

Risk-limiting audits were already applied in the Pennsylvania primary earlier in the year, and presumably done more comprehensively this November.

Yes, elections should be audited.

Yes, in at least some jurisdictions, they are.

Yes, these audits are not only capable of catching tabulation system errors — they are specifically designed to.

Lots of things can and do go wrong — for example, in optical scanners, failure of a lamp or blockage of a sensor can cause all or some percentage of votes to be lost for certain ballot items. An important purpose of election audits is to detect tabulation errors, and they are typically designed to do at a high confidence level.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 26, 2020 6:37 AM

@ Givon Zirkind
Firstly, you attention should focus on what has been reported, not just the speculative assertion that is demanded from others. Your assertions require your attestations, not the other way round. For what may be a more specific threat to any issue (prioritizing risk is important part of analysis) regarding election fraud, manipulation, or tampering may I suggest the following source:

https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2019/05/democracys_dilemma.html

Here’s a simple thought experiment, using this website, search using the phrase “voting machine security”. Secondly, after try another search using “voting machine validation”. Thirdly, after having performed some rudimentary research, get back to us all and tell us what you found.

But to really make a deep dive worthwhile, NIST is a resource well suited for your question(s).

And personally, if you want respectful interactions, a bidirectional effort is important.

Winter November 26, 2020 6:41 AM

@MarkH
“Yes, these audits are not only capable of catching tabulation system errors — they are specifically designed to.”

There have been a number of recounts in 2016 after Trump won the elections. These recounts in 5 states are illustrative of the reliability of the system. The recounts did not materially change the outcome.

But it seems Trump et al. are absolutely NOT interested in transparency or voting reliabnility. Trump was vehemently opposed to any recounts:

President-elect Trump and his supporters filed legal motions in all three states to prevent the recounts.

h ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_presidential_election_recount_and_audit

Also:

On November 26, Trump released a statement,[76] speaking out against Stein’s decision, calling the recount a “scam” whose real aim is to fill the Green Party’s coffers, and saying that “the election is over”.

On the other hand, Trump claimed massive voter fraud himself:

Trump also used Twitter to allege that “serious voter fraud” had occurred in California, New Hampshire, and Virginia, and claimed, without citing evidence, that “millions of people” voted illegally. On January 25, 2017, President Trump vowed to start a federal investigation into alleged voter fraud. In June 2019, Trump referenced a settlement that Judicial Watch had recently reached with California “where California admitted to a million votes…there was much illegal voting.” The Judicial Watch settlement actually related to purging 1.5 million inactive individuals from voter registration rolls.

Nothing was heard about this alleged voting fraud later.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 26, 2020 6:50 AM

The site “defendingtherepublic.org” is a Sydney Powell funded web site, it appears to be days old. The registrar’s creation date is 6 NOV 2020. The content of the site belies any notion of a republic, let alone defending it.

Winter November 26, 2020 8:25 AM

@name.witheld
“The site “defendingtherepublic.org” is a Sydney Powell funded web site, it appears to be days old. ”

And now it enters Google search results when Google indexes the comments here.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 26, 2020 10:03 AM

@ Winter
Seem to have touched a nerve, my apologies. It is however consistent with the process of transparency when reporting information and source material. Especially when dealing with others that are attempting to deceive and confuse facts with fiction, and there seems to be a fairly sizable campaign to do just that.

I am surprised how easily and readily people are willing to embrace fascism with respect to something as silly as a political stance based on nothing substantive. How tragic and embarrassing; knowledge combined with wisdom combined with reasonable and sound action results in the forward progression of society–thus witness what is absent when a people are in decline.

I fear not the troll nor the bridge that beds them.

Clive Robinson November 26, 2020 10:21 AM

@ winter, name.withheld…,

And now it enters Google search results when Google indexes the comments here.

As long as those who follow it here find honest reporting that bebunks “fake news” and other dishonest behaviour, then hopefully it will help others who seek the truth not just now but in two, four and other years henceforward.

Winter November 26, 2020 10:44 AM

@name
“Seem to have touched a nerve, my apologies.”

Not you, it was Givon who added the link to this blog. It is a tactic I have seen before.

I agree with Clive. The only thing we can do is supply better information and context.

RealFakeNews November 26, 2020 12:16 PM

The bias of people when discussing this topic just astounds me.

BOTH SIDES should care if there was fraud, no?

If there is NO fraud, then the Democrats should be happy to have any incidents investigated, but the fact they aren’t says a lot on its own.

How Mr. Schneier can say with a straight face that elections are secure, in the face of record postal voting and unsolicited ballots being mailed, is beyond comprehension.

There is a stack of evidence something went very wrong. The fact that you have more postal votes being counted than were sent out is itself, AT THE VERY LEAST, an indication something has gone terribly wrong.

To say it’s secure and accurate? Not a chance!

Since Mr. Schneier revealed his political leanings some time ago, he has started to allow his own opinions taint his reasoning.

It is in EVERYONES interest that these issues are resolved.

IMHO, they should re-hold the election, in-person only, on paper, with ID.

If you don’t like it, you have something to hide.

The UK can do it (sans ID), so why not the US?

Postal votes the world over are wide open to corruption, and it is well-established.

A fact Left-leaning people can’t accept is that the votes are generally fraudulent in their favor.

Just in the UK, most postal fraud is pro-Labour. This is a fact.

It’s bad, as it taints the result REGARDLESS of who wins.

If there is nothing hide, hold a full and open investigation.

If the result is clean, Democrats can be proud they won by such a large margin against the odds in an historic election.

The sad part is: why are they against investigations if there is nothing to hide?

Winter November 26, 2020 12:59 PM

@FakeNews
“How Mr. Schneier can say with a straight face that elections are secure, in the face of record postal voting and unsolicited ballots being mailed, is beyond comprehension.”

Reading comprehension: Mr. Schneider calls for better security during elections. Also, all facts and evidence indicate that the elections were secure and accurate.

So, what is your problem?

Winter November 27, 2020 4:27 AM

@Angela
“When you’re done, come back and let us know what similar evidence you have for claims regarding the US elections.”

Sadly, I think this is not about evidence, but about winning at all costs. If it was about evidence, the case would have been closed very early.

When Hugo Chaves has to be dragged out of his grave as a lead conspirator, 7 years after his death, you know this is not about evidence.

Impossibly Stupid November 27, 2020 4:49 PM

@RealFakeNews

BOTH SIDES should care if there was fraud, no?

Yes, they should, but unfortunately one side has demonstrated they are more interested in holding power than determining an objective truth. If this election was rigged despite all the extra scrutiny, imagine what happened during the election 4 years ago. Trump himself admitted it had been rigged! Anybody who maintains that the 2020 election was fraudulent should necessarily declare that the 2016 election must have been as well, and assert the the Trump presidency itself has been fraudulent.

If there is NO fraud, then the Democrats should be happy to have any incidents investigated, but the fact they aren’t says a lot on its own.

Just like all legal votes must be counted, all credible reports of election fraud must be, too. The problem for Trump (but not Republicans in general, since they did pretty good in their own local elections) is that his team is not putting forward any evidence-based incidents. It’s almost as if they don’t have any real cases of fraud to champion, and that all legal votes are indeed being counted.

How Mr. Schneier can say with a straight face that elections are secure, in the face of record postal voting and unsolicited ballots being mailed, is beyond comprehension.

Sorry to hear about your comprehension issues. I hope you can get help for that under the ACA. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll realize that the burden is on you to support any claims of specific incidences of fraud. Just saying things like “I can imagine ways to break the law” is not the same as actually breaking the law, or even attempting to break the law.

There is a stack of evidence something went very wrong.

No, there isn’t. Let me help you with a debate tip, though: Rather than going for quantity (aka, “see what sticks”), go for quality. Pick the one, single best event that has knock-it-out-of-the-park evidence of fraud and put that forward, agreeing that you’ll completely change your mind if it turns out to be false. Can you do that? If not, then why would you expect anyone to take a stack of even less credible claims seriously?

Since Mr. Schneier revealed his political leanings some time ago, he has started to allow his own opinions taint his reasoning.

As I have noted before, people like you often seem to get this point backwards. Experts don’t let the tail wag the dog. I see no evidence that Bruce has engaged in any motivated reasoning. In fact, as it usually is in these kinds of accusations of conspiracy, he would be an even bigger security superstar if he could find cases of massive fraud that nobody was aware of.

It is in EVERYONES interest that these issues are resolved.

They have been resolved, in that they never existed in the first place. If they did, they existed in the 2016 election. Did Bruce come out with a huge exposé on the massive fraud that got Trump elected? I didn’t see it. It’s almost as if US elections are generally secure, regardless of whether or not the outcome matches your political leaning, and that all attempts to assert otherwise (as your ilk has done) are treasonous attempts to undermine the foundations of democracy.

IMHO, they should re-hold the election, in-person only, on paper, with ID.

If you think that’s a great idea, why don’t you ID yourself here? I want to make sure you’re not committing election commenting fraud.

If you don’t like it, you have something to hide.

Petard, meet hoist.

Postal votes the world over are wide open to corruption, and it is well-established.

It is not. And even to the extent they could be, if you know anything about security, realize that a vulnerability is not an exploit. I mean, yes, someone could hold a gun to your head while you filled out your mail-in ballot. Good luck trying to do that on a massive enough scale to affect the outcome of a US Presidential election without getting caught. Same goes for any mechanism you wish to highlight as flawed; to overturn the election results, you need evidence that it was used to change the outcome in the first place.

It’s bad, as it taints the result REGARDLESS of who wins.

Then say it: The 2016 election of Donald Trump must have been fraudulent.

If the result is clean, Democrats can be proud they won by such a large margin against the odds in an historic election.

They can already say that. Try telling us when Republicans will proudly stop moving the goalposts.

The sad part is: why are they against investigations if there is nothing to hide?

Because they’re a waste of time and effort if they’re a wild goose chase. Make a credible claim backed by solid evidence. Just one is all it would take to get the ball rolling. This endless stream of baseless rumors and innuendo is embarrassing to any rationally thinking Republican. Trump has unquestionably been a master of social engineering, but some things in this world do not easily succumb to the cult of personality.

Clive Robinson November 29, 2020 12:56 AM

@ Givon Zirkind,

This video was made years ago–not during this election. Was up on YouTube for a while. No one objected to it for years.

So what[1]?

That still does not make it proof or even evidence or a hint of a suggestion such techniques were used in 2020, therefore it’s at best supposition more like idle speculation.

The only sensible thing to say about it is how would we mitigate it being used, but nobody is saying that now because it was said long ago and probably likewise mitigated back then or since or has become irrelevant.

As has already been explained, a burglar can force open a window in a house get in and steal items. Most householders know this and thus take appropriate measures.

The fact a house has one or more easily reached windows does not mean it’s been burgled because you say it has or even that it’s been entered that way.

Likewise the fact that you can demonstrate how to climb through a window does not mean that the house has been burgled.

The fact that you, not being a resident or householder of the house, claim there has been a burglary, is not evidence one has been committed.

I just wish people would get this into their heads…

I know people talk of “Means, Motive, and Opportunity” but that is “after the fact” not beforehand, no “act” and MMO is irrelevant. To have standing you have to show that an act was committed or that you have sufficient probative evidence an act was committed not wild gesturing and flights of fancy screamed out in front of a camera. Show me the body with the bullet in it, or blood spatter on the wall, not hold up a picture of what you claim might once in times long past have been a smoking gun.

In short what you think might be evidence is not evidence and it’s certainly not proof a crime has been committed. As a claiment of an act being committed the legal burden of proof falls on you, and the hurdle you have to clear is beyond reasonable doubt, and you are not within a hundred country miles of that. Nor are any other of what are in reality rather pathetic attempts at rabble rousing.

Get out of the chicken coup, and look up, oh surprise surprise the sky has not fallen, nor is it going to based on what chicken little hands and friends are currently claiming.

[1] There are old videos –as in VHS tapes– around of me picking mechanical locks and opening electronic safes as demonstrations of technology failings, that’s not a crime (outside of the moronic US DMCA). There’s even documentary evidence I wrote of how to attack certain UK online services back in the 1980’s none of it is evidence of a crime having been committed.

Blouis79 December 15, 2020 2:22 PM

Unpatched voting computer.
Multiple users using same superuser login.
Antivirus years out of date.
Unencrypted hard drive.
Unsecured boot USB.
Software changed after election.
Live internet connection during counting.
Weighted race vote count turned on.
Huge numbers of adjudicated ballots.
Bulk adjudication permitted.
Tally results less accurate than random numbers.
Adjudication logs deleted.
Security logs deleted.

We have the results of one audit of one county.

Can’t see how any IT professional could even contemplate calling the results legitimate.

Need full forensic audit of all voting machines. And full source code audit.

- December 15, 2020 3:43 PM

@ Blouis79,

You are a deluded person, with vainglorious hopes and tragic emotional needs, who believes a nonsense that not even Trumps closest advisors believe.

He has lost the election, and now has turned to grift to raise a few millions to pay off his debts. Although you can not believe it to be true the rest of the world realises what an embarrassment Trump now is.

The document you think is proof, will not stand up to basic scrutiny, which is why no case will be decided on it.

If you were serious about election machine security the time to have said something was long long before the election, but you did not. But now Trump&Co are grasping for straws you turn up making claims of,

“Can’t see how any IT professional could even contemplate calling the results legitimate.”

What others “can’t see” is how you can do the opposite…

But it does not mater any longer as the decision has been made.

DaveM December 15, 2020 7:24 PM

I’m not an American and have only followed this election from a distance. I have no political axe to grind.

I have read one audit which seems to have been conducted by people who know what they’re doing. Its conclusions were that the 22 machines it examined were not secure, and that election laws were violated.

Are there other audits in the public domain which have examined more machines and systems and shown them to be secure? Or which have found further instances of poor security?

If reaching an evidence based conclusion is a priority, why isn’t more evidence being presented or sought? I don’t understand how anyone can claim widespread fraud OR widespread security without more evidence.

https://www.9and10news.com/content/uploads/2020/12/Antrim_Michigan_Forensics_Report_121320_v2_REDACTED.pdf

MarkH December 15, 2020 8:38 PM

@DaveM:

I gave a quick look at the document you cite, and note the following:

• Its author is the same clown who notoriously confused Michigan with Minnesota, and claimed more than 100% turnout in some Michigan locales because he used the wrong numbers. NOT RESPECTFUL OF FACTS

• The author apparently doesn’t understand the processes he claims to examine. For example, he cites large numbers of adjudicated ballots as evidence of wrongdoing. The way those election systems function, the standard process doesn’t handle mail-in ballots, so every mail-in ballot was necessarily entered as adjudicated. The large numbers were therefore as expected. NOT RESPECTFUL OF FACTS

• It’s very important to distinguish between an election audit and a systems audit. I think it likely that almost every voting machine ever made could be subverted by a person with sufficient access. The finding of apparent or actual vulnerabilities is NOT evidence of tampering.

• The author of that “audit” stated conclusions of malfeasance — intentional/deliberate flaws — by the manufacturer, without presenting evidence to sustain such charges.

He appears to be lazy, sloppy, incompetent and dishonorable.

What the Trumpbots won’t do, is show any example of two or more illegal votes from a common source. If the allegations were true, a total of hundreds of thousands of votes would have to have been added or subtracted across the competitive states. If such tampering was done, where is an example of 1000? 100? Even 10?

xcv February 17, 2021 9:33 AM

The problems with election security are much more severe that the mainstream media are letting on.

Obviously elections themselves are partisan.

Partisan is a codeword for Republican; non-partisan is always a codeword for Democrat.

But the machinery of them should not be.

There’s a Democrat political machine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammany_Hall

And the transparent assessment of potential problems or the assessment of allegations of security failure — even when they could affect the outcome of an election.

The only interpretation of an election “security failure” from the point of view of these software makers and “stakeholders” is a potential failure of the political machine to remain in power, which would be disastrous for the major crime families and mob bosses who rule America.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Families

xcv February 18, 2021 12:06 PM

@Clive Robinson

There have been atleast four “Gault’s” on the blog and none of them were christened with them.

No, it’s “John.” Galt or Gault does not seem to be commonly claimed as a Christian or given name. A real or fictitious family name, as the case may be.

@ Winter

If that had been real, it would have been used in court. As it has not been offered as evidence in court, it is not real.

There’s no evidence the court threw it out with prejudiced and ordered it sealed. We don’t buy your argument there, because there was no argument in court. “They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”

the software used on Dominion machines had been rigged for Biden at the direction of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,

Notwithstanding the fact that Hugo Chávez is dead, his surviving daughters do appear to in control of that same operation, which is still ongoing.

@ Winter • November 24, 2020 12:26 AM

@Clive
“John D. Gault was suppodadly the hero of the story, but an impartial observer reading the story would realise that it was a reflection of the author and that they were a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies and no sense of morals with respect to society,”

Professional dentists, in the everlasting damnation of their souls, pull four wisdom teeth in order to create a society of docile indentured servants in bondage to an entire industry of mental health and other legalities of coercive medicine and involuntary hospitalization.

In the end of the story, the “Hero” of Atlas Shrugged manages to kill some hundred million Americans. That is a thousand times more than Trump managed. But then, Trump was not an engineer. Still, anyone who hides behind Ga(u)lt as a pseudonym is someone I know strives to kill of half the US population.

How much time does it take to accomplish that? The older half of the population — more or less — will be killed off in half the time of the average human life expectancy. Unless you’re talking about killing us off even sooner than that, which I believe certainly is the goal of the modern medical establishment, with their small-town municipal “public health” agenda of universal cicumcision, government-mandated vaccination, and surprise restaurant inspections, and civil commitment for involuntary hospitalization.

I always wondered why there are Americans who consider someone who kills off half the US population to be an American hero. But now I have seen the responses to the last election on some of the Libertarian sites (not here), I am starting to understand.

Most Libertarians have forfeited the principles of freedom and individualism they once stood for. Certain arguments were put forth rhetorically by the Libertarians and Anarchists only to be rejected in favor of an unspoken Marxism with an unwritten but nonetheless absolute heavy-handed dictatorship of the proletariat.

Those people don’t believe in God, because they fear the eternal torment to come upon their damned souls. At the same time, they are so wicked that we have no adequate means of temporal punishment at our hands to restrain them from their evil deeds which must be stopped at all costs …

Clive Robinson February 18, 2021 2:54 PM

@ xcv,

Galt or Gault does not seem to be commonly claimed as a Christian or given name. A real or fictitious family name, as the case may be.

They use it because it was a fictitious character name in a book that was supposed to be “Science Fiction”.

In reality it is a very sad piece of nonsense that has no actual basis in reality raped around half a hundred pages of dreir political manifest from a crack pot, that is lionized by other crackpots of even lower IQ and ability to understand reality.

The reality is it was an attempt to excuse the excesses and stupidity of the “self entitled” who falsely see themselves as “exceptional” which they are not. Unless you count being a mentally handicaped sociopath as being exceptional, which they are not nor ever will be, infact just about the polar opposite of exceptional…

There are very nearly a half million deaths in the USA in this past year due to COVID. Every single one of those deaths without exception are due to the stupidity of politicians listening to the lobbyists of the “self entitled” who consider themselves “exceptional”….

xcv February 18, 2021 4:25 PM

“self entitled” who falsely see themselves as “exceptional” which they are not. Unless you count being a mentally handicaped sociopath as being exceptional, which they are not nor ever will be, infact just about the polar opposite of exceptional

Why are mentally handicapped people treated the same way as convicted felons, dishonorable discharges from the military, and “slugs” who are too slow on the pick-up when ladies are available on the street?

Why the emphasis on whether or not a person has ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution as if that were some kind of bona fide legal process in an actual court of law, rather than the imposition of arbitrary public health measures, by the concerned citizens of a small town junta or lunch mob?

There are very nearly a half million deaths in the USA in this past year due to COVID. Every single one of those deaths without exception are due to the stupidity of politicians listening to the lobbyists of the “self entitled” who consider themselves “exceptional”….

Neither American exceptionalism, nor the Second Amendment, nor even the right to refuse medical treatment, will violated without drastic consequences on the politicians and self-entitled medical professionals who impose unnecessary surgeries, shots, legal proceedings, and drugs on us against our will.

Exceptionalism, in other words, is to be commended. “Self-entitlement” is the real problem.

xcv February 22, 2021 9:19 PM

@Winter

he has NOT been able to present any evidence of fraud, nothing at all. If the PotUS cannot deliver any evidence, there is no case

You know what they say, ignorance is no excuse to break the law or get away with it. That the evidence has not been presented, or rather it has not been acknowledged to have been presented is not to say that there is no evidence, or that the evidence of the said fraud does not exist.

2 Peter 2:21-22
King James Version

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

JG4 February 28, 2021 9:52 PM

Requesting indulgence to engage in a brief self-defense.

In case there was any doubt, the JG in JG4 is an abbreviation for John Galt, a scientist/engineer who withdrew consent to avoid having his work pilfered by collectivists. The transition from 3 to 4 was the step from rabid libertarian to milquetoast libertarian. Ironically, the majority of basic science in the US is government-funded and had been since the war – roughly a dozen years when Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957. Science can be a passable living. The results of science have not been uniformly positive. Leaded gasoline contributed to the crime and violence of the 1970’s, as well as trimming 7 IQ points (temporarily?) off the US population. We are watching the unfolding perfluorodisaster – California will begin regulating PFAS and PFOS imminently. DDT, PCBs, dioxin, endocrine disruption from plasticizers and unbound monomers. In short, Pandora’s Box. These problems and the ineffective responses can be seen as short-comings of capitalism and short-comings of the US political system. Much of it is unintended consequences.

It has been 28 years since I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I have no recollection from the book of John Galt causing a genocide. Nor I am able to find any evidence elsewhere (e.g., Cliff’s notes) of a genocide in the book. The only mass casualties that I recall were a result of misuse of a government-sponsored (sonic) weapon. This appears to be patently false:

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2020/11/more-on-the-security-of-the-2020-us-election.html/#comment-369440

the “Hero” of Atlas Shrugged manages to kill some hundred million Americans. … Still, anyone who hides behind Ga(u)lt as a pseudonym is someone I know strives to kill of half the US population.

Just for the record, I don’t want to kill half of the US population. I would be quite content to see the liars, thieves and murderers burned at the stake. I support the right to withdraw consent, not that it is easy to do. Capitalism has some problems of its own, and is fundamentally at odds with collectivism. I have been staying away from politics and look to first principles as a source of security and to better understand the need for security. I have already said that I have switched affiliation from milquetoast libertarian to compassionate fatalist. “All of the mistakes that can be made will be made.” – with apologies to Murphy.

Atlas Shrugged is a largely aimed at contrasting the results of personal and economic freedom, which are joined at the hip to political freedom, with the results of collectivism. The US produced vastly more wealth than either Russia or China. Perhaps not as much as Sweden and Germany. In time China probably will outproduce the US, but it will be a long time before that occurs on a per capita basis. Fair enough that Ayn Rand over-reacted to the Bolshevik revolution. It must have been traumatic to come of age in an impoverished country. I’m willing to grant her some artistic license to tell a story, and happy to critique the flaws in the book and in collectivism. Communist genocides have killed just about 100 million people in the past 100 years.

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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