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Jennifer Cohn @jennycohn1
, 24 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
During yesterday's House hearing on cybersecurity for voting machines, @RepJohnDuncan, a GOP Representative from Tennessee, called for HAND counted ELECTIONS! I transcribed his testimony. Here it is.THREAD.
1. "I want to go back into this Defcon conference from this past July… This article I have says that participants tested over 25 pieces of equipment and every piece was effectively breached in some manner. …"
2. "By the end of the conference, every piece of equipment in the Voting Village was effectively breached in some manner. Participants with ... only limited tools & resources were quite capable of undermining the confidentiality, integrity & availability of these systems.”
3. After the recent worldwide cyber attacks, Robert Kuttner (editor American Prospect) wrote "The immediate takeaway seems to be that large institutions need much better cyber security systems. But there’s a much simpler & better solution...."
4. Still quoting from Kuttner: "Vital systems that cannot withstand the catastrophic risk of hacking should just go offline. Hackers will always be able to find ways of getting into network systems. The FANTASY of EVER BETTER CYBER SECURITY is DELUSIONAL..."
5. Still quoting from Kuttner: "We could spend half the GDP on network security and someone will still find a way to breach it.”
6. Then Rep. Duncan told the committee: "I know we have addicted almost everyone in this country to the computers and the ipads and so forth. But I tell you I believe that cyber security is a multi-billion dollar hoax...."
7. Rep. Duncan further stated, "And I’m sure what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna spend untold billions trying to come up with these [electronic voting] systems that, as Mr. Kuttner says, it’s is a fantasy. And I think the SOLUTION SHOULD BE THAT WE SHOULD GO to the CANADIAN SYSTEM."
8. Rep. Duncan explained that, "I read several yrs ago that [Canada] had much smaller precincts ... an average of 500 people per precinct [making hand counting viable] & they used paper ballots. And I know that’s old fashioned, but I think we’re headed down the wrong path here."
9. Rep. Duncan concluded that the current path toward more electronic elections is "a path I’m sure we’re gonna go on, but I think that I agree with Mr. Kuttner and also the findings of this Defcon report" that it's the wrong path.
10. He asked if "anybody wanted to say anything," and no one did, except for the Secretary of State from Louisiana who said his state was not one of the states breached by Russia.
11. I find it interesting that @mattblaze (who testified earlier) did not say that there was a way to secure our voting machines. Rather, he and the other witnesses are counting on post-election HAND audits to solve the problem. Matt, please let me know if I'm wrong.
12. Assuming I am not misconstruing @mattblaze's testimony, then doesn't it make sense to address the very real issue of the BROKEN CHAIN OF CUSTODY prior to the HAND audit and/or HAND recount taking place?
13. On a related point, upon questioning, @mattblaze did acknowledge that there is a risk of DOMESTIC hacking as well. But this is a point that should be made forecefully, not as an AFTER thought.
14. By underplaying the real possibility that DOMESTIC partisans might want to alter an election result, we obscure the risk that someone with direct access to the paper ballots and equipment (i.e., DOMESTIC actors) might alter them before any audit or recount can take place.
15. This is why I had hoped @mattblaze would bring up the broken chain of custody between the election itself and any post-election HAND audit or HAND recount. It's a significant problem, as illustrated by what happened in 2004 (See Thread below).
16. It's not enough for us to learn the lessons of the 2016 recount, where we were unable to get HAND recounts due to the absence of laws requiring robust post-election HAND audits after every election.
17. We must reach back and learn the lessons of 2004 as well: where we supposedly got a HAND recount in Ohio, but domestic actors destroyed its integrity due to the broken chain of custody prior to the recount.
18. If we are going to bet our democracy on post-election HAND audits, the process for conducting those HAND audits (from the date of the election through the audit itself) must be carefully scrutinized.
19. So back to Representative Duncan - I am thrilled that he called for HAND counted ELECTIONS. Here is a link to the entire hearing, including his testimony.…
20. But we still have a major job ahead of us. We must force those who believe voting machines can be secured through post-election HAND audits to thoroughly think through the chain of custody problem outlined in this Thread. Personally, I think it's unsolvable.
21. But if @mattblaze or anyone else has ideas for solving the chain of custody problem, please let me know. We cannot responsibly recommend or support the movement toward opscans with post-election HAND audits (rather than HAND counted elections) w/o tackling this issue.
22. If we do eschew HAND counted elections in favor of opscans plus HAND audits/recounts (which I believe is a MISTAKE), the HAND audits and HAND recounts must themselves be bipartisan and public. #DemocracyDiesInDarkness
23. Thank you to @meljbry for alerting me to Rep. Duncan's testimony! By the way, I got his twitter handle wrong. It's @repjohnduncanjr.
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