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How to Steal an Election – Part 4 – Prevention and Mitigation

How to Steal an Election – Part 4 – Prevention and Mitigation

Now that we have told you the ways the voting system can be attacked, we should probably give you our take on what it will take to defend it and make it secure from the De-, er, I mean, evildoers.

Most security professionals will start with the basics of security coverage. They are

1. Physical

2. Technical

3. Administrative

Think about it. Without a physical barrier, the technical measures are useless and without the administrative process to determine what is an attack or not, the whole system is useless. Technical measures give greater vision into what you are trying to protect and help the administrative side organize, coordinate information and determine threats and responses.  There are a number of different but similar guides to security, but this is the age-old framework from my bad-old days.

The second principle is that security comes in layers. There is no silver bullet that ensures complete security, any single measure can be penetrated by an expert attacker. But if you have three diverse layers of security (perhaps one each of physical, technical and administrative) that each prevent 99% of breaches, then your chances of being breached go to a million to one against.

And for elections, this must be done well. Remember that elections have trillion dollar consequences and countless people have died for American ideals and beliefs, all hinging on the right to vote.

Voter ID  – This is the most obvious. Positive identification of voters, that they are who they say they are, that they are in the right place and that they have only voted once.  I’m not saying that a lot of people are going from polling place to polling place. The point is that it makes it more difficult to fake the verification for the other methods of cheating. Those most effective techniques cannot work with positive voter ID.  And by the way, no reason not to have security cameras around polling places, drop off boxes, etc.

This also means maintaining the voter rolls so that the identities of dead and otherwise departed voters cannot be hijacked en masse. More on this below.

Signature Verification – Signature verification has emerged as one of the giant loopholes in elections that have allowed cheating to occur. In multiple instances, vote counters were NOT ALLOWED to throw out any ballots even when signatures were obviously not the same.   At the very least some rudimentary handwriting analysis should be taught to vote counters. Note that this is not a 100% guarantee, it is merely one of those layers that is 99% effective.

Secure the ballots – Did you know that a $20 bill contains four separate, sophisticated security features?  A $20 bill is almost impossible to counterfeit without very expensive and complex machinery.  Absentee ballots on the other hand are often produced locally, often with standard office equipment. We recommend that they be produced with some of the security features not available to the average cheater. If fraudulent votes are discovered, it makes it much easier to track the fraud back to the sources and the culprit.

If an insider can get more of the exact same ballots from the same source, there is a problem.  But duplicate ballots don’t help if Voter ID is used and the voter rolls are kept clean.

Integrated Auditing / Secure the Chain of Custody for Votes  – Procedures for packing, logging, transporting and accounting for ballots should be implemented along the lines of law enforcement’s chain of custody process.  This must be strictly enforced, all the way from the vendor who prints the ballots to the final storage and/or destruction of completed ballots.

However,  like every other process, an insider can corrupt any process. The chain of custody MUST have the participation of both Democrats and Republicans. Either side should be able to observe and verify proper procedures, and object, audit or halt the process (at least long enough to document, perhaps long enough to investigate)when necessary.

And please, make the auditing process simple such that non-technical citizens can understand. Millions in research has gone into user interface design, it is not rocket science to make detecting a problem really obvious.

Statistical analysis for anomalies – Any time a statistically unlikely event occurs, like say, 300,000 votes coming in all at once at 3 am and favoring a particular candidate, it should be logged and should prompt an immediate bipartisan investigation. this is easy enough, there are plenty of polls out there to guide the statistic. We know that polls are never actually right, but they are usually not that wrong either. Perhaps we can get polls from both sides of the political fence.

Auditing Voter Registration Records – As mentioned above, states have not been good at purging dead, nonexistent or geographically departed people from their voter rolls. Any reluctance to do this is really a support of vote fraud, best I can tell. I can’t think of any other reason to not do it.  This kind of data reduction has been done with numerous government functions, including drivers licenses, it can be made routine. But it must be secure and accurate.

Throwing fraudsters in jail – This is perhaps the most important measure. It is very difficult in this environment to catch vote fraud. When it is caught, or it is found that someone purposely did not follow the rules, they should go to jail. That is what jail is for, to discourage future lawbreaking.

By the way, the Biden Administration’s “Freedom to Vote Act” (just defeated in Congress, so it won’t become law), almost explicitly encourages measures that facilitate cheating and open opportunities by make the process more difficult to secure.

Take a quick look at some of its major features. See if you can match those features to a particular method of cheating (go ahead, its not hard…) and leave them in the comment section below: 

  • Expanded access to early voting
  • Making it illegal to prevent someone from registering to vote.
  • Expansions to same-day voter registration: 56% for, 30% against.
  • Expanded access to mail-in voting: 55% for, 35% against.
  • Allowing felons to vote: 54% for, 32% against.
  • Expansions to automatic voter registration: 51% for, 33% against.

And that completes the four part series. Cheating is easy, securing our voting system is not.  We have a lot of work to do.

Some of the references for this article:

https://www.f5.com/labs/articles/threat-intelligence/three-ways-to-hack-the-u-s–election

Ten ways to make voting machines cheat with plausible deniability

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/2016-elections-russia-hack-how-to-hack-an-election-in-seven-minutes-214144/

https://www.gq.com/story/how-to-hack-an-election

https://theweek.com/articles/810795/how-republicans-cheat

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

https://www.heritage.org/election-integrity/heritage-explains/voter-fraud

https://www.newsmax.com/us/electoral-count-act-poll-voting-reform/2022/01/12/id/1052047/

https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Radicals-Practical-Primer-Realistic/dp/0679721134https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/oct/26/virginia-gop-guarding-unattended-ballot-drop-boxes/

https://www.currexy.com/us-dollar-security-features

About The Author

17 Comments

  1. John Hewett

    All of the author’s solutions to tightening elections are true and should be put in place. I would love to see all voting machines eliminated and to use paper ballots so there is a paper trail that can be followed and that votes can be verified. One of the other things that need to change is who counts the votes. Democrats have been the ones counting votes since the 1980s with no Republicans or any other party counting votes along side them. That needs to change so there in an equal number of counters from both parties.

    • Tom

      I don’t think either party should be able to count votes. 46% of us are independent, non-partisan voters. We need to be the ones counting votes to prevent either side from cheating.

  2. Tom williams

    I reiterate my earlier comments on such things. I think we need a basic change in how the franchise (right to vote) is obtained. I honestly think that the right to vote should not be just given to everyone at a certain age. IT SHOULD BE EARNED!!!!! And of course the next question is HOW? The answer is that it needs to be earned by showing the government or your local fellow citizens that you care enough about what goes on in the legislature, courts, and executive office to GIVE OF YOURSELF a bit. This could easily be done by just about anyone. Serve in the military for two years. Serve in VISTA, Peace Corps, or other Federal agency for a given period of time, likely two years. At the end of successful completion of this service, you receive a voter registration card to use when voting. You serve, and you EARN the right to vote. This way, the voter ID proves the voter is legal and is allowed to participate in the election. Those who choose not to vote will lose no rights or privileges other than the right to vote. Still able to be in government programs for public assistance, retirement savings, medical care, etc. Just not the right to vote.
    WHY should this be so? Simple. Those who will go just this small way toward performing some service for the public good would have what I consider “skin in the game” so to speak, and thus would likely exercise a bit of cogitation about who or what they vote for as opposed to someone who hasn’t shown through such relatively easy service that they are willing to give a little to get something.
    I get a Federal retirement check each month because I worked in Civil Service for 24 years. I get a check from the Air Force Reserve because I invested 10 years active duty and another 10 years of Reserve duty. I get a Social Security allotment each month because I contributed to the system through payroll deductions for 50 years. Yes, I get benefits but I EARNED those benefits through the sweat of my brow and to the benefit of the nation as a whole. So, I treasure my RIGHT to vote because I gave of myself to actually earn the right.
    I might add that I think anyone who is DOING Federal service should NOT yet be allowed to vote until completion of that service (for the short-termers) and not until having served at least five years as a career Civil Servant, or until retirement for military folks. The last is because military, of all personnel should never be allowed to vote for the people who lead them. This has proved over and over through many centuries to be a recipe for disaster.
    I do agree, however, that the only way to cut out the bulk of cheating on elections is to provide Voter ID cards for any eligible person who wishes to vote. Register once, have a photo ID made on the spot, and register the card into a national database. Then, if the voter moves from one district to another their voter registration goes with them. Then, when said voter passes from this world into the next their account in the voter rolls should be deleted and a “thank you” sent to the family for faithful service as a voter.
    Why opposition to a FREE universal voter ID card is high in the Democratic Party? I have my own opinions, and they aren’t anything to do with keeping people from voting. My reasons are to keeping INELIGIBLE people from voting. Such as dead people. In fact, if a nominee dies before the election, that person should not be able to receive votes. Hold off the election for that office until a new candidate is found to replace the dead person.
    And, that’s just the way I see it, Charlie Brown….

    • frank stetson

      Yes, every American should face a little slavery before they get to vote. Or should I say un-American until you face a little slavery to become an American with the right to vote.

      ‘All men are created equal” or at least able to become equal if only they donate some time. Until then, we will call you Almost American or Able to be American.

      15th states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Servitude not needed!

      Think you will need an amendment to pull that one off :>)

      Personally, I would like to see actions that get more people to vote, not less.

      IMO, PC, Internet, double authentication or better, and let’s move on at the speed of light.

      Hey Joe, did you hear about the one where a President signs an EO to create fake electors to overturn the popular vote? Or telling The Big Lie to get people to storm the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power? “it’s gonna be wild, I’ll be right there, feel free to start without me.” Or just call the Georgia Secretary of State and ask for a favor: I need a favor, can you find me 10, 708…..yeah, that’s the number, 10,708 votes please.” Or get the Vice President to decertify the election: “hey Mike, don’t be a pussy, just kill the election or…..well, you know….”

      • Don sellards

        Frank what the hell are you talking about? Does everything have to be about race and slavery? I wonder if you’re black. Sorry dude if you are. You don’t get a do over. So eat your soul food and stfu.

        • frank stetson

          Don is a great example of people who read too quick, respond too fast, and end up looking pretty stupid because of it.

          Not sure why you equate what I said about “slavery” to be about race, much less the Black race. I, equated forced-work-without-pay as slavery. Is that a misspeak? Did I say Black? A bit sensitive aren’t we. Is that personal or a systemic issue for you?

          Then I mentioned the 15th Amendment, which indeed is about race. Yet, my usage was in regards to the word “servitude” which in by itself, does not connote race. More important, the 15th for which you told me to “eat your soul food and stfu,” was written and shepherded through Congress by a Republican Senator from Nevada. So, basically you are saying why do the Republicans have to be about race and slavery; he wonder’s if they are black and would be sorry if they are because they don’t get a do over and should just eat their soul food and stfu. So much for the party of Lincoln.

          I appreciate your passion in your attempt to get me to stfu,. But your implementation was, well, just kinda stupid all around. I know you can do better.

          • tom williams

            Frank, I’m not talking about servitude. Again, with the “slavery” card. What is the matter with making sure that everyone who votes appreciates the privilege? As an example, how would you feel if you were young and entered a foot race in the 100-meter dash and finished fourth out of 50? Would you want to have the gold medal for winning it? I doubt it. You’d likely have some satisfaction from finishing fourth, but the winning medal would lose its appeal because you didn’t EARN it. I would feel the same way. Cheating to win is not cool and I’ve often railed against cheaters. I’ve done the right thing from time to time by disqualifying myself from things because I inadvertently violated the rules. Golf tournament, for instance.
            One of the reasons I think it should be harder to obtain the franchise is what I see during the time leading up to Presidential elections. They interview prospective voters about who they are thinking about voting for. Some of these folks just make me shudder with annoyance because a fair number of them are not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I hear some saying they’d vote for Obama because he was “hip”. Or for Romney because he wasn’t. I saw folks that didn’t seem to have a clue. Some of them couldn’t even look at a picture of Romney or Obama and know who was who. Are these the sort of folks we want to be determining who is leading the nation?
            My own reasons for voting for one candidate or another are often fear of what such a person may do in a crisis. Take the 9/11 crisis. Can you imagine what could have happened if Al Gore had been President? It buggers the imagination. I think he may have apologized to the terrorists for our role in making them angry enough to commit such an atrocity. Yeah, I know there are times when the USA is NOT blameless in things. But, I can’t remember too many times we did such things with true malice.
            I think it’s time to start cleaning up the process. We badly need the voter ID. Make it national with a national database. Make it automatic. Make it FREE! Make it bipartisan to assure that dead people are removed from voter roles. Make it anything, but make it certain that the idea of “one person, one vote” becomes as difficult as possible to violate. I think we need to make it harder to vote and harder to gain the RIGHT to vote than the way we do it now. There’s nothing wrong with “servitude” in this instance. The servitude is voluntary and you lose no other rights if you choose NOT to serve and vote.
            In short, no matter what happens, I’ll continue to vote as long as I can draw breath because we have to have people who give a hoot to continue to do so. I’ll never see any such reforms as I advocate any time in the forseeable future because political inertia is simply too hard to divert. I just hope our nation doesn’t die of the affliction of RIGHTS. Some of these we need to assure are better directed. We simply lack the national will to clean them up.

          • tom williams

            Frank, I didn’t advocate for “servitude” without pay. The military pay scale is very easy to find. When I served in the Air Force, my pay as a senior Captain was equivalent to many in quite responsible civilian professions. So, using such a pay scale for such “servitude” is only logical. I found my military service and Civil Service time to be quite rewarding. If you want a comparison, how about what the Bible or the Koran say about such things? Both religious texts praise those who “give of themselves” for the good of others. Do some small thing which would not be “forced labor” or slavery FOR PAY and be rewarded with the right to vote. Most people may well agree it’s a good idea. By all means I urge YOU to go vote any time there is an election. Exercise your right.

          • frank stetson

            Bottom line Tom: you have an opinion that ties National Service with the Right to Vote. I disagree.

            Interesting when you say: “What is the matter with making sure that everyone who votes appreciates the privilege?” I say: how do you know all voters don’t already appreciate the privilege? If you make them pass a test, work x hours, do they appreciate more or is it a barrier where you are pick winners and losers? One thing is sure: less people will vote.

            The founding fathers restricted votes too, I think we believe they strived for “all men are created equal” above most other values. That should extend to the vote. You tie a citizen’s right to hours-worked. What’s next for the service mandate line: 20 hours to vote, 10 for a driver’s license, 5 hours for Social Security card, 80 for Medicare?

            Why not make Service mandatory to be a citizen, a mandate for all people, for all citizen benefits. That way you get your vote service at close to 100% participation. Without the service, you not only could not vote, but you would lose all Bill of Rights advantages we don’t offer to foreigners today. IE: you are not a citizen; you’re at foreigner status.

            There is nothing in the Constitution that says you must earn the right to vote. After that, you kind of lose me until I got to: “Cheating to win is not cool and I’ve often railed against cheaters.” Did you rally against Trump? For voting, did you find the cheaters in significant numbers, enough to change a federal election? The database from the Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud that clearly says The Big Lie is a lie. Pull 2020 from the database, you will basically find squat convictions. The concept of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election is The Big Lie.

            “Because a fair number of them are not the sharpest knife in the drawer” certainly favors the Democrats…. maybe extend this thought to procreation, clean up the gene pool at the same time. I hear ya brother, America is full of stupid people. Dad used to say: “you can’t fix stupid.” Community service cancels many of them out because they can’t figure it out, but really — an IQ test to vote? Picking more winners and losers?

            “Are these the sort of folks we want to be determining who is leading the nation?” If all men are created equal, do we have a choice? Isn’t any restriction violating a basic premise our country, our documents, our laws are based on? Or are supposed to. Shouldn’t we try to make them smarter versus cancelling their rights as citizens?

            “We badly need the voter ID. Make it national with a national database. Make it automatic. Make it FREE! Make it bipartisan to assure that dead people are removed from voter roles. (sic) Make it anything, but make it certain that the idea of “one person, one vote” becomes as difficult as possible to violate.” Again, there is no visible, verifiable, evidence of massive voter fraud that changed the recent Presidential elections, but sure, why not. As long as everyone can play, easily, without the friction of working hours or passing a test.

            Tom, I have no problem with ID, Federal, automatic, FREE, multi-partisan. Get a cell phone number at birth, put it on a card, and now you have driver’s ID, social security number, voter id, draft card, etc. Stays with you for life unless you get a court-approved number change. As easy to remember as a phone number; facial recognition, 2FA security built-in. One number, your personal telephone number, for all citizen ID’s, for life.

            “I think we need to make it harder to vote and harder to gain the RIGHT to vote than the way we do it now.” That’s un-American in my book.

            “There’s nothing wrong with “servitude” in this instance.” Forcing work to vote is wrong IMO. It’s not voluntary IF you want to vote, it’s a fucking mandate. By design, you will have less voters, not equal, and certainly not more.

          • frank stetson

            Tom, on your second post, if if paid, it’s servitude, slavery, call it what you will. When some of my ancestors came here, they “paid” their way by becoming indentured servants. They got “paid,” but it’s still servitude, this time with slave wages. To become “free,” they worked much more than they were paid, and could not be citizens. Not sure after they earned their freedom that they could be citizens either. “Pay” does not change my opinion, you still pick winners and losers, you still devise a system that guarantees less votes, not more. Therefore, your design changes the outcome.

            Others who came later were naturalized but still couldn’t vote because not natural citizens. A suck State law in that these folks could die in YOUR wars, but they couldn’t vote. And they did. YOUR meaning the US wars, not really their war because THEY were not really full citizens with the right to vote.

            Like I said, make mandatory federal service a mandate for all citizens, for citizenship, and then folks can decide whether it’s better to be a citizen with all the rights from the Bill of Rights, or to be off the grid, basically as a foreign national living in the US. Now it’s not a restriction on voting, but a gateway to citizenship,

            Hey, can we extend this concept in illegal aliens who were either born here, or lived here for xxx number of years? Maybe change the hours worked depending on their “crime?” Like x time for 10 years extemporary living, and 2x for five years of the same? Might be killing multiple birds with one stone.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      You would like Heinlein’s Starship Troopers

  3. frank stetson

    “Democrats have been the ones counting votes since the 1980s with no Republicans or any other party counting votes along side them. ” Really John? Then Republicans in Republican States must be really, really, stupid. Is this all 50 states, all elections?

    You can’t prove this, source it, admit it, you just made it up, right?

    • John Hewett

      Sorry frank, I meant poll watchers. You can look it up. the DNC accused the RNC of voter intimidation in New Jersey in 1981 and a court-ordered consent decree was put in place limiting Republican poll watchers and the input Republicans have in crafting elections rules. The Jimmy Carter appointed judge who oversaw the agreement never let Republicans out of the decree and only strengthened it the way Democrats requested. He died in 2015 and a judge ruled Republicans would be released from the decree at the end of 2018. Again, i meant poll watchers not counters. But there you go, and unfair democrat advantage for almost 40 years.

  4. John Hewett

    Okay frank, I misspoke. I should have said poll watchers instead of vote counters. Following a 1981 gubernatorial election in New Jersey, the DNC accused RNC of voter intimidation and a court-ordered decree was reached limiting Republicans from participating in poll watching assistance and limiting any election litigation into how elections are conducted. The judge that oversaw the decree never released Republicans from it and strengthened it according to Democrat wishes. The judge died in 2015 and the new judge overseeing the decree ruled that Republicans would not have to abide by the decree after 2018. You can look it up and it probably explains why Michigan vote counters covered up windows where people could watch what they were doing. They thought they were living under the old rules still.

    • Larry kuhn

      John you can’t reason with Frank. He’s just another lying prick

  5. John Hewett

    I tried just for you frank. Look up court-ordered consent decree following the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial election where the DNC sued the RNC for voter intimidation. Republicans have lived under those restrictions until the end of 2018 when the decree was lifted. I was talking about poll watchers, not vote counters. My bad. The facts remain and probably explains Michigan vote counters blocked windows from people watching them. They probably thought they were operating under the old rules.

  6. frank stetson

    Gee John, you have a new little guy friend, your new protector, Larry, who apparently knows quite a few pricks. And sound like he lies with a few. Not me Larry, not my cup of tea thank you very much. And, based on the passages, John would be the first one to call me a lying prick. Even anonymously like the brave man you be.

    John, yes, I get it, thanks. However “accused” is a little weak. Dems sued Repubs, and while it didn’t go to verdict, they went to arbitration, and based on the facts, the Republicans SIGNED the consent decree that they agreed was the best solution. They did not have to indicate guilt for voter intimidation and harassment in return. It was court-sanctioned, became court enforced after signature, but was decided by the two parties in arbitration.

    It does not seem that terrible a thing not to have partisan folks, armed, challenging voters that they cherry-picked from old registration lists, blocking and turning away voters, for any election, any party, anytime. But that was then, the decree has expired, and now is now.

    Basically the Republicans created the National Ballot Security Task Force, like today, sounds nice to have ballot security, but in reality was just a voter-restriction process that preyed on minorities and the poor mostly. They had special targets. They started by mailing about 45K letters from an old, out of date, Democratic voter registration list and marked off all the returned letters for challenge because if you move, you should be challenged. On election day, they have signs screaming about the illegality of voter fraud and that BSTF was patrolling. They had their little blue arm bands, many were armed, they were mostly off-duty police, guns showing, radios showing, blue arm bands to indicate they were BSTF. They actively stopped and challenged voters, blocked voter access to the polls for some voters, and they mostly operated in minority neighborhoods. Because the RNC helped, it was Federal.

    I really doubt this had anything to do with Michigan and not wanting people to peak through the windows. There had been a number of threats up there to begin with. Nor do I think this had much to do with voter integrity. This was more about white guys intimidating people of color by acting like a police state at the minority-neighborhood polls. While it may have been 1981, now it can happen quite easily in 2022, depending on State Laws for open and concealed carry, given today’s environment and the remaining polling place protection laws.

    Thanks for the clarification John. And while you did make it up, it looks unintentional to me, and you cleaned it up quite nicely as well. What a funny piece of history, what were they thinking? And why let something like this lapse? Certainly not going to pass a voter’s rights bill anytime soon to replace it.

  1. Frank and Larry, I agree with both of you! Just another trifecta of joy and harmony! I do think Frank…