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Are you worried that hackers can now, or one day, might be able to hack into election results, and even change your vote?

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As long as the vote is electronically administered, hacking is a potential problem. similar to electronic banking and access to government information and services though.

The obvious theoretical solution is a fall-back paper-based or other tangible form-based system that is also quite impractical on a simultaneous basis.

Alternatively, what (or who) people are voting for requires attention: fuller participatory democratic process in all public decision-making (such as stones in the pot in ancient Athens (male citizens only), or are people content with the a regular popular-based signing off on the latest elected non-professional non-expert oligarchy, demagogue, megalomaniac or ineffective pretty face who seem to recur time after time after time? Well, if only 50% of an electorate or fewer actually decide to vote then maybe they get what they deserve.

Hacking elections is a type of cheating in elections that has always been around as long as any democratic process has existed. It is not just the hacking though, with so-called 'fake news' spilling over into social media as well as public and privately-owned news services, the potential of the internet takes it all up to a whole new level.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It will always be a risk. A safer option might be to use the blockchain (the same technology used by bitcoin) to record votes on a public ledger. Much harder to hack.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interesting that you mention that - Qora, another crytpocurrency, can do exactly that, and they use it for their own internal polling: https://opensource.com/life/15/11/open-cryptocurrency-brings-blockchain-people

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Are you worried that hackers can now, or one day, might be able to hack into election results, and even change your vote?

They probably already are. Look at that one ward in Wisconsin that got 880+ votes for Hillary and zero or a few for Trump, a ward in an area that has historically been indicated in voter fraud.

The establishment is disinclined to investigate anything that smells like this. The detective who originally reported the fraud in this area was barred from the case and then retired. The professor Obama put in the charge of the Voter Fraud unit at DOJ is the same guy who says that after exhaustive research they only turned up 35 cases of in-person voter fraud. And at least one of the states in the recent recounts stopped their recount when too many precincts were found with non-compliant tallies. Were they hiding anything by stopping the recount?

And how about the Snopes page that's been touted as desnoping election machine fraud? The seals were broken on an election machine. A careful voter noticed it, photoed it, published the photos. Snopes page said something 'see, these are only warranty stickers and they were worn away not violated.' Anyone could see from the photos snopes posted themselves that yes, they actually were broken (one) or removed (another sticker), not worn away at all. In the second part of the snopes page, an election official claimed a voting machine technician broke warranty seals not election seals. The state should investigate incidents like this and not leave it to local elections officials who might not want any stain on their office.

At the machine level it's evidently not hard at all to gain access to voting machines to experiment with, to gain access to election machine seals and to fake the seals, and (given the skills) to play with the firmware on machines bought on ebay. You'd think it would be counterproductive to risk exposure by hacking in-use election machines but then again recent national elections have been won by hair's-breadth margins so maybe some don't mind the risk.

More worrisome is manipulation of totals at higher levels than voting stations. It seems like it would be in the federal government's interest to set standards for all levels of vote tallying.

A way around the tally fraud problem is to scan all ballots and maintain a digital record of the scan. Some states do this, some states do the scan but by law throw it away (there are special-purpose machines for this). The federal law hasn't been revisited for a while and apparently the 1993 law from when the Dems held both houses and the presidency weakened the existing laws with loopholes, rather than strengthening them. Feds should require the states to beef up enforcement and strengthen state laws and penalize non-compliers with defunding.

One hopes that thorough investigations will be performed now that it's an post-election issue, but one has doubts, too.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It seems like it would be in the federal government's interest to set standards for all levels of vote tallying.

Probably so. But would it be in the people's interest?

Qora, another crytpocurrency, can do exactly that, and they use it for their own internal polling

Yes, there is some really revolutionary stuff going on in currencies, contracts and, as you said, voting. All related to the blockchain. It hasn't yet seeped into public awareness, but the blockchain will change the way the world works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't use computers. Solved.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No, I live in Japan so I don't have a vote

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As long as the voting machines aren't on the internet, I'm not worried.

A few machines may be impacted, but since local govts are in control of the machines and those are physically located near the voters, it would take a huge effort to impact more than local, small, elections. Just too hard to visit all the voting places or even 10% of them, I suspect.

If a govt puts voting onto the Internet - all bets are off. Then hacking can and will occur.

"Hacking" people is easier, it seems. There are classes on social engineering taught around the world, BTW. This is considered part of professional penetration testing skills. https://www.sans.org/course/social-engineering-for-penetration-testers is a class, for example.

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If a govt puts voting onto the Internet - all bets are off. Then hacking can and will occur.

Not necessarily. Look at the cryptocurrency example that Comanteer and I were discussing earlier in the thread. It would be much more secure that any paper or electronic based system currently being used.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm not all that worried about hacking the ballots themselves. 2016 showed us quite clearly that social engineering uninformed and angry voters is just as effective of a way of manipulating the ballot, and doesn't require a crime. All it takes is being willing to repeat a lie over and over again to people who want it to be true.

Moderator: Poor response. This isn't what the question asks you. The first sentence of your answer would have sufficed.

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Yes.

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First of all, I don't have the right to vote here in Japan, but if some hacker managed to rig the election and cause Abe to lose, would that be such a bad thing?

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I'm more worried that public opinion is heavily influenced by media that is state controlled. And I don't mean just in China and North Korea.

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No. I'm not worried at all.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan is still using paper as a medium for voting so no problem here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It would be much more secure that any paper or electronic based system currently being used.

I'm no expert on blockchain technology, but my understanding is that it makes it extremely difficult to modify transactions after they are recorded. But does it not still leave open the possibility of interference at the point of recording and later at the counting stage? The electronic equivalents of ballot papers not finding their way to the counting station and unscrupulous counters placing ballots in the wrong pile. I think one reason many have a preference for paper ballots and manual counting is not that they are fundamentally more secure but because there are many humans involved at all stages, and so the chances of being caught interfering are higher.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does it not still leave open the possibility of interference at the point of recording and later at the counting stage?

At the point of recording - potentially. Man-in-the-middle attacks can be used to catch transmissions between a user's computer and the miner (server) that would receive the vote. However, using SSL aka HTTPS, which is an encrypted protocol, would remove this issue. HTTPS is what banks and any secure network are using.

As the point of counting - no. All votes would be recorded in the blockchain, and the blockchain is accessible to anyone. This is the part that cannot be hacked.

The electronic equivalents of ballot papers not finding their way to the counting station and unscrupulous counters placing ballots in the wrong pile.

What you are talking about is a programming problem known as The Two Generals Problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Generals'_Problem). It basically refers to any situation where you can't know whether there has been an interception or a loss of data in a transfer between to separate points. Bitcoin overcomes this through it's usage of multiple validations for any transaction (in this case a vote) between various servers, and forcing a proof-of-work that takes time to achieve, in order to prevent someone from being able to 'place a ballot in the wrong pile' without being noticed.

I think one reason many have a preference for paper ballots and manual counting is not that they are fundamentally more secure but because there are many humans involved at all stages, and so the chances of being caught interfering are higher.

The chances of being caught interfering are not higher, but people's perceptions are that the chances of getting caught interfering are higher. This will remain for a period of time. But I would be quite surprised if we aren't using the future equivalent of cryptocurrencies to vote in 50 years time from now, as people come to accept it for what it is.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Paper based systems work, and if properly managed have multiple security points. Changing to electronic just because everything digital is the in thing is actually a retrograde step.

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That is why paper ballots are a MUST. No voting machines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are no punishments for the hackers right now

Who would be afraid not to hack

Hack away, hackers; nobody is gonna do anything

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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