Jennifer Cohn @jennycohn1 Election security advocate & writer; attorney; Contributor @WhoWhatWhy, @NYRDaily #HandMarkedPaperBallots #ProtectOurVotes 🆘 May. 02, 2019 6 min read

“The nation's top voting machine maker [ES&S] has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed REMOTE-ACCESS SOFTWARE on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years...” - By @KimZetter, 7/17/18 1/ 

This revelation raises “questions about the security of those systems AND THE INTEGRITY OF ELECTIONS THAT WERE CONDUCTED WITH THEM,” which would include the 2016 presidential election! 2/

“Election-management systems are not the voting terminals that voters use to cast their ballots, but are just as critical: they ... tabulate final results aggregated from voting machines.” 3/

ES&S initially said it had installed remote access software in only a handful of jurisdictions, but later admitted to NPR that the number is closer to 300!!! 4/

5/ More from esteemed cybersecurity journalist @kimzetter.

6/ ES&S won’t identify the 300 jurisdictions, but a 2011 forensic analysis found that an ES&S election system in PA had been "remotely accessed" on "multiple occasions" by an unknown computer. ES&S & the county shut down further analysis. via @TheBradBlog 

7/ ES&S was founded by 2 brothers, one of whom then moved to Diebold where he served as president of the election division. During his tenure at Diebold, Diebold also included remote access software in its central tabulators/election management systems!


9/ ES&S acquired Diebold in 2009. But @SenSchumer asked the DOJ to intervene because the combined company accounted for 70% of US election equipment! 

10/ In a 2010 consent decree, ES&S agreed to sell some of its assets (machines & intellectual property, not apparently the county contracts themselves). A Canadian company, Dominion Voting, arose from obscurity to buy them. Schumer applauded the outcome. 

11/ In 2010, Dominion also acquired Sequoia Voting. via @TheBradBlog 

12/ It is unknown where Dominion got the money to buy Diebold’s assets and to acquire Sequoia.

13/ Sequoia was previously owned by a company called Smartmatic.

14/ Smartmatic is not exactly a stranger to controversy.

15/ When Dominion acquired Sequoia, Sequoia accounted for about 20% of US election equipment. via @TheBradBlog 

16/ According to this Wharton analysis, ES&S currently accounts for 44% of US election equipment and Dominion/Sequoia (plus Diebold intellectual property) about 37%. 

17/ But these numbers may be misleading bc ES&S did NOT sell Diebold’s CONTRACTS to Dominion. I realized this when I learned that ES&S is Georgia’s current vendor, even tho (a) Georgia bought its current equipment from Diebold in 2002; & (b) ES&S sold Diebold assets to Dominion.

18/ In other words, even if Dominion acquired the intellectual property rights to outdated technology, those rights are not nearly as important as the county contracts, which give the vendor ongoing control over elections.

19/ If (as I suspect), ES&S kept most or all of the Diebold contracts, its current control over US elections may still approach 70%, regardless of its sale to Dominion of intellectual property rights to outdated equipment.

20/ In other words, @SenSchumer should have held his applause.

21/ Meanwhile, ES&S has donated $30K to help elect Republicans to state office since 2013. 

22/ And Brian Kemp’s former chief of staff (David Dove) sat on an ES&S advisory board, while a former ES&S lobbyist (Charles Harper) is now Kemp’s current chief of staff. 

23/ As for Dominion, it recently hired a lobbying firm whose members include @SpeakerPelosi’s former chief of staff. 

24/ ES&S & Dominion are both selling dangerous new touchscreens (ballot marking devices) throughout the U.S. that generate machine-marked so-called “paper ballots.” The only part of the printout counted as your vote is a barcode that voters can’t read! 

25/ ES&S & Dominion are also selling dangerous “Hybrid” versions of these already barcode voting systems. (Hybrids combine the ballot marking device & scanner into a single unit.)

26/ In addition to the barcode issue, experts say Hybrids can change paper ballots after they are cast. 

27/ The two most popular (by far) Hybrids on the market today are the ES&S ExpressVote XL and the Dominion Image Cast Evolution (ICE). Call your county election officials, send them the article in post 26, and tell them NOT to buy these systems.

28/ If they have already purchased these systems, tell them to return them, as they are DEFECTIVE! #EXPELtheXL

29/ #ICEtheICE

30/ Tell them also NO to any sort of #BarcodeVoting because humans can’t read barcodes and these vendors are Shady AF.

31/ While you’re at it, ask them if their current election management system includes remote access software because ES&S won’t say where it installed it & Dominion won’t say whether it installed it at all—though the Florida Secretary of State website suggests that Dominion has!

32/ Source re: Dominion Voting and its potential use of remote access software in election management systems. 

33/ Finally, tell them to remove the cellular modems that ES&S installed in ballot scanners (used to count either hand marked or machine-marked paper ballots) in FL, WI, IL, and presumably elsewhere starting in 2015, as these can facilitate hacking too! #RemovetheModems

34/ I discussed those cellular modems and how they can facilitate hacking in my piece for @NYRDaily last year. 

35/ We must take action ourselves because no one is coming to save us. On the contrary, @DHSgov and @CISAKrebs are complicit. 

36/ Isn’t this special?

37/ #ProtectOurVotes

38/ PS. It is the central tabulators in Florida that Russia may have accessed in 2016. Florida uses both ES&S and Dominion equipment. (It varies by county.)

39/ Remember: No one is coming to save us. We must somehow get this done ourselves:

“The DHS hasn't investigated whether voting machines were hacked in November, and says it doesn't intend to.” - 6/30/17 

40/ Remember also that the phrase “paper ballots” no longer suffices because vendors have expanded its traditional meaning to now include machine-marked barcode summary cards from hackable ballot marking devices & Hybrids.

41/ Only #HandMarkedPaperBallots can be trusted, not the machine-marked barcode kind from hackable ballot marking devices and Hybrids!

42/ And if officials insist on using hackable scanners to count those #HandMarkedPaperBallots (rather than counting them manually and in public as most of Western Europe does), we must ensure that ALL remote access software & modems are located & removed before 2020!!

43/ Likewise, if officials insist on using scanners, they must conduct robust manual audits in public for every single race and provide a secure and transparent chain of custody between election night and the audit.

44/ For a case study on what can happen WITHOUT a secure and transparent chain of custody, please read this piece of mine about the corrupted Ohio recount in 2004. 

45/ Even if manual counting is used, transparency (including a transparent chain of custody) is essential. Hand counting paper ballots behind closed doors is NOT a worthy goal. Ideally, they would be hand counted publicly on election night at the polls.

46/ In many places, however, ballots are too long to hand count on election night in which case they would have to be transported somewhere securely by two or more people who would attest in a public document that they never left their sight.

47/ Video surveillance could help maintain transparency as well. The goal is to maintain as much transparency as possible throughout the process because fraud thrives in darkness. #TransparentElections

You can follow @jennycohn1.


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