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Could Hackers Decide The Election By Changing The Voting Results In Ohio?

Could Hackers Decide The Election By Changing The Voting Results In Ohio 450x285 Could Hackers Decide The Election By Changing The Voting Results In Ohio?

Could this be the first presidential election in U.S. history to be decided by hackers?  In recent years, hackers all over the globe have become increasingly sophisticated.  Meanwhile, our computer-based voting systems have repeatedly been shown to be extremely vulnerable.  This is particularly true in the crucial swing state of Ohio.  Several years ago the Ohio Secretary of State actually issued a report which stated that the voting machines used in Ohio are “susceptible to breaches of security that may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process.”  This is very disturbing, especially considering the fact that both the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign pretty much admit that whoever wins Ohio is going to win the election.  The state of Ohio has voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1964, and most analysts agree that the 18 electoral votes from Ohio are almost certainly going to determine the outcome of this election.  So will someone be tempted to tamper with the election results in Ohio?  Sadly, if someone did want to hack the voting results in Ohio it would apparently not be that hard to do.

Back in 2007, a risk assessment study was performed on computer-based voting systems in Ohio.  That study was called “Project Everest“, and it came to some absolutely startling conclusions.  The following is a brief excerpt from that report…

Unfortunately, the findings in this study indicate that the computer-based voting systems in use in Ohio do not meet computer industry security standards and are susceptible to breaches of security that may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process. Such safeguards were neither required by federal regulatory authorities, nor voluntarily applied to their systems by voting machine companies, as these products were certified for use in federal and state elections.

In particular, the study was quite hard on the voting machines produced by a company known as Hart InterCivic.  These voting machines are used in Hamilton County, which is considered to be a crucial section of the state.  George W. Bush won Hamilton County is 2004 and Barack Obama won it in 2008.  According to reporter Ben Swann, there are some legitimate concerns about the security of these machines…

But that short news report doesn’t tell the whole story.  Project Everest found a whole host of security problems with the Hart InterCivic voting machines.  The following are a few quotes about Hart InterCivic voting machines pulled directly from the report

-Compromise of the precinct optical scanner can be “easily gained.” An unauthorized individual with sufficient knowledge could “easily overcome the tamper seals and either modify or replace the operating system files or memory card.”

-The ballot box on the optical scanner was easily unlocked using common lock picking techniques, which would allow unauthorized individuals to access voted ballots.

-The security of the PCMCIA memory cards used to carry the elections data between the precincts and the board of elections is “inadequate.”

-At the board of elections level, both computers used with the Hart voting system were “easily compromised.”

-The Hart system performed “poorly” in the file systems access testing because unauthorized individuals could gain access to the memory cards and “easily tamper” core voting data.

-Hart scored a “zero” on the twelve-step baseline comparison framework – that is, the Hart InterCivic voting system failed to meet any of the twelve basic best practices requirements.

What makes all of this even more alarming is the fact that Hart InterCivic is largely controlled by a private equity firm known as HIG Capital which is run by former colleagues of Mitt Romney.  In fact, a number of HIG executives are reportedly important Romney fundraisers.

A recent article in the Washington Post summarized the connections between Hart InterCivic, HIG Capital and the Romney campaign…

In a nutshell: Three of Hart’s five corporate board members are executives of HIG Capital, a global private-equity firm that made what it called a “significant” investment in Hart last year. Four HIG executives (Tony Tamer, John Bolduc, Douglas Berman and Brian D. Schwartz) have been identified as Romney bundlers by independent watchdog groups such as the Sunlight Foundation.

HIG employees as a whole have donated $338,000 this year to the campaign of the Republican presidential nominee, according to Open Secrets. Three of them (Tamer, Berman and Bolduc) used to work at Bain. Among the investors in HIG is Solamere Capital, a private-equity firm run by Tagg Romney, one of the candidate’s sons.

Of course none of this means that anyone is going to do anything wrong or will even have the opportunity to do anything wrong.

But it definitely does not pass the “smell test”.  Romney fundraisers should not have invested in a company that provides voting machines in Ohio.  If Obama ends up losing Ohio, many Democrats are going to be crying bloody murder about this.

Not that Democrats don’t do a lot of questionable things too.  In fact, some Democrats have already had their hands caught in the cookie jar this election season.

And of course there is the possibility that if election results in Ohio are changed that it may not be either the Republicans or the Democrats doing it.  It could simply be an outside group of hackers that want to alter the outcome of the election for their own purposes.

In fact, computer security experts all over the nation are warning of such a scenario.  Our computer-based voting systems are extremely vulnerable.  The following is from a recent WND article

The result of an election will be changed by hackers, the only question remaining for an online security expert is which election will it be.

“I’m somewhat surprised it hasn’t happened yet,” said Stephen Cobb, a security evangelist for ESET-North America, an IT security company, in a recent article by Dark Reading, a website for security professionals.

Let us hope that the results of this election reflect the will of the American people.  Let us hope that neither hackers nor political operatives are able to monkey with the results.

But we would have to be fools not to recognize that the potential for abuse is certainly there and that our politicians have not sufficiently addressed the vulnerabilities that currently exist.

As I wrote about the other day, there have been a large number of documented voting machine problems in recent years.

We would be foolish to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that these problems don’t matter.  The integrity of our elections is of paramount importance, and our increasing dependence on computers makes our elections more vulnerable to fraud than ever before.

So keep a close eye on the voting results in the swing states.  Hopefully there will not be any issues, but in this day and age you just never know what is going to happen.

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  • Gary2

    We had a county clerk in Waukesa (Walkersha) “Find” thousands of “Lost” votes on a hard drive HOURS after the election was called for the opponent. This then gave the election to the supreme court to David Proceser who also happened to be that clerks old boss.

    I know if this happened in a dem area the repubes would scream bloody murder.

    There is NO possible explanation except fraud.This clerk “found” enough votes for her old boss to win.

    I do not want to hear the right whine about voter fraud on the left when the right is guilty as hell of doing way more fraud. Just look at all the scandles of the last few weeks about the right committing fraud. The right hires known fraudsters and when the fraudsters get caught they pretend to be horrified.

    • Michael

      The Democrats have been caught committing voter fraud already this election cycle, so don’t just pin this on Republicans.

      The truth is that most Americans would be horrified to find out what goes on behind the scenes on both sides.

      Michael

  • Graham

    Gary2:-

    This will be right up your street. Should I congratulate your voting choice now, or wait until the count is complete? You may be home and dry as many have realised what a compulsive liar (narcissist) Romney is. Keep the “Bush” influence out of the White House where possible and positive change will eventually come! The Republican Party is no longer what it used to be. End of. If Obama succeeds, he must turn his Executive powers against the puppet masters… full force.

    This is another election that will likely be down to the electronic voting machines. See if CNN picks up on any unexpected outcome activity, as they did late evening in 2004. Not long after, one of your courts heard testimony from the guy who wrote the “software”. The recorded proceedings used to be on YouTube.

    http://frank-schaeffer.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/obama-will-triumph-so-will-america.html

  • Graham

    GOP Voters:-

    So.. aspects of your party require election fraud in order to gain office? Oh.. just press this button here for Obama and the other candidates “handlers” will be most happy. Not the first time may I add. Those who research things will get to know how many votes were “taken away” from Ron Paul. Investigation ongoing. USA, where are you really at? Be honest. Time to kill off all the illusions of grandeur and rid yourselves of the “shadow criminals” who are clearly running your country?

    Extract:-

    Why is Mitt Romney so confident?

    In states where the winner will be decided by less than 10%, of the vote he already knows he will win. This is no tinfoil hat conspiracy. It’s a maths problem. And mathematics showed changes in actual raw voting data that had no statistical correlation other than programmable computer fraud. This computer fraud resulted in votes being flipped from Democrat to Republican in every federal, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election since 2008 (thus far) and in the 2012 primary contests from other Republicans to Mitt Romney.

    This goes well beyond Romney’s investment control in voting machine maker Hart Intercivic and Diebold’s close ties to George W. Bush. Indeed all five voting machine companies have very strong GOP fundraising ties, yet executives (including the candidate’s son Tagg Romney) insist there is no conflict between massively supporting one party financially whilst controlling the machines that record and count the votes [cont'd].

    http://www.ukprogressive.co.uk/breaking-retired-nsa-analyst-proves-gop-is-stealing-elections/article20598.html

    [Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.]

  • mark

    Are you saying that if someone invests in voting machines, they can’t be involved in the political process? In a capitalist system, someone has to invest in the company.

    • Michael

      It just doesn’t look right. Political operatives from either side should not own a voting machine company.

      Michael

  • Dave Webb

    The problem is that the people responsible for hacking the election have people financing them. Probably people involved with the candidates behind the scenes. I hope it is enough money to hide for the rest of their lives! This is speculation on my part. History tells a story from the last election. It was in northern Ohio at a critical vote. A hacker was suspected.
    Now let us say they succeed. Who is the most vulnerable if they do succeed? What advantage is it to let them stay alive? Dead people tell no tales! If you figure it out, the hackers have very short lifespans after an election. This short lifespan has happened in Ohio before. One suspected hacker died two weeks after the election in a suspicious auto accident! State authorities were about to indict that person when that person died.
    Might be something a hacker should think about before they go ahead and hack an election.

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    I think any person looking at the present situation globally or locally and thinking that the reelection of BHO or the election of Mittens is going to wave a magic wand and save the day has rocks in his head. The only thing the election of Mittens will do is maybe buy us a couple of years. BHO will just make the bad situation worse and the whole thing will crater before 2016. Anybody paying attention knows Europe is on the ropes doing QE out the ying yang. There is no way Greece is going to be at 120 percent of GDP by 2014, Spain, Italy, France, The UK all have debt issues they are ignoring or papering over (The French have Lowered thier retirement age). The Chinese Banks are in trouble the corruption in the Chinese system is so bad none of the people I read and listen to believe the numbers coming out of there. It’s not a matter of if we get part II of 2008 it’s a matter of when. PS BHO wins in the Electoral Collage Mittens wins in the popular vote. Remember where you heard it first.

  • http://www.forexmentorproz.com Forex Mentor Pro

    The truth is whoever wins the election is not going to have a good time. The American economy will struggle regardless as the USD is no longer a strong currency. The only way to get America back up is to allow it to collapse. The rebuilding process has to start somewhere.

    What we can do as individuals is to invest well and protect ourselves from hyperinflation. It is coming soon.

  • Louise in MO

    Outlaw voting by machines. Paper ballots only. Hackers should be prosecuted! What’s the sense of voting when criminals choose the outcome.

    Disgusting!