Archive for Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kansas election official says voting systems secure from hackers

August 30, 2016


— The Kansas secretary of state's office said Tuesday it is confident that the state's voter registration rolls and other sensitive election data are secure from potential hacking.

"I feel like we have taken the appropriate security precautions to keep it safe," said Bryan Caskey, director of the elections division in Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office.

Earlier this month, the FBI sent alerts to state election officials throughout the country, advising them that hackers based outside the United States had broken into election databases in two states.

The FBI did not specify which two states had been hacked, but Yahoo News published a story Monday quoting sources familiar with the documents who said the states were Arizona and Illinois.

Caskey said his office received that alert and also took part in a conference call with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss potential security threats.

He said the main area of concern was with voter registration databases, which contain the names, addresses, party affiliations and other personal information of all registered voters in the state.

But Caskey said the Kansas registration database is not connected through the secretary of state's website. And while he said he could not discuss details about how it is maintained, he said he is confident that it cannot be accessed by an outside user through the internet.

For many years, Caskey said, each county in Kansas maintained its own separate voter registration database. It has only been since January 2006 that the state has maintained a central, statewide database.

"During 10 and a half years of that system, we have not had a security failure," Caskey said.


Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

For obvious reasons, I tend to question any statement of alleged fact coming out of Kobach's office.

Bob Summers 1 year, 7 months ago

ergo...this has to irritate people with the condition.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 7 months ago

The condition of "critical thinking skills," yes.

Michael Kort 1 year, 7 months ago

Why is it that Kris Koback being in charge of voting in Kansas is not the least bit reassuring to me ?

Now what could go deliberately wrong with this picture ?

Larry Sturm 1 year, 7 months ago

They don't have to hack Kansas voting Koback will just give it to them upon request.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Russia is the culprit eh ...... I don't believe it for a minute. Russia is easy prey because Russia is constantly being portrayed as the devil. May I suggest the devil is in our own backyard known as the Koch Toxic Political Empire. Russia has nothing to gain there are too many obstacles.

I say the expert hackers are in the USA and they hack Russia frequently under the guise of industrial espionage. Our electronic voting machines can be programmed to vote wrong and print out a receipt looking like the machine voted correctly.

The anti american right wing posing as the GOP and Blue Dog Democrats that which are trying to over throw the USA government, steal social security insurance money, steal medicare insurance money,steal public education dollars, steal our right to vote and keep the war for oil control going have trillions of tax dollars to gain.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 7 months ago

The Russians have plenty to gain if the US weakens NATO support and rolls over about the Ukraine. And Blue Dog Democrats aren't really a thing anymore. They got mostly wiped out in 2010 and were the biggest reason the dems lost the House.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Paperless Electronic Voting

Paperless electronic voting on touch screen machines does not provide confidence to ensure votes are counted the way voters intend.

The software on which votes are counted is protected as a corporate trade secret, and the software is so complex that if malicious code was embedded, no analysis could discover it. Further, because there is no voter verified paper record, it is not possible to audit the electronic vote for accuracy, nor is it possible to conduct an independent recount. This is a grotesquely designed, over-complicated, expensive system fraught with the potential for mistakes and undetected fraud. We should not trust the future of our nation to such malleable technology.

In the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2004, four top computer scientists from the University of California, Johns Hopkins University, and Rice University similarly critiqued Diebold’s voting system:

"We found significant security flaws: voters can trivially cast multiple ballots with no built-in traceability, administrative functions can be performed by regular voters, and the threats posed by insiders such as poll workers, software developers, and janitors is even greater. Based on our analysis of the development environment, including change logs and comments, we believe that an appropriate level of programming discipline for a project such as this was not maintained. In fact, there appears to have been little quality control in the process.

"…The model where individual vendors write proprietary code to run our elections appears to be unreliable, and if we do not change the process of designing our voting systems, we will have no confidence that our election results will reflect the will of the electorate."

Computers are inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. If we are to ensure fair and honest elections, and retain voter confidence in our democratic process, we need to ensure that there are no such questions. Therefore, it is crucial that any computerized voting system provide a voter-verifiable paper audit trail and that random audits of electronic votes be conducted on Election Day. Paperless electronic voting machines make it impossible to safeguard the integrity of our vote - thereby threatening the very foundation of our democracy.

Moreover, the seller of the machines, the Diebold Corporation, is a supplier of money to one of the major party candidates, George W. Bush. The CEO and top officers of Diebold are major contributors to the Bush campaign. A corporation with vested political interests should not have control over the votes of the populace.

Voters using Diebold machines should immediately report any suspected malfunctions or deficiencies at voting precincts to their Board of Elections. Voters should also urge their legislators to require a voter verified paper ballot trail for random audits and independent recounts. Count every vote!

Hal Larsen 1 year, 7 months ago

I would love to see the IT Security audit conducted by the Kansas LPA. I imagine security posture is not public record. Perfect alibi.

Cille King 1 year, 7 months ago

I believe the biggest concern is not with the voter rolls/data base, but rather the possible hacking of the electronic voting machines.

Bob Reinsch 1 year, 7 months ago

The hacker-proof system does not exist. Even if it ever came into being, we'd just create better hackers. Take it from somebody who has been working on computers since the mid-70's.

Beth Ennis 1 year, 7 months ago

which is why we should just use paper and pencil like we used to do. I don't care if it takes longer to count the votes.

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