by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/15/2020 – 23:50
It’s a frightening thing to consider, but the ultimate success of democracy in the United States largely hinges on the integrity of just three voting machine companies, which conduct their affairs with almost no government oversight and regulation. Unless that changes, the greatest democracy will start looking like a banana republic in the eyes of the world.
In January 2020, the CEOs of the three companies that produce over 80 percent of voting machines in the U.S. – Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic – were grilled by members of Congress over the question of security at the ballot box. Perhaps it would surprise exactly nobody that the 90-minute discussion focused almost entirely on the possibility of foreign actors, specifically China and Russia, interfering in the U.S. election system. Within such a predictably narrow frame of reference – Russia! Russia! Russia! – it becomes much easier to eliminate the possibility that domestic actors may also be tempted to tamper with the vote. At the same time, Russia provides the perfect smokescreen in the event someone gets caught with their hand in the election cookie jar. But already I digress.
Currently, Dominion Voting Systems, the supplier of voting machines in 28 states, is coming under fierce scrutiny after it was reported that thousands of votes in one Michigan country intended for Donald Trump went to his challenger, Joe Biden. Officials were quick to point out that the ‘glitch’ was due to silly “human error,” as opposed to any mechanical flaws with the voting machines.
According to Michigan state government website, “[T]he erroneous reporting of unofficial results … was a result of accidental error on the part of the Antrim County Clerk (who) accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.”
While I am no computer specialist, it is hard to imagine how a software update would have done anything to prevent one candidate from receiving the votes intended for another unless it was originally programmed to behave that way. But again, I am no expert.
Another state that relies heavily on Dominion Voting Systems is Georgia, which received 30,000 new voting machines last year – “the largest rollout of elections equipment in U.S. history,” according to the Government Technology newsletter. Following the announcement of the $107 million contract, the same newsletter foretold of problems down the road, saying the “new voting system is expected to be quickly challenged in court by voters who say it remains vulnerable to hacking and tampering, despite the addition of paper ballots.”
Those fears were quickly realized on the morning of Nov. 3, Election Day, when a technological glitch wreaked havoc on voting in two Georgia counties (a side note to this story is that Georgia officials blamed the abrupt pause in vote counting on a burst pipe at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. Thus far, however, officials have not been able to produce any evidence that such an incident took place).
While the source of the ‘glitch’ is still under investigation, one state ballot supervisor, Marcia Ridley, initially told POLITICO on Nov. 3 that Dominion, which prepares the poll books for counties before elections, “uploaded something last night, which is not normal, and it caused a glitch.” That reported incident prevented staff from programming the voter smart cards for the voting machines. Ridley continued, “That is something that they don’t ever do. I’ve never seen them update anything the day before the election.”