Hacking Defenses Still Not In Place For Midterms

Politico reports:

States rushing to guard their 2018 elections against hackers may be on a waiting list for up to nine months for the Department of Homeland Security’s most exhaustive security screening, according to government officials familiar with the situation.

That means some states might not get the service until weeks before the November midterms and may remain unaware of flaws that could allow homegrown cyber vandals or foreign intelligence agencies to target voter registration databases and election offices’ computer networks, the officials said. Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states in 2016, according to DHS.

The nine-month wait is “not a good metric” for states hoping to boost their security, admitted Christopher Krebs, one of the DHS officials leading election security efforts. ”We are working to prioritize.”

  • Gustav2

    It is all a hoax. The preznit says so.

    Besides most states, and certainly the Republican controlled states, will not let the Fed “interfere” with their right to run elections.

    • JCF

      “their right to run elections”

      I honestly read that as “ruin elections”.

  • another_steve

    Russian hacking worked so well for Trump in 2016. Why should he prioritize it as an issue?

  • GanymedeRenard

    “Fake news! Fake news!”

  • Ninja0980

    Since it will likely be done to benefit Republicans, why would they do anything to stop this?

    • Karl Dubhe 2

      If the Russians can hack the vote in their (the R’s) favour, they can also hack it in their disfavour.

      Although, the hack itself is enough to discredit one principle of democratic rule.

      Or you could bring back the old system? But you’d have to plan for it about 6 months ago.

  • Boreal

    I’m sure tRump’s people in DHS are working hard on this.


  • DaddyRay

    So much for Trumps Oath of Office to protect the United States

    • -M-

      That ship sank before it could sail.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    Two words, PAPER BALLOTS!!!

    • nocadrummer

      Or at least a paper trail – one that’s NOT destroyed the day after the election.

      • Connie

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      • Audrey

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  • S1AMER

    Here’s the thing: Putin’s primary aim isn’t to help or hurt Donald Trump; not really. What he wants to do is destroy the United States as a power in the world, by first destroying the United States within.

    So, given that Democrats in control of at least one house of Congress would limit Trump, and quite possibly lead to impeachment, isn’t it likely that Putin will be working FOR Democrats next fall?

    • crewman

      That’s an interesting theory, but I think Putin likes Trump in power because he has significant influence (in terms of money and most likely dirt) over Trump. Furthermore, the number of compromised Republicans seems to be very high, at various levels of politics, high and low. There are no doubt compromised Democrats too but not nearly in the same numbers. You have to go further to the fringes to find them, think Jill Stein. The GOP has rank and file that are compromised, and propaganda networks like Fox and peripheries that eagerly participate in spreading Russian propaganda.

      • Friday

        Stein not being a Democrat (or even a real Green) at all, of course. Whatever she thinks she’s gaining for whom, whether she’s duped, or not, she seems to think doing more damage is somehow also in her own best interests.

    • -M-

      Maybe, but not necessarily. I think giving Republicans a free hand does more damage. But you’re right that it’s about maximizing damage and division rather than supporting someone they ‘like’.

    • Friday

      Frankly, they get more damage out of Trump having more power: they do probably, however want as dirty, nasty, and disheartening a *process* as possible, though. They’re getting this by helping the Republicans stir up that authoritarian base and keep them completely detached from reality.

      • lymis

        I agree. At the same time, I’m certain they’re prepared to drop some pretty damning evidence about Trump if they feel the need to.

    • lymis

      It’s not like the Republicans are accomplishing anything that strengthens America with their unified power right now.

      If they could target more specifically, I could see them working to take out the few remaining moderate Republicans. But honestly, at this point, the best bang for their buck would be damaging citizen confidence in the electoral process itself.

  • DaddyRay

    What ever happened to the movement to get states to require the release of tax returns in order to be on the ballot

  • BearEyes


    • GanymedeRenard

      Yet explainable.

      *Edit to add: To benefit Rethuglicans, of course.

  • Joe in PA

    Hmmm, that graphic with this story looks like a Mac Book Pro keyboard…I think Joe Jervis is trolling us with this post. He wants to fire up that Mac vs everybody else thingie. Just saying.

    Kidding, kidding. Sheesh. 🙂

  • FAEN

    Yeah-what could possibly go wrong aside from everything. 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

  • BlackGayVeganAtheist

    Voting by mail is humane and civilized

    I live in Washington, one of three US states (Oregon and Colorado are the others) that does all its voting by mail.

    Here’s how voting went for me. I got my ballot in the mail several weeks before the election. One night the following week, after dinner, my husband and I gathered around the dining room table.

    On one side, we had our ballots. On the other, we had Washington state’s official voter guide, along with several informal voting guides from some of our favorite publications and people.

    We went through the ballot vote by vote —discussing the opposing arguments.

    Overall, it took about an hour. When we were done, we put our ballots in a special envelope, affixed stamps, and dropped them in the mailbox. That’s it.

    We did this at our leisure, not during proscribed hours. We weren’t subject to the vagaries of weather or the idiosyncrasies of polling staff. We didn’t have to show any ID or wait in any lines. We had plenty of time to research and mull over each vote.

    It felt deliberative, civilized, like the way human beings ought to vote.

    Voters remain nervous about security. (Hacking seems incredibly remote, somehow, but the idea of someone coming into their kitchen and forcing them to mark a ballot a particular way, despite being absurd and never actually happening, haunts them.)

    And of course the Republican Party remains staunchly opposed to UVBM, just as Republicans are opposed to all voting reforms that make voting easier or increase turnout.

    • FAEN

      Well that just makes too much sense.

      • BlackGayVeganAtheist

        Also voting by mail would give the “failing” USPS a much needed boost…imagine ALL of the 50 states elections big and small being handled via the mail….

        The Postal Service could both generate revenue and help voter turnout by working with states to promote mail-in voting, says an Aug. 4 USPS inspector general report. Although traditional poll voting is still the most popular method, the report (pdf) says, voting by mail is increasing across broad segments of the American electorate. In the 2014 midterm federal election, 25 percent of voters cast ballots by mail — an increase of 3.5 percent over the 2012 presidential election.

        Every state allows voting by mail via absentee ballot under certain circumstances, IG says. More than half of state allow any registered voter to vote by mail via absentee ballot without an excuse, and Colorado, Oregon and Washington conduct elections entirely by mail.

        The Postal Service could take advantage of this and make some money while doing a good thing.

        Here is the PDF with the plan: https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2015/ms-ar-15-007.pdf

        • Friday

          Especially since there’s Diebold machines in this state I always preferred the mail-in ballots, before they made *that* harder. It was a lot easier to actually check up on all the candidates with the ballot right there, too.

    • Max_1

      Tabulators… Washington State uses tabulators to electronically count results. Opportunities to hack ocure at the programming level.

      Hand count is the answer.

      • BlackGayVeganAtheist

        Hacking might happen as it is the buzzword today and while it is a reality I can only share this information

        In Washington, Wyman said the security measures in election systems did their job, detecting and blocking the attempted hack.

        “Today’s calls from DHS to all 50 states and six U.S. territories confirm what we already knew, that despite the ongoing attempts to compromise American election systems, my office is doing everything we can, utilizing the latest software, best practices and security measures, to keep Washington’s elections safe, reliable and accessible to our citizens,” she said in the statement.

        READ MORE https://www.geekwire.com/2017/russians-unsuccessfully-tried-hack-washington-state-election-systems/

      • Bad Tom

        Hand count 60 million ballots?
        I don’t think so. Not if you want the answer by the next morning.

        The reason punch cards were invented by Hollerith in 1890 was because the 1880 census couldn’t be completed in 10 years. By hand count.

        In 1880 there were 50 million people in the USA.

        • BobSF_94117

          Who needs the answer by the next morning?

          Also, plenty of countries count by hand and DO deliver the results very quickly. Of course, they have better public schools than we do and more adults there can count.

          • Bad Tom

            I invite you to submit a serious proposal to implement manual balloting AND TABULATION across the USA.
            You won’t. Nor will anyone else.

          • Cattleya1

            To paraphrase Joe Stalin – those who cast the votes do not determine the outcome of an election. Those who count the votes do.

          • Bad Tom

            Indeed. That is why a transparent, auditable, uniform balloting system would be so helpful. I do think such a system would require a paper form as foundational elements of transparency and auditability.

            However, the notion that these paper ballots would then be collated and tabulated manually is simply absurd. There is no reason to think that a manual process would be less error prone or easier to audit than a fair machine count. There are good reasons to think the opposite. Indeed ballot box stuffing is a classic way to manipulate an election using just paper ballots.

            People seem to have no practical sense of scale and logistics. Tabulating 50 million census records could not be done manually in less than 10 years in 1880.

            How we could manually tabulate 120 million ballots in much less time today is a mystery to me. They way Hollerith solved this problem was to invent punch cards. The way we solve this problem today is to use computers. I have heard of no credible alternatives.

          • BobSF_94117

            Of course no one will propose it. Too much money to be made otherwise. And no one seems to grasp what peril our country is in.

          • Bad Tom

            What countries? How fast?

            When you say “hand count,” what do you mean?

            The ballots were on paper?
            There was no involvement of computers at any level? (No spreadsheets!)

            Those are two really different things.

          • Bad Tom

            You’re no dummy, Bob.

            Walter Cronkite was wowed by UNIVAC in 1952, when it successfully predicted the Presidential election early in the evening. It was a sensation!

            That’s reality. You’re not going to turn that clock back by saying “who needs it?”


            Instead, we need to adapt. What’s that path going to look like?

        • DesertSun59

          No one HAS to have the tally the next morning.

        • DesertSun59

          It is completely unnecessary to reach into the deep past to make your point. This is an apples and oranges situation we have here today.

          • Bad Tom

            It is the same. The problem Hollerith solved is what people proposing to count ballots manually are claiming they can do.

            Census records are more complex, but a ballot must be completed in far less than 10 years.

            Have you ever designed a successful, deployed, production data system which must process a billion records during a run? I have. It’s HARD.

      • Friday

        You need em machine-tabulated, better to spot-check by hand as much as you can, though. Trying to do a whole state by hand is both very long and then you just have more possibility for human error, or human “error.”

    • DesertSun59

      Voting by mail in Red States is not a good thing. Your ballot may never be tallied.

    • prixator

      Republicans also want to eliminate or, at least, severely diminish the Post Office. They’ll never vote to create more business for them!

  • Treant

    By design. By design.

  • kaydenpat

    The good thing is that we’re talking about this now and have ten months to fix this situation.

    • Jonathan Smith

      the bad thing is, we’ve know about this FOREVER and have never done ANYTHING about it.

    • JCF

      At least we’ll know where to PRIORITIZE poll watching/ballot counting (and by “watching”, I mean ***with Democratic lawyers*** present!)

  • MBear

    Until known security issues are resolved, all elections are travesties.

    • GanymedeRenard

      There’s that… Aaaand the Electoral College as well.

      • Gianni

        The Electoral College needs to be eliminated. Unfortunately, it would take a constitutional amendment to do away with it. It has selected the loser of presidential elections five times since it’s inception, twice in the last sixteen years. It has seen its day and outlived any usefulness it may have had.

        • GanymedeRenard


  • Frostbite

    LOL. The federal government? Have hacking defenses in place? Maybe for the year 1970.

  • GanymedeRenard
  • David Walker

    And the problem with paper ballots is… Any type of machine can be tampered with. And there’s a counting problem inherent with paper ballots, but that’s a local issue. I’m inclined to think that there would be less opportunity for a foreign power to fuck with our actual elections. Disinformation on the innerwebs is another thing altogether.

  • Tread

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

  • Tomcat

    They will implement the safeguards right after they implement the sanctions on Russia that never got implemented.

    • Halou

      There is another deadline in February of next year, the White House is supposed to report to Congress on what impact the sanctions are having, the ones that were to be implemented by October 1st, and proposing any alterations to ensure they are having the maximum intended impact.

      • Gianni

        No problem. The Republican-controlled, ass-kissing Congress won’t waste any time on asking Donnie, why nothing’s been none.

        • Halou

          I guess that’s one way to avoid a constitutional crisis, just have another otherwise unrelated one. Fantastic!

  • Paula

    I think the repubs want us living under a society like the Russians have.
    Government criticism is dealt with severely, keep the population in check thru fear, and fewer rights.
    They can ban anything they don’t like. No Gays, mandatory church attendance and tithing. They can get rid of those pesky equality things in the constitution.

    • JCF

      mandatory church attendance*

      * At churches Rethugs approve of. My Episcopal church? Not so much.

  • Halou

    Of course the American government would move on this at the speed of bureaucracy. Got to get along well with Russia.

  • bkmn
  • James

    Which is why elections should always be conducted on paper.

  • geoffalnutt

    Too little, too late. Vlad has been planning this for a decade (at least). Trump’s with Vlad, anyway. Of course he’s not going to do a thing. No one wants to say it, but this is war.

    • Halou

      Annoying thing is that as Russia was corrupting American politics they were guarding their own institutions from the same kind of assault so there is no chance that the west can return fire once the United States are liberated.
      Short of a conventional war or some other non-conventional retaliation (such as cutting them off from SWIFT, the nuclear bomb of the financial world) the Russians cannot be counteracted as far as I know.

  • lymis

    Want to bet they prioritize Red States, leaving Blue states and the states and districts most likely to flip to the Democrats vulnerable?

  • DesertSun59

    The entire GOP knows that hacking our elections works for them. They have exactly zero incentive to stop it.

    Thus, they are traitors. All of them. Why ALL of them? Because NONE of them have made it a priority to stop it.

    • Halou

      The only ones who have expressed any sort of condemnation of this are the ones who voted through the tax law, their words against Trump are nothing more than a ‘legitimate’ way for them to avoid facing the consequences of their attack against the American middle and lower classes. It’ll be some other Republican dumbass who feels the fallout of both the tax law and the treason.

  • JCF

    I feel reasonably confident that the campaign to “turn Red districts Blue” in CALIFORNIA, will come up w/ an accurate (unhacked) vote. But in Red States? Oy vey…

  • TheManicMechanic

    Repubs want to ensure the Russians can flip more elections to them.