Russia Isn’t the Only Threat to Our “Voting Infrastructure”

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, stated the obvious during an interview on NPR’s June 7 Morning Edition program. Commenting on the leak of an alleged National Security Agency document indicating that the Russians attempted to hack into state voting systems in the run-up to the 2016 elections, Schiff said, “[I]t looks like to me like that the Russians were, in a sense, preparing the battlefield, that if they wanted to escalate, they were probing our election systems to find out just what they could accomplish. And this, obviously, ought to alarm us in the sense that we need to make sure that our voting infrastructure, which is critical, is well protected.”

Amen. What the past year has revealed is that the most important element of our democracy – our electoral infrastructure – is dangerously vulnerable and that there are foreign entities that are actively seeking to exploit these weaknesses. Even though in Congressman Schiff’s estimation (from his position on the Intelligence Committee) there is “no evidence” that the Russian meddling “in anyway changed the votes” in the 2016 election, we need to move immediately and decisively to fix the problems the Russians exposed.

Schiff was speaking, of course, about the need to safeguard the assortment of computer and software systems used by the myriad election authorities around the country. These inadequately protected systems, as we now know, are vulnerable to attack from foreign governments and sophisticated hackers. But there are other weaknesses – ones Rep. Schiff and the leadership of his party are less eager to fix – that leave our electoral system vulnerable to a less sophisticated form of attack. In most places in this country we have no real controls over who registers to vote, or whether people who cast votes are U.S. citizens.

If a foreign government is willing to invest considerable resources into an effort to hack into electoral computer systems, is it really a stretch to believe that they could use illegally registered voters to stuff ballot boxes or fill out absentee ballots? In fact, it would not even take a foreign government to exploit these vulnerabilities. Foreign non-government entities, or even domestic political activists could exploit our quaint honor-system registration and voting process to swing elections.

Rep. Schiff has far more information about what the Russians have been up to than the rest of us, and we need to take his warnings very seriously. But Rep. Schiff and his Democratic colleagues in Washington and across the country need to acknowledge the opportunities for mischief posed by our 19th century system of registering voters and making sure that all votes are cast honestly. It’s not as sexy as the Russians hacking our computers, and it is bound to upset a few radical civil libertarians, but securing the registration and voting process is no less important to the integrity of our elections.

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Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.

19 Comments

  1. avatar

    Isn’t it funny how people claim that there is no voter fraud, while fighting vigorously to keep anyone from checking for voter fraud?
    I have no idea if “millions of people” voted illegally in November or just thousands, but neither does anyone else. They are describing a “Catch-22” scenario. No evidence exists for OR against “major” voter fraud. There is NO process to validate citizenship for the voter rolls. THAT is the problem. There needs to be a requirement that ALL voters prove their US Citizenship when registering/voting. We have 4 years to make sure that the very few citizens without documentation can be provided with proper ID.

    Texas recently changed its voting ID requirements. You can prove your “citizenship” for voting purposes by checking a box and providing “identification” at the polling station. Among the accepted forms of “identification”: a utility bill, bank statement, government check or work paycheck, etc.
    Please explain how those forms of “identification” prove US citizenship (a requirement for legal voting).
    http://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id.html

    In California you can prove your “citizenship” for voting purposes by checking a box and providing “identification” at the polling station. Among the accepted forms of “identification”: a utility bill, a Health Club (photo) card, a vehicle registration card, etc.
    Please explain how those forms of “identification” prove US citizenship (a requirement for legal voting).
    http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/regulations/hava_id_regs_from_barclays_3_3_06.pdf

    Any vote by a non-Citizen STEALS a vote from a US Citizen.
    If people want to PROTECT the voting rights of US citizens, then they should be making sure that every potential voter has the legal right to vote.

  2. avatar

    It’s a safe bet that Mexico interferes in our elections through its activities here, but there doesn’t seem to be much concern from our corrupt rulers in Washington about it. Gee, I wonder why?

  3. avatar

    Many Americans Had Never Voted for a RNC/DNC President Before Trump [I Voted Nader in 2008]

    Why bother they thought, the Candidates are all for amnesty and an open borders hand picked puppet anyway.

  4. avatar

    A lot of people, and the media, want to forget that the Michigan presidential vote recount paid for by third party candidate Jill Stein was shut down halfway through because many precincts in Detroit showed more votes cast than the number of people who were recorded as voting that day. And a lot want to portray all these fraudulent and non citizen votes in places like Virginia as small and inconsequential. But some states are lost by very narrow margins. In 2000, the state of Florida, third largest in population and with a fairly strict voter ID standard, was awarded to Bush with a margin of a little over 500 votes.

    The national media, of course, is never going to carry stories like non citizens voting in Virginia, because they are biased. When Trump pulled us out of the Paris climate accord, which was just another financial giveaway to the rest of the world by Obama, the media made a hero out of Germany’s Angela Merkel for insisting they would stay. They conveniently forgot that just a couple years ago, Volkswagen was caught rigging the pollution tests on their cars, and they were actually producing much more pollution than allowed.

    • avatar

      That is the democratic way…and petitioned by the people…the reason the green party withdrew is not because of you fantasies and fake news, but because the only person that can request that is Hillary Clinton, and she did not pursue it. The mistake of one corporation has nothing to do with the integrity of one country.

      Rep Schiff is being cautious…..the Russians did not attempt to intervene, they hacked it……for instance I got emails from Trumps son while in the election something never ever happened before…..I found that intrusive….later a couple of months ago, Trump sending emails to ask for money…saying this is what we have done today, we achieve this…next like a vagabond……..donate money…..very insulting….. a pitiful behavior…..I thought he was a billionaire….but I guess now we know his ways….

      IT is simple we do it the way the Germans do it…..BY HAND and identification to check electronically before voting……that is it.

      • avatar

        Uh no. Anyone who wants to pay the money, which Stein did, and she raised millions for recounts in Michigan and other states, can request a recount. There are automatic recounts in most states when the vote comes down to less than 1/2 of 1% but those are not paid for by anyone. The reason the judge shut down the Michigan recount was because of the Detroit precincts. You just want to ignore the obvious vote fraud in those precincts.

        • avatar

          Headline in the Detroit News Dec. 6, 2016 “Half of Detroit Votes May Be Ineligible For Recounts”.

          It’s great when CNN gets caught peddling fake news. On Tuesday Gloria Borger, citing “unnamed sources” reported about Trump’s claims that Comey told him he was not under investigation. She said “Comey is going to dispute the president on this point if he’s asked about it by senators”.

          Wednesday Comey releases his pre-testimony statement and then CNN issues a “correction and update”, saying “The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation”.

          • avatar

            Leland it does not matter how you slice it, he indeed ask Comey to let it go and he fired him because of that….plain and simple…he and his family thinks that running a country is like a Warlord to run a country like…he is finding out that is not the case and getting in trouble…..

            You are so naive…hahaha!!!…..and played by the media….simple…he asked him to stop the Flynn investigation and the Russian collusion…….that is why he fired him,,,he thinks he owns the people……Authoritarian…..remember the inauguration,,,,,there are my generals……well he has soon found he does not own them……get you head and memory check and quit looking for excuses that do not exist. Later we found out American Banks do give them money but Russian money,,,,,so he did nit want e=anybody to find that out………

            It does not matter what you say this is what it is….face it…..and fix it…..an election is coming soon…

        • avatar

          Well if true what you say how come if the money was there it never happened? and in any way if indeed the Republicans won why so afraid of a recount…I tell you fraud on the Republican side…..with the illegals votes as well…..

        • avatar

          Well then if you are so right how come it never went through?……really so what you are saying is that Trump won by fraud…….OK no surprise there though….

          • avatar
            Not Politically Correct on

            Actually Hillary won the popular vote, so if anyone won by fraudulent votes it was her and NOT Trump. Trump won by the electoral vote which I thank God for everyday. Hillary would have been a horrible president.

          • avatar

            Hahaha!!!! So blind yet do naive…..prove it!!!…results show popular vote that us the founders way…..not the electoral vote way….

            The electoral vote was design Ed to protect us from the illiterate but obvious dud not work twice…