Is It Safe to Vote Anymore? 11-Year-Old Shows It May Not Be!

When election time rolls around, you enter a polling place and cast a vote for a candidate. But how certain are you that your vote will be recorded accurately?

I’d like to think the answer is 100 percent. But after researching this subject and reading about what an 11-year-old boy was able to do recently, I’m not so sure.

The 2018 mid-term elections are approaching. And the subject of voter fraud and hacking is front and center for some politicians.

Earlier this summer, politicians met in Washington, D.C. to discuss this topic. It turned into a heated debate.

Voter Fraud Impacts Results

Some believe Russians affected the 2016 presidential election outcome with their hacking.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican, is not one of them. He said there is no evidence the Russians influenced the election.

But he did cite a case of election fraud in a 2010 Missouri House of Representatives election. Missouri State Senator John Rizzo, a Democrat, won his first primary election to the House by one vote.

Later, Rizzo’s aunt and uncle pleaded guilty to voter fraud for illegally voting in that election.

Automated Scans Seek Vulnerabilities

That’s one of the reasons Ashcroft believes election fraud needs to be addressed. He says it’s “exponentially” a bigger threat than attempts to hack U.S. election infrastructures by Russians.

There is evidence to back up Ashcroft’s fear of voter fraud. Automated systems that look for vulnerabilities in a computer network conduct an average of 100,000 daily “scans” of voter files. And that’s just in Missouri.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos says those types of scans occur 5,000 and 6,000 times a day in his state.

As a result of these and other revelations, public confidence is being eroded.

Dems Believe Hacking Is Biggest Threat

Democrats acknowledge these security breaches, but disagree with Ashcroft.

“I believe that the No. 1 threat to the integrity of our elections nationwide is the possibility of some outside infiltration or breach or attack by someone acting to influence elections or to mess with the instruments of our election,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat.

Another Democrat, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, agrees. “I can count on both hands cases of voter fraud in the last several election cycles,” he said.

“When it comes to this (Russian) hacking, it is an exponentially greater threat to our voting system than voting fraud.”

Child Needs 10 Minutes to Hack In

Regardless of who is right, it’s disturbing how easily voter systems can be hacked. That was allegedly proven recently at DEFCON, the world’s largest hacker conference.

Imitation election websites were set up at the Las Vegas, Nevada event. Some 50 children between the ages of 8 and 16 attempted to hack into them.

Thirty of the kids were successful. One of those was an 11-year-old boy who hacked into an imitation Florida state voting website. He changed the results of a fictitious election in less than 10 minutes.

This component of the conference was called the DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Village. It contained 13 imitation websites linked to voting in presidential battleground states.

Politicians Discredit Hacker Conference

Now, you may be wondering who would take this type of conference seriously.

The National Association of Secretaries of State apparently does. They issued a statement in response to the news about the ease of hacking voter systems.

They said it does not accurately reflect the reality of electronic voting in the United States.

“Our main concern with the approach taken by DEFCON is that it utilizes a pseudo environment which in no way replicates state election systems, networks or physical security,” their statement read.

Voters Concerned About Votes Counting

Ashcroft believes there is another reason for concern about voter fraud and/or Russian hacking.

He’s worried that if people are convinced it’s happening, they may stay home on election day. Just because they think their vote might not count.

“Individuals have misreported or made misstatements and they have lowered the credibility of our elections with the people of this country,” he said.

“The No. 1 threat to our country and our election system is that we have such low voter turnout. And when we are telling people mistakenly that their elections were changed by foreign actors or by election systems hacking, we are encouraging people… to stay home… That is reprehensible.”

Don’t Let a ‘Maybe’ Keep You Home

So, what’s the lesson here? Regardless of whether voter fraud or Russian hacking may occur in the upcoming mid-term elections, it is essential for all of us to cast our votes.

Staying home because somebody “might” try to mess with the system accomplishes nothing. Other than helping your candidates’ opponents.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the U.S. is now in “a much better place.” He’s referring to our ability to defend against cyber attacks compared to during the 2016 election.

Let’s hope he’s right. Regardless, let’s not let a potential problem stop us from voting. We need to elect the women and men we believe have the best interests of our country at heart.

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