Saturday, August 03, 2019

Stella Anderson's Plan To Harden NC's Elections Against Cyber Attacks Still Hangs in the Balance

Stella Anderson
Photo Brendan Hoekstra,
The Appalachian
Jordan Wilkie, writing in The Indy, understands the importance of this past week for the future of democracy in North Carolina. The resignation of state Board of Elections (SBOE) Chair Bob Cordle preserved Stella Anderson's initiative to make electronic voting equipment much less susceptible to foreign and domestic mischief. August 23rd will be D-Day for that proposal when the SBOE will vote on final approval.

Had Cordle remained chair through Thursday's special called meeting, Republican member David Black would have changed his earlier aye vote, and with the other Republican member, Ken Raymond, the three-man majority would have overruled Anderson and pushed through certification of machinery that produces only barcode paper receipts of how a voter voted.

Anderson saw that as unacceptable, and so do we.

Specifically, a rescind vote would have saved the bacon of one "controversial vendor" of touch-screen technology, Elections Systems and Software, or ESandS, the company that promises that their barcodes are accurate reflections of voter intent.

"Controversial vendor"? Jordan Wilkie is also a reporter for The Guardian, and his reporting on a federal lawsuit in Georgia challenging the constitutionality of that state's election process tracked the role of ESandS, which was supplying voting equipment for the 2018 close and contested election of Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia. Testimony in that case revealed that ESandS staffers built the 2018 Georgia ballot at their homes, without verifiable security. “You’re taking what the state has said is the roadmap to hack an election and they’re just letting it sit on people’s home computers with no evidence of any kind of security,” one of the plaintiffs said. “I mean, it’s truly insane. I cannot overstate how crazy that is.”

(You could spend all day following Google links about ESandS, "the largest voting machine company in the US," headquartered in Omaha.)

Wilkie gives Stella Anderson a laurel wreath for protecting our very democracy: "If Anderson’s motion passes [on August 23], it would be the first of its kind in the nation and would follow best-practice guidelines from election security experts. Not only would ESandS’s voting machines be removed from consideration, but it would make North Carolina an entirely hand-marked paper ballot state...."

Josh Lawson, who was the SBOE’s general counsel until June, has been speaking out on the issue too and totally agrees with Anderson: “My immediate and short-term concern is voter confidence,” Lawson says. “I think that the barcode ballot process does not support or instill voter confidence to the same degree as hand-marked paper ballots...."

Our "democracy watch" on this whole issue now turns to Governor Roy Cooper and his choice to replace Bob Cordle at the SBOE. Will that person be in place by August 23rd? And will that person vote affirmatively for Anderson's proposal to change certification requirements in North Carolina to ensure paper-ballot proof from electronic equipment?

1 comment:

Don said...

Good commentary, thank you