An internet-based voting app that has been used on a limited basis in West Virginia, Denver, Oregon and Utah is vulnerable to hackers, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers.
The research indicates that Voatz, an app that has been mostly used for absentee voters and miitary personnel voting overseas, can be exploited to “alter, stop or expose how an individual has voted.”
Election security experts have long warned that internet-based voting is prone for hacking, but that hasn’t stopped states from attempting it.
“We all have an interest in increasing access to the ballot, but in order to maintain trust in our elections system, we must assure that voting systems meet the high technical and operation security standards before they are put in the field,” said Daniel Weitzner, an MIT scientist who helped to prepare the report, on Thursday.
Donald Kersey, a general counsel in the secretary of state’s office in West Virginia, explained that the state has to use electronic voting due to a new law that allows disabled people to vote online. He claims his state hasn’t committed to using the Voatz app.
“Obviously, integrity and security are prime, but voter confidence is equally important,” Kersey said.
Voatz disputes the MIT study, claiming that it was conducted in “bad faith,” and used an older, outdated form of their app that has since been improved. Nevertheless, the experts are crowing that this study backs what they have been saying about the dangers of electronic voting for many years.
“Not to in any way diminish this (excellent) work, but the fact that an online mobile voting scheme has serious security flaws is ultimately unsurprising,” tweeted Matt Blaze, a Georgetown University professor of computer science and law. “Every serious expert has warned against Internet voting.”
“In my view, based on MIT’s findings, no responsible jurisdiction should use Voatz in real elections any time soon,” wrote J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor. “It will take major advances in security technology before Internet voting is safe enough.”
This news comes after the Shadow voting app helped contribute to the turmoil that happened at the Iowa caucus last week:
The voting app, designed by Shadow Inc., that is responsible for tallying votes during the Iowa caucus has major establishment ties, particularly to South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has already declared himself the winner of the Iowa caucus despite the fact that no results have been released at this point.
Shadow is a tech project of ACRONYM. Free speech platform Gab noted that ACRONYM founder and CEO Tara McGowan is a huge Buttigieg supporter, as evidenced by her social media posts…
In addition, the leaders of Shadow all have extensive ties to the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign, according to their own social media profiles.
Shadow CEO Gerard Niemera lists himself as the former Director of Product for Hillary for America and Senior Product Manager during his 14 months of service to Clinton during her campaign. Shadow Product Manager Ahna Rao lists herself as a Clinton campaign worker for 19 months as Special Assistant to the Chief Technology Officer, and Shadow Chief Operating Officer James Hickey listed himself as Engineering Manager of Hillary for America for 18 months.
Technology is opening up new avenues for voter fraud that could conceivably have an impact on this year’s general election.
In Republican-Controlled Wyoming, A Gun Rights Group is Now being Forced to Reveal its Donors
Violation of privacy.
The Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office is cracking down on a pro-Second Amendment organization by forcing it to reveal its donors. This move was spurred by a campaign that Wyoming Gun Owners launched last summer in which it attacked a number of incumbent elected officials in races across the state.
In a letter that the office published on October 14, 2020 Wyoming Gun Owners allegedly did follow the state’s campaign finance law.
The organization pulled off a number victories by unseating incumbent lawmakers last summer and has released advertisement targeting various candidates in the elections on November 3, which includes Riverton Republican Ember Oakley and Democrat Britney Wallesch.
The pro-Second Amendment organization has been around Wyoming politics for some time and publicly disclosed that it is paying for advertisements. However, its lack of registry with the state as either a lobbying organization or a political action committee runs afoul of state guidelines.
“The Secretary of State’s Office has reviewed the advertisements paid for by WYGO and determined that they are clearly electioneering communications,” the letter stated. “As such, WYGO failed to comply with the requirements set forth in Wyo. Stat. § 22-25-106(h).”
It wasn’t until a few months ago that the group’s activities have not been reported within the state government. The Wyoming government cannot initiate the investigation on electioneering activity allegations unless someone files a formal complaint.
An initial complaint was first reported by the Riverton Ranger newspaper earlier this month. It did not gather any further steam because it was lacking in evidence to support the allegations. Subsequently, a second complaint with proper documentation was filed with the state not too long after, which prompted the Secretary of State to take action.
Wyoming Gun Owners now has until November 4 to disclose the names of its donors or be slapped with a $500 fine.
If the group refuses to follow the state’s order, the case will then be kicked to the Wyoming Attorney General, according to secretary of state spokesperson Monique Meese.
“Then we take their advice about what to do going forward,” she stated.
State Senator Anthony Bouchard founded Wyoming Gun Owners almost a decade ago. Nowadays, it is run by various members of the Dorr Family, who operate a network of pro-gun organizations pushing for pro-Second Amendment policies.
Aaron Dorr, Wyoming Gun Owners’ executive director, has had public disputes with elected officials such as Senate Vice President Ogden Driskill, who has repeatedly criticized the organization’s tactics during the 2020 election cycle.
The pro-gun organization bolstered its reputation by killing a firearm reporting bill in 2019 sponsored by former Campbell County Sheriff and current State Representative Bill Pownall. Wyoming Gun Owners ran ads supporting Bill Fortner, Pownall’s opponent. Throughout these ad blasts, Pownall was depicted as anti-gun. Fortner ended up winning in a landslide.
Such a case shows how even Republican governments will go out of their way to prop up incumbents and infringe on the privacy rights of organizations that wish to restore freedoms such as the Second Amendment. Just because politicians have an “R”s beside their name does not guarantee that they will protect individuals’ rights.
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