Department of Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson has come out and said that his department is considering taking over the security of the federal elections this November because of reported hacking in Illinois and Arizona into their elections systems. And while they are discussing such a move, it would be a travesty of justice if it happened. And it would be unconstitutional as well.
Let’s understand how the election system works first of all. There are fifty states (obviously) that have not one, not two, but three separate voting systems. There is the “campaign system”, the “voter system” and the “election system”. The thing to realize is that what was breached in Arizona and Illinois was the “voter system”. This was the data that said who votes, what party they are affiliated with, and how often they vote. That’s all. It isn’t tied into the election system at all.
When you go to vote, you either use a machine and select your candidate and press a button and it’s locked into that machine. Or maybe, if you’re like we are here in the desert, we connect two parts of arrows pointing to the candidate that we want to vote for. The ballot is then inserted into a “reader” that reads where that arrow is, and counts it for that candidate. Or you have touch screen voting where you touch the name of the candidate that you want to vote for. The thing to remember is that none of these voting machines are connected to the internet. You can’t be hacked if you’re not connected to the internet. When the night is over, they print out the results from each machine. They also make a thumb drive copy of each machine and send those to wherever the elections are being tallied in your county. The thumb drive and the paper print out need to match. If not, they start looking into it deeper as to why they don’t match. All of the early balloting and the absentee ballots are counted and added in, and the figure is sent on to the state to tally up all of the counties. Then the state releases its figures and in the case of the presidential election, the announcement is made as to who gets the electoral votes (or who SHOULD get them…there is no federal law that says that person voting the electoral votes HAS to follow the state’s wishes).
And that is pretty much that. Could the election system be hacked? Of course. But it would take a literally army of hackers a very long time to hack into enough systems to change the outcome of the election. There just isn’t enough that is being done over the internet to make that big of a difference, and the fail safes that are in place are too numerous to allow it to happen. So Jeh, let me give you a little piece of advice. Get the popcorn and the brandy out on November 8th, just like the rest of us are going to do and enjoy the TV show. Just keep your hands off of OUR election!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!