November 4, 2019

John Oliver asked an interesting question last night: How much do you trust the system that counts our ballots? If you're a blogger, you already know the answer is "not much." Via The Week:

"We now know that in 2016, Russian hackers targeted election systems in all 50 states," and though they wanted voter registration data back then, America's aging voting machines are increasingly vulnerable to hacking, Oliver said. He explained how some voting systems are more problematic than others, and ran through some of the vulnerabilities of electronic voting machines.

"So to recap, I've now shown you how to hack voting machines in less than 2 minutes and how to find unattended voting machines," Oliver said. "It's the kind of important education work we do here at I Really Hope Putin Doesn't Watch This Show With John Oliver." Seriously, he added, "every voting machine can be tampered with in some way or other," and "the solution isn't to make unhackable machines, that's impossible. Instead, we should be making them as secure as we possible can, while also creating systems so that we know for sure when a problem has occurred."

"Now the good news is there is actually a consensus on what we should do here, specifically that after each election we do what's called a 'risk-limiting audit,'" Oliver said. "That's where we take a small percentage of the paper ballots at random and make sure that they match what the machines recorded. It's pretty simple." Unfortunately, most places don't do that and some can't because their machines leave no paper trail. President Trump and the Democratic House get the need to fix this, he said, but the Senate does not. Watch him tie it all to Sean Spicer's dancing in the occasionally NSFW video below.


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