It’s no secret that just about any technology, including smartphones, can be hacked.
The Fast Company reported a new piece of spyware “designed to break into most commercially available smartphones” already is in use in 45 countries.
Which means there are many new voting security issues after West Virginia’s decision to allow voters in 24 counties to vote on their smartphones, reports Paula Bolyard at PJMedia.
Immediately, experts were warning of possible security breaches.
The West Virginia secretary of state’s office announced: “After researching previously available options, the Secretary’s team identified that most electronic ballot delivery technology required access to a desktop computer, printer and scanner, all of which present significant barriers to overseas voters, especially those in combat zones or engaged in covert operations.”
So it has partnered with a private company, Voatz, to get the job done.
“Voatz has developed a secure mobile voting application that allows voters to receive, vote, and return their ballots electronically,” the state claims. “The application also utilizes blockchain technology to store electronically submitted ballots until election night, and requires a heightened standard of identity verification for users than traditional absentee ballot processes. This project is unprecedented in United States history, being the first mobile voting application and first use of blockchain technology in a federal election.”
A test was done during a May primary, using voters in six counties.
“And the state said post-election audits showed the tech was “a secure platform for voting.”
The state said Voatz’s app, which “also utilizes biometric facial recognition software and thumbprint safeguards to ensure the identity of the voter, increased the confidence of the auditors.”
“In short, the nation’s first mobile voting app test pilot was a success.”
The report said users must register with Voatz and submit a photo of their government ID and themselves.
The company claims, “Because blockchain is a distributed ledger of transactions, military mobile votes become immutable and tamper-proof once recorded.”
That leaves West Virginia still admitting there are “substantial” security concerns, even though the security is meeting federal standards.
That’s because among the most-hacked entities are government agencies.
A Heritage Foundation report on 2017 federal cyber breaches concluded, “In fiscal year 2016, government agencies reported 30,899 information-security incidents, 16 of which met the threshold of being a major incident.”
PJ Media added: “It’s important to remember that in April the Department of Homeland Security announced that Russian hackers had targeted all 50 states during the 2016 election cycle.”
The report said West Virginia “has seemingly ignored those warnings, launching headlong into mobile voting with a barely tested technology.”
“While everyone agrees that we want to make it as easy as possible for military voters to participate in elections, those needs must be weighed against security concerns. In reality, the men and women serving in our armed forces are being used as guinea pigs for an experimental technology that could conceivably be vulnerable to hackers and others determined to disrupt our election processes. While paper ballots are cumbersome and the vote totals are often delayed, they’ve been proven over and over again to be the most secure way to cast a ballot.”
WND reported last year a leading election fraud expert says there is virtually no way to determine how many fraudulent votes were cast in 2016.
But he seconded President Trump’s call for an investigation, saying the U.S. is long overdue in taking important steps to ensure more accurate elections.
Trump has said he believes the votes of illegal aliens could be responsible for Hillary Clinton accumulated more votes nationally. The issue flared again, both at a White House press briefing and in a pair of Trump tweets that called for a formal probe.
Former Federal Elections Commission member Hans von Spakovsky now manages the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation. While not weighing on Trump’s specific assertions, Von Spakovsky told WND and Radio America a thorough federal investigation into voting laws is clearly warranted.
“I think it’s long overdue,” he said. “There’s never been any systematic, organized effort by the federal government to try to improve and check on the election integrity of the United States. I think this is a great idea.”
He said Trump’s call is a radical departure from the Obama administration’s position.
“It’s a complete turnaround from the Obama administration, which for the past eight years has done everything it can to try to stop improvements in election integrity: things like Voter ID, things like verifying the citizenship of people who are registered to vote,” Von Spakovsky said. “The Obama administration has tried to stop that and has minimized or basically said, ‘There’s no fraud to worry about anywhere.'”