August 21, 2018

DON’T GET ‘HACKED OFF’ ABOUT THE RUSSIANS JUST YET

VOTING MACHINES 3

Don’t get us wrong, vigilance is incredibly important with respect to election integrity – but sometimes you have to recognize when someone is trying to play you for a fool. You may recall a recent claim by the Department of Homeland Security that it was kicking around the idea of deeming America’s election systems as part of the “critical infrastructure” to protect against Russian hackers and the like.

Right on cue thereafter, the FBI issued a sensitive bulletin (that was never meant to go public, but somehow did immediately anyway) that computer hackers attacked voter registration data systems belonging to the States of Illinois and Arizona. Then (as if scripted), blaring headlines and moderate panic ensued. Here’s what you need to know:

  • no one is certain of the nationality of the hackers themselves;
  • the attacks did not touch voting machines (nor could they);
  • there’s no evidence that new voter registrations were written inside the systems, nor does it appear existing records were changed; and
  • these attacks are so common that it has probably happened before – yet it wasn’t politically advantageous to sound the alarm until now.

Why stoke panic only weeks before voting starts in some states? It’s likely because those who favor federal control of elections are desperate — as they appear to be running out of schemes to push their collective agenda on as many states as possible. Without DOJ preclearance lording over politically-valuable states, their playbook is much thinner.  So, taking into account their failed track record of attempts to remove voter ID laws and other setbacks, playing the fear card is tried and true.

What’s the moral of this story so far? Don’t overreact to over-hyped information. Two middling hackers grabbed copies of data files that were publicly available all along. Our voting machines are quite old; they can’t even be hacked over the Internet. So, do yourself a favor: resist the familiar urge to run into the artificially-warm arms of the feds for safety – they created the TSA after all.

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