End Vote Hacking: Support #UnhackTheVote
This is slightly a rough draft. It was late when I wrote it. Will update soon.
If you are holding out hope for 2018 and 2020, I must start off by telling you that it is a false hope (unless we work very hard to overcome the issues cited in this post). Authoritarianism has come to America and once it takes root, it does not give up power easily.
Further, it is my opinion that Donald Trump and the Republican Party hacked their way to wins, not just in this election but in many prior ones as well; our upcoming elections will be no different. Unless they are stopped, they will ensure victories for themselves.
Many months ago, I wrote a thread about vote hacking. I was motivated to do so because some popular resistance accounts were attacking @MikeFarb1‘s work on #UnhackTheVote. It just so happened I had personal knowledge about and experience with this issue, so I had been following Mike’s work closely.
When he was attacked, I felt compelled to defend him. In response, I was blocked by those so-called resistance accounts and placed on shared block lists. The people who use those lists believe they are blocking Trump trolls, but they also include accounts like mine. It’s an underhanded tactic designed to prevent you from hearing voices like mine.
It’s a way of stifling the truth, censoring what they don’t want you to hear.
At any rate, I eventually deleted that thread. Not because of anything that had happened to me, though plenty has. Not because I was pulling my personal support or endorsement of Mike and his project, because that hasn’t changed either.
I deleted the thread for personal reasons. I had made a decision about what role I wanted to pursue within the resistance and I felt it was ultimately counterproductive to criticize those individuals, despite the validity of my arguments.
At the end of the day, I decided to trust that people would eventually discern truth from fiction. Had I thought ahead, I would have kept the first tweet to that thread and then replied to it with a link to this post. Unfortunately, I did not do that: I regret this.
I’m a programmer. I started programming when I was a child. I was around nine or ten years old at the time. It was something that just came naturally to me, and I pursued it with great interest. At the time, Windows did not exist. The Internet did not exist. I learned all kinds of things in those early days and I never stopped learning, never stopped pushing myself.
In the early 2000s, I became aware of the issues with voting machines. We called it “Black Box Voting” back then. These things were so insecure that they were using Microsoft Access as their database system (a system that cannot, under any circumstances, be secured). It was a simple matter to change votes without anyone knowing.
The thing people get wrong about this issue is they imagine hackers breaking into computer networks and changing votes remotely. They never think about the election workers who have direct access to the machines. They definitely don’t think about the times these machines are in storage, or the software updates they go through (without auditing, often breaking state law). They don’t think about a lot of things.
I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail here other than to say that I’ve seen it all, and this was fifteen years ago. We tried to raise awareness of this issue but no one was paying attention. At some point in my life, I had moved on from the issue and for the most part just accepted that voting in America was broken. You have to understand though: even without voting machines, I already believed that. This just made it easier for them.
Since My Post
It didn’t take long for me to discover that nothing had really changed. In fact, it turns out a lot of those same voting machines are still in use. It was very shocking to me to discover this. There have been some changes: for example, they now do have networking capabilities, which does raise the prospects for external hacking.
It’s also become pretty obvious Donald Trump won this election by manipulating just a few highly specific targets in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, etc. I haven’t followed the issue closely, but I do know that’s where this election was won and that publicly available data does in fact show such irregularities.
I have met some of Mike’s team and I have helped them with a few small programming tasks, but I haven’t really had time to get involved with them. I also came to realize I’m just not passionate about this issue, despite how important it is. I feel this work is in the right hands, though. He knows these issues. His team knows these issues.
I trust them to get at the truth.
We also now know that every voting machine used in America can and has been hacked. Some of them in mere minutes. When people tell you that our election wasn’t hacked, and they cite our intelligence communities as their source, it’s very important to keep in mind: they did not inspect the machines, they did not investigate at all. The Department of Homeland Security has not looked at them.
There’s a lot we need to do to reclaim our democracy. There’s a lot of fights, on a lot of fronts: it will take all of us. Mike’s team is doing what they can on the voting machines issue. I encourage you to donate to that cause. You’ll find a link at the top of their site.
I don’t know what all is needed to solve this problem and the myriad other voting-related issues we face. I do know that if we don’t solve them, it’s unlikely we have a bright future. But there’s one small morsel of hope I can offer: even if this issue isn’t solved in time, large turnouts will make it much harder to hide vote hacking.
As a disclaimer, I want to note I don’t have very much insider knowledge of #UnhackTheVote or even a clear idea of what their goals are. I don’t know how transparent they are or hope to be in the future. These are things you should raise with them directly if they are of any concern to you. Putting all of that aside, I do not doubt the integrity or knowledge of this team.