Important articles and videos about Internet voting are available in the menu on the right, and here: Internet Voting Resources.
Information as of late March, 2016, indicates that the billionaire backer of initiatives #15-0117 and #15-0118 is probably not collecting signatures! This is an unexpected, but truly a big win for democracy!
Stop 3 Internet Voting Initiatives
from Exposing California’s Elections To Professional Hackers, Worldwide
by the Voting Rights Task Force
Three ballot initiatives now collecting signatures will require California to use very risky Internet voting, well before it’s safe. The official costs could exceed $100,000,000.
A secretive, wealthy backer is now collecting signatures for two of the ballot initiatives, #15-0117 and #15-0118, titled “Vote By Mail Ballots. Electronic Submission.” They will repeal legal protections against Internet voting, and replace them with a politician-appointed commission. Then the state must start Internet voting by 2022, even when, as the experts warn us is likely, no such system will be safe, transparent, auditable and easy to use. A third poorly conceived and worded initiative, “Online Voting”, #15-0108, will require California to introduce Internet voting by 2017, perhaps earlier.
The initiatives will repeal Elections Code sections 19205 and 19295. They forbid connecting any part of an election system to the Internet, or to a wireless-, phone-, or other external network. This is a long-standing bulwark against the large scale, worldwide, professional hacking of our votes on computers, smartphones, and especially on the vulnerable county central tabulators that count all our votes.
In an attempt to be flexible and forward-looking, the initiatives, cast in initiative-concrete how we run elections. It will be rigidly difficult for California to make adjustments as technology changes.
The definition of “secure electronic submission of vote by mail ballots” in the first 2 initiatives is muddy. Their titles and text are deceptive. They are not about “vote by mail”. They are about “vote by Internet”.
Internet voting (IV) proposals are dangerous because, at least for the foreseeable future:
- Anything on the Internet is hackable. The CIA, FBI, Pentagon, Google, Adobe, VISA, MasterCard, Interpol, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, NASDAQ, Symantec, RSA Security, BitCoin, and many more are being penetrated on a near daily basis.
- An online voting system in Washington DC was hacked and completely controlled in 36 hours.
- Like Washington DC, local election offices have nowhere near the resources of giant government, high tech, and financial organizations to defend our votes from insider and outsider attack.
- The voters’ computers, including cell phones, are not professionally protected from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, other malware, and fake apps or websites.
- IV is paperless, making public counts, audits, and recounts, ie: real transparency, impossible.
- Truly convincing stakeholders that loser of a close race actually lost is also impossible.
- IV is not like banking online, where you get a receipt with a transaction number that can be tracked. How do you refund a secret vote? How do you recover a million lost votes?
- IV represents a quantum leap in vulnerability paper ballots. Paper ballots do not carry computer viruses, and cannot attack, from anywhere in the world, the tabulator counting all the votes.
- IV represents a quantum leap in vulnerability compared to vote by mail. Paper ballots do not carry computer viruses, and cannot attack the central tabulator, from anywhere in the world, counting all the votes.
Finally, the official summaries say they commit California to “One-time state costs – … possibly exceeding $100 million—to implement a new information technology system. Ongoing state costs to maintain system—possibly millions of dollars each year.” These costs do not include the inevitable major system meltdown in the middle of an election. If wealthy backers imagine they can build a secure, end-to-end, publicly verifiable, fully auditable, accessible, easy-to-use, fully recoverable Internet voting system, then they can use their own money to prove it. The vast majority of computer scientists warn us: we’re not even close – on any of those criteria. Do not commit $100 million of taxpayer money to a risky, high-tech boondoggle.
The initiative text and more information are at: http://www.CountedAsCast.org, under “Internet Voting Initiatives 2016”
March 2, 2016