D.C.

When opponents of online voting want to back up their argument that voting online is “unsafe” and “unreliable”, they invariably point to the “experiment” of online voting in Washington, D.C in 2010.

Meanwhile, when I want to back up my contention that online voting is threatening to very powerful special interests, I can point to the intense crowing that opponents of internet voting do over the D.C. experiment’s failure as a transparent example of how much these interests fear online voting. And they hope to use this “fiasco” as a tool to prevent any successful legitimate trials of online voting in the United States.

In brief summary, in 2010 the District of Columbia decided to try a limited internet voting experiment in the district. It was to apply only to certain absentee ballot registrants, particularly in the military, to allow them to either print an absentee ballot online or submit it as a .pdf file. They contracted with a company to implement the online voting. Such company “invited” anyone to try to hack into the system, supposedly to test the online voting system that had been implemented. LO AND BEHOLD, the system was easily hacked. LO AND BEHOLD, those who want to paint online voting as unviable, and want to paint proponents of online voting as naive fools, point to the D.C. incident as all the evidence anyone would ever need that internet voting doesn’t work. And of course, they point this out with usual gusto and vehemence.

“Internet voting doesn’t work. Just look at what happened in D.C.”. Me thinks they doth protest too much.

To me, The D.C. trial was a joke. I find it highly suspect that it was so easily hacked in our current day and age.

But it certainly served the “anti online voting” interests well. Google “DC Voting” and see the slew of conclusions claiming that the hacking of the trial in D.C. “PROVES” that internet voting is very, very bad.

There are even groups that call themselves “Election Integrity Advocates” who claim they are against internet voting because of lack of security, and of course RUSH to point to DC as concrete proof of this argument.

Yet I ask you to really look deeper, with your own common sense, at these arguments.

The first most basic flaw in the premise that internet voting is bad because it wouldn’t be as secure as our present systems is that our present voting technology IS secure. It isn’t.
So when they scream about how unsecure internet voting would be, that very premise is bypassing the issue of how unsecure our currents systems are. You can’t just leapfrog over that and still have a credible argument.

Secondly, I ask you to think about the world we now live in, and how entirely dependent on computer security we are. Next time you use your ATM card, or swipe your credit card at the gas pump, ask yourself whether the entire worldwide system that keeps track of EVERYONE’S money could function without some level of security.

And if we SERIOUSLY were to try online voting, and we contracted with IBM or any other large IT company to set up an online voting system, do you really think they would have to start from scratch developing the online server based technology to implement? Do you think they would be just playing around with some new source code like in DC? C’Mon. Common sense. This isn’t 1990.

If Election Integrity Advocates truly want election integrity, they should be strongly for server-based election technology. The integrity of these systems would be much MORE secure than any localized system used.

Imagine a server-based voting system, where election results could be monitored in real-time by all interested parties. Data that is redundent to many servers and backed up redundantly. Even when such systems are hacked and information is tapped, the results aren’t changed. They can’t be changed because too many people all saw and recorded the results in real time.

This is opposed to voting systems where local machines save their results to unsecure memory cards like the ones you use in your camera. Those cards are then brought to a physical site and the data is entered into unsecure Excel spreadsheets, where anyone who has access can change the results. These are the voting systems we have used in many cases the last ten years. Does this sound secure to you? How many times do I have to say “Blackboxvoting.org”?

And those advocates who simply say the only secure way to vote is paper ballots are kidding themselves. Server-based online voting results would be much more acurate and secure than tabulation of paper ballots. Remember the hanging chad?

“Election Integrity advocates” should care about doing away with so much of the election fraud and tampering, so much of the voter suppression that has plagued us through our history, and continue to plague us today. Online voting has the potential to do away with so much of this abuse. It has the potential to unleash true democracy. Yet some of them are SO against even the very concept. And they SO QUICKLY point to DC as the example of why they are against online voting. Because of the SECURITY. Yet they are defending the immensely unsecure system in use today.

Makes you wonder about some of these “integrity” advocates. Reminds me of groups like “60-Plus” who were at work in the last election. Supposedly an organization of “concerned seniors”. In fact, they are nothing but a front for the pharmaceutical and health care industry, who care LITTLE about the welfare of our seniors.

There are real grass root organizations out there, made up of people putting their energies into things they care about.

Then there is astroturf, groups like “60-Plus”.

And lastly, even the Pentagon’s computers get hacked. Does that mean that it would be more secure if the military used NO computers at all? Maybe they should go back to carrier pidgeons.

I ask you to think about all of this when you Google “DC Voting” and get hit with all those results of how that little, odd, and highly suspicious experiment in Washington, D.C. PROVES that internet voting won’t work.

To me, there are other things that it proves.

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