A report published this week by Politico finds that voting machines being used in several key swing states can in fact be hacked by entities with bad intentions. The author of the article goes on to conclude that he believes that future hacking would not “corrupt” the outcome of American elections.
The report was produced by cybersecurity reporter Eric Geller, who says he covers the “cyber defense” efforts of the federal government. The piece found that voting machines that are connected to modems that communicate with cellular services are susceptible to targeting by hackers. Those machines are vulnerable to entities working to “sow doubt about vote tallies in the November midterms.”
Geller found that modem-connected machines are in use in some of the battleground swing states, including Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, and Iowa. He noted that the connected machines are used to increase the speed of reporting results in locations where officials have determined that phoning or driving results in is either not reliable or takes too long.
Florida election official Paul Lux told Geller that there is an “appetite in the public for immediate results” and modems are the best way to provide them. Geller went on to cite other cybersecurity experts who have concerns about prioritizing speed over security.
Former Cook County, Illinois election director Noah Praetz said the modems being used “expand the threat surface area” that must be defended against hackers, operational error, and misinformation campaigns.
The report described security steps taken in some jurisdictions to protect the integrity of the machines with modem connectivity. Some use encryption or have set up special networks, although Geller found none of those measures are “foolproof.”
Some conservative commentators have said that the Politico article appears to be a security warning on its face, but could be an effort to lay the groundwork for excuses for a potential “Red Wave” GOP-dominated midterm election next month.
This is what Democrats do when they fear a loss. They pre-seed a narrative as an insurance policy. In the event of a big Republican win in the mid-terms, it will once again become socially acceptable to questions election results and make broad and vague claims of voter fraud. https://t.co/HLV3oCJKf4
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) October 15, 2022
Mike Cernovich wrote on Twitter: “This is what Democrats do when they fear a loss. They pre-seed a narrative as an insurance policy. In the event of a big Republican win in the midterms, it will once again become socially acceptable to question election results and make broad and vague claims of voter fraud.”
Mollie Hemingway noted that it is “totally weird” how questioning the integrity of election equipment is dangerous “conspiracy theorizing” but only “depending on the cycle.”
Even though the Senate Intelligence Committee recommended in 2019 that voting machine modems be disabled or removed, only some states have followed that guidance.