5 Reasons Karl Rove Is NOT Going To Electronically Steal This Election
Continued from previous page
If you want to worry about Ohio, look elsewhere. This report from the Cincinnati Inquirer suggests that there could be quite a vote-counting quagmire due to the provisional ballot tally after Election Day. GOP Secretary of State John Husted sent absentee ballot applications to every Ohio voter, so how several hundred thousand Ohioans might vote—by mail or at polls—is up in the air.
Finally, Ohio’s GOP Legislature did pass a 2006 law saying the results in federal elections could not be contested after the ‘official count’ is certified. But that law only applies to Ohio courts. That doesn’t stop campaigns from going into federal court to pursue a presidential result. Bottom line: it’s difficult but possible to challenge any dubious or suspect vote count in Ohio this year.
2. Will Republicans hack into voter rolls and delete Democrats?
Two other new scenarios depend on altering electronic voter information. The first, reported in The New York Times, suggested that partisans in Washington state and Maryland could use those state’s online voter registration portals and hack into electronic statewide voter registration databases—and alter voter files. This would be a high-tech version of registering someone on the street, but only turning in applications for one party (which is what GOP operative Nathan Sproul did in several states). Brad Friedman’s blog has led that coverage.
A former top election official I spoke to from a state next to Washington said that the Times interviewed him and ignored what he said—that this scenario would not be possible in Washington, because the voter registration file created by accessing the motor vehicle website was separate from the statewide voter database. He didn’t know about Maryland’s system, but neither are presidential swing states.
Other ex-top state election officials said there's always potential for hacking, as both Ohio's and Minnesota's state election websites have been hacked. But in both cases the underlying statewide voter registration database was not touched. This is something to fix after Election Day, but not a realistic threat now.
3. Will the GOP stuff ballot boxes with overseas military votes?
This is another version of electronic ballot box stuffing. In 2009, Congress passed the MOVE Act, which was designed to help troops overseas to vote. It allows ballots to be sent from overseas by e-mail in some circumstances. Normally, PDF images are printed, filled out, signed and mostly sent back by mail or express delivery. If there are delivery snafus, however, they may be returned by e-mail.
The concern from activists such as Jim March, who did pioneering work with BlackBoxVoting.org to uncover big security flaws in the first paperless voting machines sold to states following a congressional appropriation in 2002, is that the GOP will fabricate Internet-delivered votes. He has spoken about this in recent forums and has gathered some coverage on blogs.
The fear is that the GOP will fabricate enough votes to push Romney over the top in military-heavy swing states, such as Virginia. There’s no denying that Internet voting is an easy pathway for tampering, but there actually is very little Internet voting under the MOVE Act. Most ballots are printed and mailed in or sent by Fed-Ex.
The sad truth about the MOVE Act is that is has been poorly implemented. This editorial notes that in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina, “less than 2 percent of eligible military voters (5,411 out of 288,961) have requested  absentee ballots.” With a small number of votes at issue, the scope of this ballot box-stuffing scenario is not going to be a big threat in 2012.