Well, Reality Winner, the NSA contractor who leaked the document about the GRU supposedly going on a phishing expedition against a company that makes voting software, is probably going to go to jail over it. They caught her – and she confessed – right away.
The thing that struck me about the document was that it was the first implication that someone – ostensibly the Russians – intended to hack into voting machines. The official word, of course, is “no.” “They” didn’t succeed.
I used to be a techie guy, running IT departments. Back then, I was excited by the possibilities technology could bring to voting – easing access, for example. But for every upside of technology, there’s a downside. My thinking on the topic was limited to the application of the technology, not the application of nefarious intent by interested parties. (Hey, I was young…)
But then we got George W. Bush in a disputed “election” in which many districts were seen to have “voted” in ways other than the exit polls predicted. The thing was, the districts in question were computerized voting districts. Then we were treated to online videos showing how ridiculously simple it was to hack into the machines and flip votes. They’re essentially spreadsheets. Simply switch the contents of one cell with the contents of another and you’ve changed the outcome of the “election.”
The companies who made the voting machines – the same companies that make ATM machines – insisted it was impossible to make a machine that created a paper trail. The “official” message was that Americans needed to ignore exit polls since they’re largely inaccurate. It was a stupid message in view of the fact that exit polling is and has been the gold standard of polling since it’s inception but that was the message.
It put me off computerized voting. I noticed that nobody did anything about it, or even tried to. Sure, there was some lip-service paid to fixing the problems but there was no concerted effort to stop using the voting machines until people could know, with one hundred percent certainty, that the machines were secure. My suspicion is that the parties each thought being able to hack into the machines and “control” the voting was a GREAT idea. I have no evidence to support that assertion – it’s just a gut feeling.
I use over-arching precepts to guide my thinking. When there’s a problem nobody does anything about, there’s a reason. We first saw it in Florida, in 2000. Nobody did anything about it. Then, people trying to sound the alarm among the electorate TOLD us it would be Ohio in 2004 – and it was. Nobody did anything about it. Truthfully, I didn’t see it in 2008 or 2012 but not so much, I think, because “my guy” won. I think in order to be effective, the “election” needs to be close and those were not. But strange doings were again afoot during the 2016 Democratic primary. Another close race, more “ignore the exit polls” bunk.
Through it all, the “official” position is that there’s nothing to see here, everything’s okay. The refrain we hear over and over is that it’s important to “maintain the integrity of the vote.” Can you tell by the fact that I can’t write “vote” or “election” without “quotes” that I no longer trust the “integrity of the vote?”
It’s easy to see how each of the “two parties” might have come to the conclusion that, from now on, the REAL “elections” would take place between two rooms of techies each hacking into machines and flipping votes, racing each other, flipping one way then the other, until the final gun. Whoever flips most effectively “wins.” But what if there was a third room?
The document Reality dropped indicated that the Russians were interested in accessing the machines. What if they got in? Our own government would NEVER acknowledge the fact even – perhaps especially – if it meant We, the People had “elected” a person so incompetent, it’s a wonder he can move about on a daily basis without supervision, let alone run this once-great nation.
I’ve never accepted the story about Russia affecting the “election” by flooding social media with information critical to Hillary. I mean, so what? I saw TONS of information critical to Hillary. It never crossed my mind it might be coming from the Russians. I thought it was coming from the GOP just like it had been since the world first heard the name Hillary Rodham-Clinton.
I vote absentee. I do it because, well, let’s be honest, it’s easier and more pleasant. But in addition, it creates a paper trail – a way to do a recount. (Did you know it’s not possible with the machines? They only keep a total, not a record of individual votes…) I think everybody should vote absentee. Yes, I know there are ways to cheat with paper but they’re not as easy as the invisible voting machine hacks.
I’ll tell you this: I want to know if the software company the Russians are said to have tried to access wrote the software for any of the machines used in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania. But in the meantime, Reality goes to jail…