What are your concerns about election security and accessibility?

What sense is there in routing a voter registration query through a VPN? That’s just introducing additional points of failure for the denial-of-service attack I envisioned. Neither do I see an advantage in using dial-up - with VoIP any old botnet could tie up the server’s telephone line.

~Max

Our check-in devices are connected to the Internet via cell data. They are basically iPads. They can scan your driver’s license or do a lookup by name and address off of some other ID (like the voter registration card that gets mailed to you).

We do not have same-day registration, so the database of registered voters should not change on election day.

I imagine if we did have same-day registration there would have to be changes made, possibly including requiring you to vote in your precinct rather than anywhere in the County. Because allowing devices to modify the registration database via the internet is possibly an attack vector.

I suppose a nefarious actor could try to DDOS the registration database server. It’s possible that the database is stored locally on the PollPads (the name for iPad device) so that they can work in a “network-down” situation and then reconcile whenever the connection is restored.

But to my previous point I think that most rogue actors are plenty happy with spreading propaganda about the validity of our elections rather than actually trying to modify the results. The corrosive effect on democracy is just as bad. Look at 2020 - no massive fraud was even attempted as far as any of the experts can tell and yet 30+% of the country thinks the election was stolen.

Here in Maricopa county a wireless WAN is used – no VPN, no internet, even – to verify registration and the proper print-on-demand ballot printed. After being filled out, the ballot is scanned to check for over-votes and spit back out if one is discovered. I don’t know if there’s an override to deposit it anyway and under-votes are ignored.

Very well said.

I’ve been following the universal mail-in ballots topic, and one of the things I will add as a concern here is that you aren’t notified if your mail-in ballot is accepted/rejected. At least in Florida, you have to go to the website and manually check your ballot status. Young people especially don’t usually write their signature and so it might not match, just from lack of practice. It would be nice if the state could send SMS notifications as we already do for COVID testing.

~Max

I heard one pundit break it down this way, and I generally agree:

There are 3 parts to the voting process.

  1. Voting – and based on the extraordinary turnout in 2020, access to the polls isn’t a big problem. Sure, we could do better to make it easier to vote…but accessibility is not a threat to democracy.
  2. Counting the votes – not a problem. Ballots are counted fairly and accurately.
  3. Certifying the results. Red flag, klaxon sounding. This is where Republican state legislatures are doing their dirtiest work to politicize the certification process, and where we need to work the hardest to circumvent their efforts.

So the failure of the voting rights legislation is terrible, but not fatal to our democracy. Reform of the Electoral Count Act should be top priority.

Based on the 2020 turnout, Republicans are doing everything in their power to reduce that access and make it harder. Vote by mail was a big driver in that turnout, and that’s one of the things that they are focusing on eliminating.

My big hope is that, the GOP has made so much noise about this, that all those Dems who voted in 2020 will be aware of the new suppression efforts, and make the effort to still vote in 2022 and 2024. Previously, a lot of the GOP dirty tricks were done in the background, and only people who really cared about the issue really knew what was going on.

Now, a lot more people are aware. The key is if those people also care enough to put in the effort.