Thursday, August 18, 2016

Do We Need Big Government Running Our Elections?

by Kim D.

Absolutely not; however, the Obama administration, led by Secretary of DHS Jeh Johnson, has floated the idea of classifying the election system as "critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid" due to "a vital national interest in our electoral process." There's just one small problem with this proposal - no credible threat exists that Johnson can point to which would justify this big government takeover.

According to Hans von Spakovsky of Conservative Review:
With cyber attacks and hacking instances at an all time high, it is plausible that voting this November could be tampered with, especially in states where online voting is allowed. Illinois made news just this summer when its state board of elections online registry was hacked. In a Facebook letter to constituents, the incident was explained as unsuccessful hacking:
While the letter says the attackers retrieved voter records, it makes clear attackers were limited in what they accessed.  “We have found no evidence that they added, changed, or deleted any information in the database. Their efforts to obtain voter signature images and voter history were unsuccessful,” the letter said.
Currently, each state is in control of its voting procedure. Allowing the process to be streamlined with one entity controlling all voting would ensure disaster or have we already forgotten about the OPM hack which compromised millions of federal employee personnel files? Or how about the recent DNC hacking? Basically, if voting is in anyway open to the Internet, then the possibility of nefarious hacking is plausible. For this reason alone, no online voting should occur in any state.

The only way to ensure fair elections is for citizens to be registered and appear in person to cast his or her selection in a voting booth. Electronic voting booths are not connected to the Internet; they are stand-alone machines with a cartridge in the back that is removed at the end of the polling day and physically transported to the county elections department, where the cartridge is inserted into the stand-alone computer that totals up all of the votes. For the small minority disabled or overseas, mail-in ballots can suffice to ensure no disenfranchisement. 

So why the discussion about voting concerns now?  Is this simply reaction to Trump claiming the voting might be rigged? Should Johnson be allowed to move forward with this proposal, what could it realistically mean for the upcoming presidential election?
Designating election systems as “critical infrastructure” could grant Secretary Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security officials, and officials at the Department of Justice access to any and every election and to any and every voting location they “deem” threatened. The government would be able to police the systems, and could demand changes be made to election and voting systems regardless of the views of local officials.
Spakovsky also posits another possible explanation:
DHS’ actions could stem from the administration’s frustration over the 2013 Shelby County decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, about which Attorney General Loretta Lynch has loudly complained, claiming it severely curtailed the ability of DOJ to send official observers recruited by OPM to polling places. Those officials can only go where a court has given them authorization to be present. Otherwise, DOJ is dependent on local jurisdictions giving DOJ permission for its lawyers and staff to be there. Many jurisdictions have wised up and started saying “no” to DOJ. That must be very frustrating to the partisans who inhabit parts of the Justice Department these days and want their staff out there making sure their political friends get elected.
This should raise eyebrows everywhere. In the last eight years, lie after lie has been told to further a progressive power grab and agenda. Trust them - you can keep your doctor and insurance premiums will be less. Trust them - the IRS would never target conservative groups. Trust them - no classified information was sent or received. Trust them - elections will be transparent and fair. Ummmm - nope. 

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