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Hacking An Election: The True Threat To Our Democracy

This last weekend was one of the most important events you are unlikely to ever hear about.  Mike Lindell hosted a two-day symposium to present evidence from each state about election fraud and to provide evidence of election manipulation by the electronic election management systems in near-universal use.

Everything from dirty voter rolls with registrations that magically increased during elections and then equally magically dropped back afterward, to states where votes were recorded for up to 140% of registered voters, to machines that were “air-gapped” yet were connected to the internet, to cumulative vote totals that mysteriously dropped to zero and often registered “negative votes” was presented in a consistent and easy to understand format.  Only one (identified) journalist showed up.

Do elections really matter?

Our elections are probably the most important events in the life of our country.  The choices we make to select our representatives and to guide policy rely on the accuracy of our election systems in collecting and reporting results.  For the last two years, there have been an increasing number of credible reports that our current election system, instead of being fair and accurate, is rife with corruption, fraud, and outside interference to the point that we have no idea what the true and correct results of any election are.

Many of us saw obvious evidence of corruption and fraud at work in the 2020 election, as well as the subsequent actions taken to hide evidence and to block investigations that would provide conclusive proof of fraudulent activities.  We have government agencies that are specifically charged with ensuring our elections are fair and honest – agencies who are well aware of these election subverting activities – yet who persist in telling us that the 2020 election was the fairest and secure in history.  If that is true, what does that say about all the other elections we’ve had?  If not, why are they lying to us?

More than I bargained for

I was invited by one of our local county officials to look into the potential for fraud in some of our recent elections and to report on any evidence I could find.  Like so many others, I assumed that while there might be some fraud attempts, we probably had sufficient controls in place to ensure valid results.  I was wrong.

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What I share here are some of the results of my investigations, as well as results from other investigators that I came in contact with during my own work.  Without spoiling the conclusions, I can say that the reliability of our elections is not only worse than I imagined, it is worse than I could imagine, even now after seeing what I’ve seen, and knowing what I know.

Some will object that the material I will present here will provide information that bad actors can use to corrupt future elections.  I assure you, the bad guys already know this stuff.  I share it because we need to know it too, both in order to detect illegal operations, as well as to force change in our systems so that we can return to systems we can trust and restore faith in our country.

Locksmithing 101

Imagine for a moment that I was to provide a guide for homeowners that told them what locks were easy to pick and which were secure.  Imagine further that there was objection to my guide because it would tell burglars what to look for when looking for houses to break into.  Imagine that the police were to get involved to charge me with aiding burglars by providing information on what locks worked and which ones didn’t.  Picture various authorities issuing press releases to inform homeowners that they didn’t need to be concerned about locks because burglary is rare and doesn’t cause enough loss to matter.

Now picture our election systems as the locks that protect our Republic.   Who are the people who wouldn’t want us to look too closely at them?

How do I fraud thee, let me count the ways

We are all familiar with the old-school conventional forms of election fraud where a few individuals cast multiple ballots, a ballot box is stuffed with fake ballots, or local officials charged with counting votes are subverted.  The good thing is that such tactics are limited in scope and are easily detected and corrected.  Many people believe, even now, that these are the only relevant mechanisms for fraud, and believe that as a result, modern elections are safe and secure.  Not!

Today, thanks to the miracles of computers, networks, massive data storage systems, and other features of modern life, we have opportunity for election fraud on an industrial scale.  Electronically stored voter roll databases, computer networks that can transfer vast amounts of information invisibly across the entire globe in less time than it takes to read this last word, systems that can accumulate, analyze and present data at the press of a key, all contribute to the situation.  The same systems that can do so much good, are also the systems that can be used for evil.

There are three components of our modern election systems that work together to enable and support election fraud.  Voter rolls, vote by mail, and electronic election systems are all direct contributors that can be used individually or in combinations to subvert elections.  These are not the only contributors, but most bulk fraud attempts rely on them.

Election results are too important to be left to chance

One of the first questions to ask is why would someone commit election fraud?  In the past, the chance of being caught was high, and penalties for guilty individuals were significant.  Now, the chances of being caught are low, and it is often difficult to identify who is committing fraud, much less prosecute them and impose penalties.  As a result, the reward-to-risk ratio for election fraud has become attractively high, not just for individuals or small groups, but especially for State actors with lots of resources and virtual immunity to prosecution.

What would it be worth to some nation state, say China, to ensure that a US president was elected who was financially compromised, perhaps through a close relative, and who, consequently, would be in a position to act favorably in their interests, as well as able to deflect attention to rivals such as Russia so they might be blamed instead?  Or perhaps some state like Iran might wish to ensure that our Congress had people who might seek open borders that would allow free passage of terror operatives who could act against the “Great Satan”?  Really, the possibilities are endless, and opportunities abound.

How does the magic work?

Now we come to the meat of things.  Yes, I will be revealing things that someone could use to commit fraud.  I assure you, though, that the bad guys already know these things and more.  The problem is that too many good guys don’t know and as a result become victims of fraud.  Consider this as my form of instruction in self-defense tactics.  Consider also that there is overwhelming evidence that every fraud mechanism I describe has been used across multiple states in recent elections for national, state, and even local offices.

Exploiting vote by mail

The first thing to understand is that once a mail-in ballot is received, there is no way to know who it came from.  Yes, there may be a name on the ballot envelope, and even a signature, but both of those are meaningless, as we shall see.  In fact, almost a third of our states don’t even require a signature on a ballot envelope.

To look at how mail-in voting supports fraud, let us begin at the beginning of the life of a ballot.  Many states now have “no excuse” vote by mail.  That means that ballots are sent out to all registered voters.  In California, that includes inactive voters for whom there is no record of having voted in any election for several years.  That means millions of ballots are sent out across the land.  If ballots were snow, you could go skiing in Los Angeles.

Insecure from the start

Once the ballots are sent out, they appear in open mailboxes, in drifts within apartment building hallways, in baskets in nursing homes, and all sorts of unsecured locations available for the taking.  Many of them even end up in the trash as the recipient no longer resides at that address, or worse, never did reside there.  All of these excess ballots are available for harvest and for use in fraud activities.

Completed ballots arrive at various local election offices where they are to be processed for counting.  Even if the ballot envelope bears a name and a signature, there is no assurance that the named voter is actually the one who filled out the enclosed ballot.  The chain of custody that would link a voter with their ballot does not exist at the point a mail-in ballot is received.

The invalidity of signature validation

Some try to point out that a signature on a ballot ensures the identity of the voter, making the ballot legitimate.  Setting aside the fact that nearly one-third of states don’t require signatures on ballot envelopes, and many others only do cursory checks, there is the whole issue of just how inaccurate even good attempts at signature validation are.

Many states that check signatures will report low rejection rates as though that showed that there was only a small percentage of fraudulent ballots in the mix.  Not so!  For anyone with even a limited knowledge of detection theory and ROC curves, a low rejection rate means that it is probable that large numbers of fraudulent ballots are being passed through as valid.  Only a perfect system would give accurate low rates, and none of the systems in use, including human checking, are perfect.

Just another grain of sand on the beach

Once mail-in ballots are opened and the enclosed ballot enters the system, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a fraudulent ballot and a legitimate one.  Essentially, a fraudulent ballot is the equivalent of a counterfeit bill.  Good counterfeits are often passed around through the system and accepted as good money to the detriment of all.  So it is with counterfeit ballots.

For this form of fraud, a fraudster needs to collect up a significant number of the loose ballots mentioned before, fill them out, perhaps add a signature, put them in the official envelope provided, and send them off.  While of few of them might be rejected, most of them will be accepted into the election and counted just as though they were legitimate.  The chance of getting caught in this is minuscule, and the chance of being prosecuted is effectively zero.  One can make good money offering this election manipulating service to interested parties.

How do we stop vote-by-mail fraud?

The simple answer is to eliminate mail-in voting except in very specific and limited cases where a voter cannot vote in person.  The twenty-seven countries in the European Union tried vote by mail, and as a result, 23 have banned it entirely or severely restricted its use to cases of legitimate need.  The rest require ID to get a ballot.

Outside of banning the practice entirely, we can require that people wishing to vote by mail must pick up a ballot upon presentation of valid ID.  We can also limit the mailing of ballots to only those who explicitly request a ballot, follow up to ensure they received it, and then watch for its receipt.

Detecting fraud

There are a few ways to detect vote by mail fraud.  We can look for ballot collectors who are sources of raw ballots for marking and return.  This will require careful observation of locations such as apartment buildings, or of common mailboxes.  It is like fishing where you watch the line to see who takes the bait.

One powerful indicator that shows such fraud is happening is to notice how many people who vote in person are reported to have voted previously by mail.  This will generally be a small number, but it is literally the tip of a very large iceberg of fraud.  Every report likely represents thousands or even tens of thousands of fraudulent votes entering the system.  It won’t tell who is doing it, but it will show fraud is happening.

Registration on the Richter Scale

I had mentioned voter registration rolls as contributing to election uncertainty.  For many years now, most states have maintained their voter rolls in electronic form.  It is convenient, quick to access, easy to maintain, and makes supporting elections simple.  It is also highly vulnerable to manipulation and provides a single point of failure for election integrity.

In order to be included in the list of legal voters, registrants must generally prove they are citizens, of legal age, are alive, and are not subject to restrictions such as a felony conviction or are not mentally competent.  Some states have instituted programs called motor-voter registration, where anyone who is issued a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote.  In such systems, citizenship is confirmed by simply checking a box on the license application.

These centralized databases are relatively easy to penetrate since most of them have internet access.  Hackers with sufficient skill or nation-state actors with substantial resources can access these databases to add new registrations, modify existing data, or delete registrations, all with a low probability of detection.  Furthermore, some states have farmed out voter roll maintenance to third parties, giving them access privileges to “keep the rolls up to date”.  Often essential transparency regarding who might have modification rights in such third parties is lacking.

Besides unauthorized access, most states offer information from their voter rolls for sale.  Such information can include name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, date of last voting activity, and other significant information.  While this information can have legitimate uses in campaigns and related activities, it can also be very valuable to parties with less than honorable intentions.

Just imagine if you were to send out reminders to vote only to members of a particular party, as Facebook did in 2020.  What if you made sure that members of one party were only provided with negative information about their candidates?  What if you were able to block inquiries from one group that might give them useful negative information about a questionable candidate?  How about publishing a map showing where all the potential supporters of a particular candidate lived?

The tie that blinds

Now tie voter rolls to vote by mail systems.  Remember that ballots are sent to voters included in the list of registered voters. That includes names in the list of people who might not even exist.  A fraudster could have ballots mailed to an address of their choosing and wouldn’t even have to go collect ballots for processing.  The post office would deliver them for free!

These ballots would have virtually no chance of detection since there would be no legitimate voter to complain that someone had already voted in their name.  Even with signature checking, most of the fraudulent ballots would likely be passed through.

The voter roll data can be used in several ways.  Active voters can be isolated from use to reduce the likelihood of detection.  Registered voters who are listed as infrequent or inactive voters form a pool of registrations that can be used in creating fraudulent ballots, and they are also of low detection probability.

Sometimes the number of available inactive voters is insufficient to provide enough votes to ensure the desired results in an election. By combining the voter roll data with lists of eligible but unregistered voters, new voter registrations can be injected into the voter rolls for real people with real names and addresses, but who have never registered.  Same-day registrations can be used with these “voters” to make up a needed number.  This last pool can be useful for detecting fraud when fraudsters get greedy or desperate.

Sometimes, though, they will just make up “voters”.  When this happens, we can see numbers of registered voters that exceed the number of people eligible to be voters.  Watch for it.

Changing with the times

It turns out that this combination of manipulated voter rolls with mail-in ballots can be easier to detect than “pure” mail-in fraud.  The trick to detection here is to get “snapshots” of voter rolls before, during, and after an election.  People who have analyzed voter roll history in previous elections have often seen that the number of registered voters will jump up just before and during an election, and will then fall back to numbers consistent with registrations that existed well before the election.

These “new” registrations have an increased probability of being injections made to support fraud.  Careful analysis combined with canvassing efforts can uncover considerable evidence that could be used to prove the existence of sufficient fraud to invalidate the results of an election – including proof acceptable in court.  It would be difficult to show who might be responsible, but if the IP addresses of entities that accessed voter rolls were captured, especially of same-day accesses, it should be possible to generate a list of suspects.

Upping the ante

You might wonder how these late injections could support fraud if the registrations are added after ballots are mailed out.  Remember all those late-night deliveries of boxes of ballots in various swing states on election night 2020?  Bear with me for a bit and you will see where they might have originated.

As a slightly more sophisticated version of voter roll expansion, in addition to name, address, birth date, etc., a signature image can be included in the data.  This image would be used in signature validation of received mail-in ballots in those locations where signatures are checked.  At that point, you would have complete voter registration, indistinguishable from a real person that could be used to attest to the validity of a mail-in ballot.

Where do ballots come from, daddy?

As for those late-night ballot drops, with the addition of one small bit (well, not so small) of technology, the stage is set.  That small bit is a high-speed print-on-demand and envelope stuffing system.  These systems are widely used to prepare all those custom mailings we receive advertising all those irresistible offers, donation requests, or various other sources of recyclable paper.

These systems, operating under computer control can print tens of thousands of individually customized pages per hour.  That includes envelopes.  Some of the systems can actually automatically stuff the printed pages into the envelopes and seal them ready for mailing.  Some of these printer system vendors offer full turnkey systems to print ballots, stuff envelopes for mailing, and perform signature recognition/verification on returned ballots, offering an end-to-end solution for overworked and underpaid election officials.

An unparalleled opportunity

Just imagine what you could do on election day with such a system.  The polls close, but counting continues.  At that point, you would know who had voted in person and would have a good idea of the totals.  You would have a pool of available ghost voters that had been injected into the voter rolls who could be counted on to vote as you direct since, after all, you created them.

You own, or have access to a high-speed printing and stuffing system.  With a simple file transfer to load the printer with the necessary information, the system begins to print up customized ballots, perhaps even on special state-authorized ballot paper, each ballot carefully marked for the candidate(s) of your choice so there is no need for that slow, hand marking of blank ballots.

In addition to ballots, you can print custom envelopes, complete with voter names, addresses, barcodes, and even signatures – oddly enough, the same signatures that you put on file in the voter registrations you created.  After all, a signature image is no different from anything else you wanted to print on the envelope, from a filled-in oval on a ballot form, or even a dated postmark.

The prepared ballots are now mated with prepared ballot return envelopes, sealed, and delivered to counting centers for counting.  If there is a signature validation step, these ballots are more likely to pass than legitimate hand-signed ballots since the signatures will be exact matches to the signature images on file.  Imagine that!

In just a few hours of operation one of these systems can produce enough ballots to completely change the outcome of an election, not just locally, but even for a state like California or New York, or Michigan.  As reported by Patrick Colbeck, such a system, known as Relia-Vote,  was available in the Detroit Election Bureau on election night 2020.  This could be election fraud on an industrial scale.

Hard, but not impossible, to detect

Counterfeit ballots produced by modern automated systems are among the most difficult to detect as they can be produced on the same systems and using the same paper as was used to prepare legitimate ballots.  To actually detect them, it would be necessary to forensically analyze every original paper ballot.  Ballot images would not suffice as it would be necessary to determine if the ink used was from a printer, or was from a ballpoint pen or marker.  Time consuming and expensive, but not impossible.

Wrapping it up

I’ve covered a lot of ground, but haven’t even touched on electronic election management systems that aren’t supposed to be internet-connected, but often are, and how vulnerable to manipulation they are.  I haven’t discussed tabulator machines that can be hacked to give incorrect counts while appearing to be operating correctly.

I haven’t discussed how the systems that collect the votes from all the local centers can be hacked and subverted to give false results.  I haven’t discussed all the evidence that shows how IP addresses from outside the US were shown to be active on “air-gapped” election equipment during the 2020 election.

I haven’t discussed distribution networks that act to distribute counterfeit ballots to mailboxes and dropboxes so they can be inserted into the counting process. I haven’t discussed how a national election can be purchased for less than thirty million dollars. I haven’t discussed how many other methods for fraud can be used to hack our elections.  If I did, this article would be a book.

If you want more information, check out the videos and reports at the Mike Lindell website I gave above, or get a copy of Patrick Colbeck’s book.  A good summary of the weekend presentations is here.  Go to the TrueTheVote website and look at their material.  There is lots more good information beyond what I have been able to provide here.

We are running out of time

Time is short.  In just over a week’s time, the 22-month Federal requirement for the preservation of election records expires and we can expect an orgy of destruction as many locations will be able to legally remove most evidence of fraud in 2020.  There is still time to file injunctions to force the preservation of records, but we must act now.

Even more important, in just over two months from now, we have midterm elections.  Most of the same fraud mechanisms that were used in 2020 remain intact and are likely to be used in 2022 as well.  Further, our enemies have had time to think up new approaches, as well as to study how we have analyzed the 2020 results and come up with ways to improve their deception tactics.

The opposition

There are powerful interests that don’t want election fraud exposed.  Many of them can be found within our own government.  Our election systems have been declared vital infrastructure, yet the actions of agencies specifically charged with protecting that infrastructure have been to complain that anyone who points out the existence of fraud is guilty of undermining faith in our election systems.  They keep pushing the lie that our election systems are safe, secure, honest, and operate with the highest standards of integrity.  They complain that trust in our systems is at an all-time low because some enemies of the people are spreading misinformation and disinformation about the lack of integrity in our election systems.

To them, I respond: trust must be earned.  You lost the trust we originally had in you by lying to us and trying to convince us that black was white and that any problems were simply glitches or human errors.  Those excuses are now in the same class as “my dog ate my homework”.  If you want to regain our trust, stop telling us that fluid running down our legs is rainwater.

Try being honest about the problems and do the work we pay you to do to fix them.  Stop with the press conferences telling us how great things are.  Stop chasing after people who are trying to do what you should be doing.  Stop sending Federal agents out to harass honest citizens who are merely expressing the concerns they have about what they see happening.  Stop wasting time pawing through a former First Lady’s underwear drawer and go out and do your damn jobs!  If you can’t, then own up and get out of the way.

By David Robb

David Robb is a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative and a practicing scientist who has been working in industry for over 50 years. One of his specialties is asking awkward questions. A large part of his work over the years has involved making complex scientific issues clear and understandable to non-specialists. Sometimes he even succeeds.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Blue State Conservative. The BSC is not responsible for, and does not verify the accuracy of, any information presented.

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