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You are here Editorials Guest Commentary Black Box Voting: New Voter List Solution; Hacking Update

Black Box Voting: New Voter List Solution; Hacking Update

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By Bev Harris, Founder of Black Box Voting

One important report below, and one quick update on the website hack follows.

An award-winning voting rights innovation -- which would work great in the USA -- improved voter lists in Pakistan, where an SMS mobile phone text-messaging system got 55 million voters to check their registration and polling location; voter turnout increased, and marginalized groups like persons with disabilities measurably increased election engagement. In addition, public voter list display at over 50,000 neighborhood locations helped resolve problems on the spot and aided in detection of systemically disenfranchised groups. Voter list display engaged everyone in list scrutiny and caught several districts involved in a voter list fraud incident.  Crowd-sourcing voter list accuracy increases public engagement in elections and could easily be expanded to any country.

Did you know that there are awards for election transparency innovations? At the Global Conference on Electoral Reforms, Pakistan won an award for its voter SMS system. Public interest organizations like Ushahidi offer cash awards for innovations that enhance public participation.

“Election integrity is a complex problem, and complex problems require a suite of solutions. Progress can best be made through incremental continuous steps. So pick the step where you want to start.” — Eva Waskell

Great details - follow the link above for sources, more info!

... Pakistan also put voter lists on display for 21 days at more than 50,000 display centers across the country, posting corrected lists shortly before the election. Voters could use neighborhood display centers to resolve problems discovered either with the SMS system or at the display area. Involving the public in this way yielded some remarkable results. Among them:

1. Voting rights groups, like the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) analyzed voter lists and discovered over 10 million women missing from the rolls, prompting efforts to find out why.
2. One group, the Ahmadi community, was found to be sidelined into a supplemental list, with over 100,000 Ahmadis affected.
3. Over 100,000 residents of Karachi were discovered to have been displaced into the wrong voting district, remedied before the election.
4. Evidence of voter roll stuffing in at least four districts was detected after display of preliminary voter lists. Voters spotted irregularities triggering a formal investigation which discovered that just five individuals, without knowledge of the voters, had altered thousands of voter records. The false registrations were removed and action taken against the perpetrators.

Publishing voter lists caught disenfranchisement, subtle data diversions, voter list stuffing and data errors. Because any person at all can analyze full voter lists, sunshine hit the problems and most were resolved. Pakistan did not do a thing that we can't do here in the USA, if we get to work on it.

* * * * *

: Thank you for your patience and support as we migrate the huge old website to the "new" Black Box Voting. We identified the perpetrators of the DoS (Denial of Service) attack that permanently shut down our forums. The attack came from a source that turned out to be readily identifiable and to my surprise, is domiciled in the USA. I am researching its corporate parentage and political contributions and I am providing the logs and a complaint to law enforcement authorities.

A second hack targeted our new site. We dealt with that quickly and effectively. There appear to be connections with the second hack and a company owned by one of Rupert Murdoch's former partners in NewsCorp, the discredited news organization prosecuted last year for illegal phone tapping. A consultant I spoke with encouraged me to turn the information over to the investigative agency in Great Britain handling the NewsCorp case; at any rate, this certainly makes me wonder just how widespread these private corporate invasions are, because the NewsCorp phone tapping scandal involved a large network of targets and was only caught when the dorks wiretapped the royal family.

The linkage on the New Year's Eve Black Box Voting attack is only slightly more ambiguous than the attack on our old forums; it traveled through two steps, the first of which disabled intrusion protection software, the second unleashing a DoS attack.

Frankly, I expected the hacks to travel through an impenetrable jungle of Chinese and Ukrainian IP hosts, but such was not the case. The attacks were readily identifiable and came through specific US and Western European companies, with identifiable timestamps, host IP, and a footprint that stuck out like a big cat on fresh-fallen snow. By all means, if you operate a political or voting rights website, I will be happy to privately share information on how to see if the same characters are bumbling around in your site logs.


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