tv The Communicators Kim Zetter CSPAN October 29, 2018 8:00pm-8:33pm EDT
>> midterm elections a week away, next on "the communicators," a look at voting machines and election security. then we hear from political strategist james carville and mary matalin and political analyst amy walter with their take on the upcoming election. later, a debate for nebraska's 2nd congressional district seat and another in new york's 31st district -- 2 the 1st district u.s. house race. ..
the reason that we are weary are today, is because of decisions that were made all the way back in 2002. after the florida presidential debacle, for the supreme court essentially decided the presidential outcome, the lawmakers in congress and senate wanted to get rid of the punchcard and where they thought the problem in the election. so the past station called the help america vote act, which was divine design to get rid of punchcard machines. they gave states $3.9 billion to upgrade election administration processes and procedures. also the voting machine. they couldn't use that money on
punchcard machines. it really pushed states into buying electronic voting machines and many of the states, the majority of states at the time chose to move into paperless, what we called direct recording electronic machines. all of these machines, whether they are paperless or optical scanning machines have paper, have to -- security problems within. >> with a aware in 2002 that there were cyber security concerns? >> they should have been aware. there was a hearing held for informing the legislators and in the hearing, there were security experts who testified that the current voting machine that were available were not secure. they also warned against the problem of getting paperless machines that couldn't be audited. so -- the paper you can compare against.
so they once against that. they were all ignored. >> so five states or so, still have paper drills? is that correct? >> yes. >> why is that? >> they purchased these machines at the get-go and without federal funds or local state tax funds, they don't have the money to replace them. many states around 2014 -- 2006, quickly recognize the problem a paperless machines they had. they passed legislation that required counties to either add we call a voter verifiable people auto trail, to the paper machine. a scroll paper. or to switch to optical scan machines. there are states that didn't have the money to do that. but there is one state, georgia, that has the money and simply refused to upgrade to a paper trail or to optical scan
machine. >> kim, are you more concerned given your research and writing about this, about the actual voting machine itself or by influenced by let's say the russia? >> i think the russian thread is a red herring. i think we are too focused on that. although we should be think before it because it brought attention back to this problem. it's existed for a decade. in this country, we don't tend to give elections any kind of notice until there is a crisis or until it's election year. so i suppose we should be thankful that they've shut a spotlight on this. the problem is more widespread than that. prior to 2016, these machines were still insecure. anyone could have altered the machines during that period. anyone who disagreed with the foreign policy, or terrorist group that hired expertise, to do something for them. or even -- those are the
intentional problems. there's also the problems with software glitches in these machines. second produce the same kind of results. we have cases where the voting machine has either not recorded accurately or just not recorded hundreds of thousands of ballots entirely. if you don't have a paper trail to back it up, once you lose the digital tally the digital tally is incorrect, there's no way to recover from that. >> you for the report and the crisis of election security, that what you see on the screen, what is recorded on the paper and what is actually punched in as a vote can all three be different. >> yes. if you have what we call a voter generated ballot, like a paper ballot that gets on the skin machine, that's the voter creating level. whatever gets recorded on the machine, could be different. you have the paper ballot and if you do an audit, if they have a
mandatory article, requires them to physically, look at that paper ballot and compared to digital ballot, that's okay. you discover then, if the machine is recorded -- the problem is, a machine that has one of those paper schools that i talk about, on the paper scroll also generated by the machine. so can be converted to display something on the screens for the voter that shows one thing, also displays on that scroll and paper something else that shows the voter one thing. but inside in the machine on the day of digital tally can record something different. >> you talked about falluja county in 2000 and the problems they had their prior to the 2002 act. >> everyone was focused in 2000 on the punchcard machines and the problems that it brought.
at that county, there was an incident that occurred. it didn't get a lot of attention and the attention it did get, disappeared and got lost in all of the focus on the punchcard machines. what happens, was around 10:00 p.m., midnight, 10:00 p.m. on election night, prior to that, ahead of george bush. around 10:00 p.m., al gore's members started reimbursing. it reversed more than 60000 votes. there aren't -- it was all happening in one precinct. so his numbers were showing a negative 16 pounds. exclamation that they provided was that a faulty memory card was inserted into the cat creating machine. it wasn't a legitimate memory card. there was one memory card for the precinct and it was uploaded on election night. the logs showed an hour after that was open loaded, another, second memory card for the same
precinct was uploaded. after that second card was uploaded, that's when the votes started disappearing. no one has ever been able to explain what exactly happened with it. whether it was a roque card that was intentionally designed to hack the vote and expired and therefore erased too many votes for him or whether it was a mishap but no one has excellent why to memory cards were uploaded. that's the main problem in terms of -- the fact the second memory card was ever able to be uploaded. >> 2004 vote in ohio. >> yes, so they had concerns about the machines in ohio, ohio was largely using punchcard machines. they had replaced yet. there were still counties already using optical scanning machines and also paperless machines. he and his group, he revealed this only recently. he went to croak to try to look
at the software to make sure that it would be counting those accurately. the court denied access to it because the pride prior to the software machines is considered a trade secret. so the private voting machine companies go to court to fight against it. the courts generally agree with them. >> over the years on c-span, we have talked a lot about the company called default, does it still exist? >> no. it got out of the election in 2009. so there was -- there were four countries around the time. elections systems and software in nebraska, there was a company called sequoia voting system and the fourth one called specific. 2009, the got out of business after they had already spent all the money on the machine. they decided to sell off where they tried to sell off all of
their business to election systems and software. that would have consolidated the two top voting machine makers. the justice department intervened and forced them to sell off part of those assets to a third company. this is a company based in canada. dominion voting system. dominion now has part of the old assets and contracts and yes and is as part of the gold contracts and assets. the voting system also went out of business and sold its business to dominion. now we've got dominion and sequoia consolidated. in this canadian company called dominion. and the s&s. followed by dominion, one company and -- >> that said, is there a danger in that? >> yes. so if -- maybe controlling the
boat is too strong of a word, but there is certainly writing the software for more than 60% of the machine, counting those in the u.s. these are some of the optical scan machines. except that the dre's that are still being used as you pointed out, 56. [crowd boos] with this company, basically controlling a lot of how we vote in the u.s., have we heard from elections officials from the precinct level at the state level, the county level with their concerns at all? >> so there are election officials who have educated themselves on the issue and have worked with computer security experts and election integrity activists. they've taken steps to try and make their elections more secure and have better integrity. california for example, after they discovered they stalled uncertified software voting
machines in 19 counties are, basically require -- passed a law requiring counties in california having a child. there are other states as well. florida even though they were the mishap that caused everyone to go to paperless machines. after a major problem with paperless machines in florida, sarasota county in 2008, they passed a bill that required all the counties there to have paper trails or paper ballot. so there are elections who have problems with this and taken steps but they haven't gone far enough. so the fact that no one can examine the software on the voting machines afterwards, is still a problem. the fact that the machines are proprietary, no change betty there. what is going actually into the voting machines is still machine. >> do you believe the election has been altered because of cyber security concerns in voting machines?
>> i suppose i should split it up into two questions. there's the question of whether or not somebody has intentionally hacked the machine to alter an election or whether or not there has been glitches. the latter has definitely occurred. we have documented cases of where the machines have failed to record ballots or a recorded into correctly. they were able to the wrong candidate was elected by the machines. as far as subverting intentionally, we have no evidence of that. no one actually has evident actually look for evidence. in order to have evidence, we have to for small, mandate the state have an audit. in the absents of actually being able to audit paper ballots against the digital trail, you never really know in many cases
if it has been converted. >> has it been created? >> there are states that have mandatory audit laws. none of them are sufficient. so what they would do, they will have an audit law that only kicks in if the margin of victory is 1% or less. there has to be a narrow victory. if you want to throw in the election, you're going to make sure the margin is wide. so the automatic trigger for the automatic lot it law never gets triggered. even when they do an audit, so let's say it is an audit that were to take place in a small margin of victory or even a large margin, with the usually do is take a random sampling of ballots from a certain percentage of randomly chosen precinct. they'll say, if you have 146 precincts in your county, they might take 1% of those precincts
and randomly choose which precincts they are going to audit. the problem with that, it's focus is on specific precinct. they aren't ones with problems occurring. you really need to do is have an audit that takes a certain percentage of ballots from all the precincts across the county so that your at least touching every single county. so there's something that is called a was think audit. it's a statistically audit that does is kind audit. the only state that summit is colorado. >> these voting machines with a hundred and 14000 or so precincts or polling stations in the u.s., they are not connected to the internet. are they? >> the country. you hear this over and over again. stated by election officials and federal officials that machines aren't connected to the internet. many of them have modems embedded into them. the modems are used to transmit the vote totals on election night to the county election office. the modem concept they contact
the cells tower. that tower traffic these days in our modern times actually goes to internet. the same kinds of routers and switches that the regular internet traffic culture. also, in between that cell tower in the voting machine and intruder can intercept data going to the cell tower and intercept the committee case and, the phone call. if they were trying to change boats that were going to the headquarters on election night, that's let's concerning because they are unofficial tallies. you're going to create havoc if the unofficial tallies transmitter on a election night don't actually match the tallies later that are counted after the election. that will cause a lot of mistrust in the election. ultimately, if you rely on the official count taken after the election, then it doesn't matter if someone is off other than the fact that people will miss trust the results. there's another danger that.
if you can trick a voting machine into contacting your device, your pic sell your tower, is that a legitimate legitimate tower, you can use a connection to get back into the voting machine and get back into the target later. and alter votes and software that way. >> has happened? was it just been devastated? >> we don't know. we really don't know. no one has tested this. even the labs that do federal testing and certifications are not testing this process for security. so we don't know. we don't know if this machine has boehner ability and we don't know if anyone has actually engaged in this kind of activity. what's more, the department of homeland security 2016, has been working the state and counties to shore up the system. and his skin up the system for vulnerability. it's only focused on the internet system like the website
that post the results or the website that stores the voter registration database. they are not looking at the voting transmission to see if they are secure. they are not looking at the voting machine to see if there could secure. they are not looking at the calculation machine. under the court system, the core clinical system of an election, dhs doesn't have a hand in any of that. >> is a security little tighter once we get to the state level? >> i suppose that's -- i'm not sure what you mean. >> we talked about the modems an individual 40 machines, you should ask -- what other potential factors are the? >> even if a machine isn't connected to the internet, it can still be hacked. it can be hacked physically with the presence of someone having access to a voting machine. that's the less efficient way because you have to hack it each individual machine. but you could pick out certain
precinct machines and how those physically and throw an election. the better of or most efficient way, would be put them all through the machine that is used, program the machines. prior to each election, the county election office or the voting machine vendor, will actually program memory cards for that election. it tells a machine who the candidates, what are the contest being decided, that gets inserted to the voting machine. if you can alter, subvert that machine, there are memory cards, then you can pass road software to the voting machine that way. >> was the role -- what is and what is the role of the commission? >> the election system commission was created by the same law that provided states with the funds to budding machines. the initial purpose of the eac
was simply to serve as the body to go out many two states. to make sure the states have a plan for how they were going to use the money and to provide them with feedback and then don't have the money. there were designated as a an occurring house for election best practices. eventually, it's overseeing the federal testing and certification voting machines. we call that federal testing a voter machine but is not done by any federal lab. it's in by a commercial lab. but machine companies pay for that testing and the eac then sort of administers that process of receiving reports from the lab, posting them on the website and hosting other information. >> so there's a semi- regulatory role for them? >> there is no regulatory role. lawmakers didn't want them to have any regulatory role.
they wanted them to have the least amount of authority that they would have because they wanted to maintain the authority of elections at the local level. the state level and the county level. they didn't want federal interference. the problem with that, it's leaked into the eac. all they can do is suggest things to the state. they can create standards for voting machines and then the voting machines get tested by that standard. you can't force states to use only machines that have been tested and certified. they get a lot of pushback from the state about the standards. they get a lot of pushback from the states about a lot of things. so we need the asc is a weekend body. >> has been an effort to update the america vote at work increase its funding? >> many times. the primary thing that has bee been -- the primary update that has been attempted about five times, was helping the vote act
to require states to use only machines that have paper ballots or trails. and also to mandate the audits. it's never got any traction at all. there's even a current law, secure elections act that will attempt to do the same thing. again, i got water down. does not have any movement. >> with the concern about having a paper truck? >> the concerns argued against paper trails initially were by the voting machine vendors and it was going to cost much money, to add a printer to the machine, that election workers, coworkers who are elderly, retired, coworkers would know to do if the printer ran out of paper, most states are not even using that option with the paper printer. they are using optical scan machines.
election officials have argued against the paper ballots because federal law requires that after any federal election, we have to store the election materials. it would include the ballot for 22 months. that means that election officials have to store thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of ballots for more than a year. that like that. the talk about chain of custody issues. if you got thousands of ballots stored in a warehouse, what if someone alters those? that like the handling of paper. they were happy when the mission machines were paperless. those are many of the organs against paper. >> has a been any effort to federal lives, voting standards or voting machines? >> no. there are standards. to hope giving money in addition to creating the eac, mandated that the eac would help create new standards for voting machines. so those have been done, they
were created, the last standard created in 2005. more than a decade old. obviously competing has advanced much for than that. computer security has advanced much further than that. the voting machines that are currently on the market today, have been tested and certified to a decade old standard. the security level is very low. the eac is working on advancing those standards. that's really the extent of any kind of federalization that we are talking about. again, congress and constitution has separated elections, put it in the hands of state and local officials. there is a very aggressive fight against any attempt to federalize elections. >> giving the national camper station we've had since the 2016 election, about election interference, what has been done since then? >> there was a initially a lot of pushback when they tried to offer assistance to states of
county. you have to understand that county election officials don't have big budget. we never have really well-funded elections in this country. so they often don't even have the money to hire full-time it staff. so what the security offered to do, prior to 2016 and subsequently is to provide computer security expertise. they can only do -- they can only work with states and counties that ask them to come in. so it's a voluntary system. since then, his 2016, they have worked with about two to two dozen states. they did more in being scans on their websites. their internet service. they found vulnerabilities and help them get patched. they also are sharing
information if they see evidence of chatter they indicate that hackers are trying to get into the voting machine. they show that election officials. they also set a sensor on the external network to see if there are temps coming in. that kind of activity is very limited. it doesn't get at the core systems and it doesn't address the insider threat at all. >> cyber security analyst and reporter. she's the author of the book, countdown to zero date. was the topic of that book? >> that's about a virus form that was created by the u.s. and israel to sabotage iran's nuclear program. >> specs that? >> yes. >> when you first started writing about these topics, did you see it heading to where we are today?
>> i'm actually surprised that it's taken this long to get this far as a focus on elections or even the idea that somebody would be averting elections. they pooh-poohed the idea for a long time. people who are -- the willful ignorance, let's say that nobody wanted to believe the idea that people might actually might be in our systems and altering elections. when it was discovered in 2010, i went into the research of that book, assuming that a tax like that had already occurred by the u.s. i was convinced that it hadn't been the first attack. it just seems logical, they been developing these capabilities for a decade. it didn't seem right it would have taken them till 2010 for them to launch the first one. the research shows that it was the first offensive sabotage attack. but it really is surprise to me,
the writing as you.out, on the wall, a deck and a wet ago. we just don't know about it and has been happening. >> thanks for joining us. >> headline in the pittsburgh gazette, president trump will visit cities to grieve with pittsburgh. tomorrow marks three days after a gunman killed 11 people in a synagogue there. sarah sanders said the first lady will join him. >> comedy began today with a few words about the heinous killing of 11 jewish americans at the tree of life synagogue in pennsylvania on saturday. as you know, the shooter is in custody and the fbi is on the scene leading the litigation with the support of state and
local law enforcement. this atrocity was a chilling act with mass murder, an act of hatred and above all, it was an act of evil. anti-semitism is a way to humanity that is responsible for many of the worst orders in human history. we all have a duty to confront anti- semitism in all its forms and every where in anywhere it appears. the american people reject hatred, bigotry, prejudice and violence. we are a nation that believes in religious liberty, tolerance and respect. we are a people who cherish the dignity of every human life. today, america grieves the precious lives that were stolen. our hearts ache for every person who lost a loved one. the 11 jewish americans who are horribly murdered represented the very theft of our nation.
they were brothers and sisters who look out for each other, they were doctors who cared for citizens in need. they were proud grandparents who taught their grandchildren to value faith, family and country. they were the religious heart of the tree of life community. our nation warns the loss of these extraordinary americans. we also pray for those who were wounded. our hearts are with the four brave police officers who were shot and injured while trying to stop the attack. we think god for these officers and for every member of law enforcement who responded swiftly and bravely. in the wake of the attack, we witnessed americans of every faith and tradition coming together to mourn with their fellow citizens. to support one another and to stand in solidarity with americans jewish community. the president cherishes the american jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country. he adores jewish americans as part of his only family. the president is a grandfather of several u.s. grand children. his daughter is a jewish american and his son-in-law is a descendent of holocaust survivor. tomorrow the president and first lady will travel to pennsylvania to express the support of the americans people and grieve with the community. >> in addition to the president's trip, the attorney
general announced the justice department has launched the website consolidating information for reporting crimes. mr. rosenstein says the website is a one-stop portal of information for law enforcement, prosecutors and the general public to learn about all the resources available to report hate crimes. democratic representative of new hampshire tweets, no one should be attacked because of their religion or how they worship. this hate crime reporting site is an important step forward in combating bigotry but we must continue promoting values of inclusivity and acceptance that we hold dear as americans. >> this midterm elections days away, watch the competition for the control of congress. on c-span. see for yourself, the candidates in the debates from key house and senate races.
make c-span your primary source. for campaign 2018. >> with midterm elections were a week away, we hear from political strategist james and political analyst amy. from the councilman on for an ablation's, this is about an hour. >> hi, hello. welcome to today's session. i think on the evil of such an and cited election. executive producer at cnn. i will be presiding with this distinguished group. james, political strategist and author of we are so right, they are so wrong, for 2016. [laughter] mary meddle in this delicious and honors college at louisiana state and republic and strategist. amy walter who is a national editor for the political report in the take away, on wnyc.