Today we’ve got more background information about the Georgia case, Curling v. Raffensperger, in which cybersecurity expert Prof. J. Alex Halderman demonstrated in court that he could hack into a Dominion voting system with a pen.
Interestingly, even though this trial just started on January 9, the case dates back to 2017, in the months after Trump’s shocking win. Isn’t it amusing that in the wake of Trump’s win, it was the LEFT who were challenging the validity of voting machine results? As we all know, it was perfectly okay to do that after the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton lost. (Challenges to mail-in ballots used to be fine, too, because most mail-in votes were cast by the military and tended to lean GOP.)
Here’s the AP report from Day 1 of the trial, before Haldeman’s presentation.
Thanks to a report in NEWSMAX, we now know that this case was brought by a liberal activist group called the Coalition for Good Governance, which claimed that the State of Georgia’s use of voting machines using touchscreen computers --- casting votes without the verification of a print ballot --- made the vote counts susceptible to manipulation.
In 2020, Georgia went with another vendor, Dominion Voting Systems, and started using machines that along with their touchscreen provided voters with a printed ballot showing a QR code with their voting information. But the Coalition for Good Governance asked a federal judge to order them to stop using even these machines, saying they were vulnerable to attack as well and that the QR codes could not be easily read.
The NEWSMAX piece goes back over Haldeman’s courtroom demonstration in detail. With “five seconds and a Bic pen,” as he put it, he caused the machine to reboot into “safe mode,” which he said allows a person to “copy or change files on the voting machine, change its operating settings, or install malware.” He told the court it’s possible to read, monitor or change “anything,” including the ballots themselves.
He also demonstrated what he could do with a $10 “smart card,” explaining that these can be programmed “to replicate cards used by poll workers, voters and technicians to access the voting machines.” He said the voter cards can be used county-wide to “print as many ballots as you would like.”
We have to wonder if a leftist group like the Coalition for Good Governance, when they first filed suit in 2017, ever dreamed that it would one day be Trump and his supporters questioning what might have been done with electronic voting machines to “steal” the election from TRUMP in 2020. Talk about strange bedfellows. It seems to us that if they win their case now, they actually help support Trump’s allegations. Recall that Trump lost in Georgia by only about 12,000 votes statewide.
It should be mentioned that the extremely litigious Dominion Voting Systems still has a defamation suit going in a Delaware court against NEWSMAX, who has chosen NOT to settle. NEWSMAX maintains that it has acted within the proper bounds of a media organization by reporting the claims made by President Trump and his attorneys. They also had dutifully reported Dominion’s denials of all the Trump team’s claims, and even invited the company to appear in person to rebut those claims, an invitation they say was refused.
Dominion has released a statement in response to Haldeman’s courtroom demonstration, saying that “his experiment did not happen in the real world, and he had far more than a Bic pen.” They said the court had ordered Haldeman to be “given all the passwords, security cards, exact election files and more --- everything he would need to try to cause trouble.” They said that doing so would require “a criminal conspiracy between an army of US election officials and thousands of in-person American voters.” The access needed was “implausible and conspiratorial.”
Dominion also cited a conclusion by CISA (DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) that Haldeman’s claims have been “mitigated by existing election procedures,” which they say have been strengthened.
So for now, we await Haldeman’s specific response to these counter-claims by Dominion. In the meantime, we certainly don’t mean it to be a reflection on Dominion when we say that we take anything CISA says with a grain of CISA-salt.