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Shock: Voting Machines Available for Sale on eBay, Highlighting Election Vulnerabilities

Electronic voting machines have come under fire in recent years both for their frequent malfunctions and for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. And, it turns out, if a hacker wanted to experiment with our electronic voting systems, all he'd have to do is head over to eBay, where he could purchase a used machine for around a hundred bucks.

I just got back from my polling place here in Ohio, and I noticed that they're having some technical problems in my precinct. For starters, one of the two electronic poll books had lost its charge and was sitting on a charger. And as I was casting my ballot on the electronic voting machine, the printout tape appeared to be in the beginning stages of jamming, so some of the lines printed over one another. If for some reason the board of elections decided there was a need to review the paper trail, my votes might not show up — or at least wouldn't match the votes the machine had recorded. Having been a poll worker and presiding judge for many years, I know these kinds of problems are a fairly regular occurrence, especially the paper jams, which inevitably happen to one or more of the machines at least once, if not several times every Election Day. It's one of the reasons I've long been a proponent of doing away with voting machines and going back to paper ballots that can be easily tracked and more importantly, can't be hacked.

Malfunctions are one thing; hacking is quite another. The Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Justice, and the FBI issued a joint statement on Monday warning of efforts by foreign actors to interfere in our elections.

“Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference," the joint statement read. "Our goal is clear: ensure every vote is counted and counted correctly. At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.”

You can find plenty of YouTube videos from people showing how electronic voting machines can be hacked. And a new report at Wired shows vulnerabilities that should concern all Americans as we go to the polls today and head into the 2020 presidential election. The folks at Wired were able to purchase used voting machines on eBay.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

For an individual or group determined to interfere in our elections, it would be a simple matter to pick up some used machines to experiment on.