VoteAllegheny on Pennsylvania SB 563 - Electronic Voting for Overseas and Military Voters


Follow the Vote...

We must conserve the security of our vote. Please let our Pennsylvania senators know: Internet voting cannot be done securely.

We care about our military, and want their vote - and ours - to be safe, secure, recountable, and anonymous. Pennsylvania laws require no less! Yet electronic voting cannot provide any of these requirements.

Ohio has outlawed Internet voting. In Kentucky, county elections directors banded together to reject a similar bill, as they knew it could not be done safely.

Washington, D.C. planned an Internet voting system, and in testing it was hacked by University of Michigan grad students, who caused all votes to be cast for famous robots, and who fended off international intruders until the officials finally noticed the rigged vote - when a voter happened to mention the playing of the Michigan Fight Song whenever a vote was cast.

Internet and phone lines in foreign countries are not secure. We cannot make them secure. Some countries have only one or two providers, the portal through which all our votes would pass.

There were reports of Russia fomenting a denial of service attack on Ukraine just before elections. The country of Estonia held elections by Internet, and could not figure out how to tell whether voters have voted once or more than once.

This bill is especially troubling in two ways.

First, it creates a definition of "Military-overseas ballot" as "An electronic submission of a paper ballot." To sound like an impertinent teenager, what does that even mean? How can an electronic set of electrical impulses, of bits and bytes traveling through space, be considered to be a "paper ballot"?

Second, the bill does not say whether the Commonwealth would receive the ballots or each county would receive them. It does not say how they would be received. It does not say how emailing a ballot could possibly be a submission of a secret ballot.

The bill is in Appropriations, but if the counties are to pay for this undefined endeavor, the Appropriations Committee may feel there is "no cost," and that the Internet is free. Notably, this new bill not only thinks such a thing can be implemented, but that it can be implemented 60 days following passage of the bill! It also has a deadline for implementation (which could be a conflict) of January 1, 2019, which seems to indicate that they expect the bill to move fast and the counties to move faster.

Of course, "military and overseas" voters include not only soldiers in trenches, but also embassy workers, NGO workers, teachers abroad, and others who would be voting from overseas. That could be tens of thousands of voters. And how would the counties receiving the ballots know whether the ballots were being submitted by foreign nationals wishing to tamper with our elections?

We want all of our votes to count! Our press release of October 24, 2017, is here. Our press release of December 21, 2015, is here, and still obtains. We will once again be patient but loud about this - we cannot do this securely! Where Senator Stefano wrote a memo to his colleagues stating that it would be secure, he does not know how to make it secure. The bill does not state how it could be made secure. Haven't our good Senators noticed that the Internet has been less and less secure? What do they feel they would accomplish with this bill?

We are available to talk with whomever seeks more information.

VoteAllegheny's Flier Relative to a prior bill, which still applies to SB 563