PRESS RELEASE: Technology Experts Discuss Election Hacking


National Association of Voting Officials
and the Election Integrity Community
Media Contact: 650-726-1133

November 24, 2016 To: Election Officials

We, the authors of this letter, are election process experts, involved in the creation of completely transparent open source election systems.

Democracy is the core tenet of our nation. Without it, we are no different than any of the other myriad forms of government, from monarchy to plutocracy, from fascism to dictatorship. Each registered voting citizen in our democratic nation has a right to cast a vote and to have that vote counted as cast. This is the definition of a democratic election.

It is scientifically concluded that these voting systems are vulnerable to manipulation. One relevant government study, “Top-to-Bottom Review,” conducted by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, in 2007, concluded these vulnerabilities.

We cannot currently know, until further study, the exact method that was used to possibly modify the outcome. However, many methods of modifying the software and the tally system are widely understood by the computer science community and have been demonstrated time and again. Known attack vectors include:

  • ●  Hacking the most recent software updates that are applied to the machines before the election
  • ●  Modifying the running code in the machine via wireless technology
  • ●  Physically hacking the machine while voting, so subsequent votes tally differently
  • ●  Modifying the tallying software local to the precinct, and,
  • ●  Modifying the database of results at the election center

    Our examination of the available exit data, collected by Edison Exit Polling, shows a large and unprecedented discrepancy between the exit polling and the final vote count at minimum in certain states—the so-called swing states of Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Florida. That we found this discrepancy in these states is especially troubling.

    The systems in question are proprietary. The source code is not available to the general public, and thus we cannot examine the code for bugs. This would not prevent foreign entities with resources commensurate with the size and power of a nation from hacking into the manufacturer’s location and retrieving a copy of the source code. Such an entity can then discover “zero-day” software bugs and exploit them against the systems in the field. In addition, such an entity would be eminently capable of replacing some of the code at the manufacturer, so updates sent out to the field would contain a “backdoor” or other nefarious code.

    We have concluded that the results tendered by the proprietary systems in your jurisdiction should be questioned. The foundation of the systems lacks the necessary security to defend against manipulation of the outcomes, i.e. “hacks.” These hacks can be from inside the system (those

National Association of Voting Officials

and the Election Integrity Community Media Contact: 650-726-1133

National Association of Voting Officials

and the Election Integrity Community Media Contact: 650-726-1133

with access to the systems, software vendors, technicians, software creators, officials, etc.) or from outside intruders (foreign entities, etc).

These ideas are not fundamentally new—public attention has been given toward outside intrusion that occurred up to the day of the election.1 We believe that in this election cycle, these hacks have been used against the systems in your jurisdiction.

Your jurisdiction has proper and appropriate cause to currently refuse to certify the results until full and complete recounts are appropriately conducted.

It is not our intent to cast aspersion upon the fine and dutiful effort of your jurisdiction. Rather, we wish to necessarily inform you of the scientific conclusions available.

Based upon this information, we respectfully request a full and complete recount. Sincerely,

Brian Fox

Brent Turner

Lawrence Rosen

In association with the National & California Association of Voting Officials and the Election Integrity Community


Solution work:

Government studies:

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    Brian Fox:

Brent Turner

Brian J Fox


National Association of Voting Officials

and the Election Integrity Community Media Contact: 650-726-1133

Is an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, consultant, author, and free software advocate.

He was the original author of the GNU Bash shell, which he announced as a beta in June 1989. He continued as the primary maintainer for bash until at least early 1993.

In 1985 Fox worked with Richard Stallman at Stallman’s newly created Free Software Foundation. At the FSF, Fox authored GNU Bash, GNU Makeinfo, GNU Info, GNU Finger, and the readline and history libraries.

He was also the maintainer of Emacs for a time, and made many contributions to the software that was created for the GNU Project between 1986 and 1994.

Brent Turner

Has been recognized as a ground-breaking advocate for sustainability issues, and dedicates himself to local, state and federal election issues.

Mr. Turner was instrumental in the creation of the San Francisco County Voting Systems Task Force and has been a director of communications for Open Voting Consortium.

He is a founder and current secretary of California Association of Voting Officials and has law degrees from Lincoln Law School as well as the University of San Diego.

Lawrence Rosen

Is both an attorney and a computer specialist. He is founding partner of Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a law firm that specializes in intellectual property protection, licensing and business transactions for software technology. Larry served for many years as general counsel of the nonprofit Open Source Initiative (OSI).

He currently advises many open source companies and nonprofit open source projects, including as member (and former board member) of the Apache Software Foundation and the Open Web Foundation. Larry’s book, Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law, was published by Prentice Hall in 2004. He also taught Open Source Law at Stanford Law School.

Larry often publishes and speaks around the world on open source and intellectual property issues.

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