Nationwide Webinar Featuring Hacker Organizer Harri Hursti to Be Held Tonight
WHAT: A nationwide webinar with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), DEFCONef Con Voting Machine Hacking Village organizer Harri Hursti and other election security experts to mobilize activists and push U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to secure elections. The call is being led by Public Citizen, Stand Up America, Common Cause, the Secure Elections Network and People For the American Way, to win funding to secure U.S. elections. More than 2,000 people have signed up to participate in the webinar so far.
The national security community agrees that election interference in 2016 was only a preview of what’s to come unless Congress acts. A recent report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that voting systems in states remain vulnerable to hackers who could do everything from change names and addresses in voter registration databases to change votes cast, thereby creating an incorrect outcome. The report showed that Russia targeted voting systems in all 50 states. The committee said it found no evidence that votes had been changed in 2016 but noted that its insight into this aspect of the election was limited.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill (H.R. 3351) that would allocate $600 million to states and localities so that they can protect voter data and replace paperless voting systems with voter-marked paper ballots and scanners. The House also passed the SAFE Act (H.R. 2722) —comprehensive election security reform including sustained funding. McConnell is blocking the funding and all democracy legislation in the Senate.
Experts on the webinar will discuss:
- How hackers this month easily got into the same kind of voting machines that are in use throughout the U.S.;
- How states are being courted by companies that are selling voting machines that are vulnerable to hacking;
- How most states have not moved toward implementing minimum standards that experts say are necessary to secure the vote from attack, and how federal standards would help secure elections in those states; and
- How people can push their U.S. senators and McConnell to act.
“If nothing happens to secure our elections, the kind of interference we will see from hostile foreign actors will make 2016 look like child’s play,” said Wyden. “We’re just not prepared, not even close, to stop it. Business as usual with the voting machine is an imminent threat, a clear and present danger to our democracy.”
“In many people’s minds, election offices have IT departments. The reality is that many election offices do not even have a full-time IT person, let alone a security person,” said Harri Hursti, co-founder of the DEFCON Voting Village. “With the current rollout of election technology, it really should be the reverse – an IT department with a strong security team which just happens to run elections.”
WHO: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
Harri Hursti, organizer, DEFCONef Con Voting Machine Hacking Village
Aquene Freechild, co-director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Justin Hendrix, organizer, Mueller Book Club and March for Truth
Rio Tazewell, senior campaigns manager, People For the American Way
Izzy Bronstein, national grassroots organizer, Common Cause
WHEN: 8:30 p.m., EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 20