O P I N I O N
Christopher Krebs, The Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) of DHS said individuals voting rights were safe despite persistent attacks on the voting infrastructure.
He said, that by law, if you show up to vote and there is a problem with your registration, you have the right to request a provisional ballot. It can take time and be disruptive, but if you are persistent, you can get a ballot.
Krebs says that they haven’t seen as persistent an effort by the Russians to compromise this year’s election as they saw in 2016 – that statement by itself seems at odds with what his boss, the President has said.
DHS is planning to launch an initiative to manage the risk.
I agree that if you are willing to create a scene, you can get a provisional ballot, but is that really where the risk is?
Certainly, it is possible that an attacker could try to delete voters from the voting rolls, but that seems like a hard way to effect the outcome of the election. After all, how do you know how that voter will really vote.
Much more likely and not mentioned by Krebs since DHS isn’t doing much about it, is the likely attacks on campaigns web sites and email of candidates and their teams. When the President says that there is no evidence that Russian interference in 2016 didn’t change any votes, I have no idea how he can prove that. If what he means is that the Russians didn’t cast any fraudulent ballots one waay of the other on behalf of a voter, I believe that.
If, however, he means that the relentless social media attacks for and against different candidates, illegally funded by Russian controlled front companies recently indicted by the federal government didn’t change people’s choices as to who to vote for, that is completely unprovable and likely just wrong.
For the last year and a half DHS has not processed the security clearance requests of state and local voting officials so that they can receive classified intelligence. A few officials have gotten their clearances, but many more have not.
All in all the administration is picking and choosing their talking points to make things look better. Overall, they have done very little to improve the situation as compared to 2016.
When Krebs said that they have not seen Russian interference at the levels of 2016 this year, he should have added the word YET. This is still early and likely the Russians will increase their efforts in that direction.
I have no clue which side they plan to attack; but which ever side it is, it will be to further their own interests, not ours.
Stay tuned, this is far from over and we don’t have an effective strategy to counter it.
Information for this post came from FCW.