Our Election System — The Shell Game


Much like Trump’s relationship with Russia, our election system’s problems go back to at least the early 2000s. A system that does the opposite of what it should, our election system is overly complex, multi-layered, and has been increasingly added to over the years. It has become so complicated that we do not know what shell to look under when we have a problem.

Where do we even start to look when we get a result like we did in 2016?

Was it the machines? The Voter Registration files? The results of Gerrymandering? Crosscheck purges? Secretary of State Voter Purges, Or was it the counting-votes-in-the-dark tally system?

Truly, the obscurity appears to be intentional. It is a system so complex, with so many hands in it, that it is impossible to get answers. We use the word transparency. Transparency is, fundamentally, the goal of an honest system. And it is exactly what we don’t have.

Let’s start here. Voting Machine Manufacturers use proprietary code. They tell us this is to secure their equipment. Not true. Watch any Hackathon. Code aside, the hackers get straight in. The real reason proprietary code is used is so they can insist on contracts with the states that prevent these machines from being forensically examined after an election. States are willing to take their most trusted obligation to its citizens and sign away the right to examine the machines on which they spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

So Many Questions

While we are asking questions of the states, the answer I want most from the people entrusted to protect our vote is:

> “What kind of job are you doing that so many states a full year after the election had to be told by DHS that Voter Registration Systems were under attack for a year previous to the Election?”

> How is it possible the state authorities didn’t know?

> Have they handed everything over to third-party, private vendors?

> Have they totally walked away from any responsibility?”

In several states, we get to place a vote without a paper trail (if we are fortunate enough not to be disenfranchised). Then we wait until later that night to see the results of our votes after they’ve been counted and transmitted in the dark to the Secretary of State’s site. How does a digital vote being counted in the dark equate to transparency?

Three years — that we know of — Russia has been attacking our voter registration sites. What have we done about it? Why are they still online?

How does any state look us in the eyes and justify no paper being used in their election system? After all that’s happened since 2016, why are they still using the same system?

Who in power really cares? These are questions we need to have answered.


After the introduction of the voting machines, they started to Gerrymander. Take the minimum number of votes to win the majority of State seats. And when analytics show these efforts still aren’t going to be enough to swing an election, then why not go ahead and remove 500,000 Voters from the Rolls? We have Brian Kemp, a Gubernatorial candidate, who as a current Secretary of State doing exactly this to hack his own election. We must demand that Secretary of State’s step aside from having any involvement in an election within which they are running.

One of the benefits of Gerrymandering is gaining control over the states’ Board of Elections. That is the big win. Look at the GOP in North Carolina that tried to pass a law that Democrats could only serve on the Board of Elections in non-election years. Fortunately, this was stricken down, but what more do they need to tell you?

Then there’s the “Trump Suppression Commission,” which included Mike Pence and Kris Kobach. This Commission tried to get the voter registration files from every state. Kobach is the grandfather of the fraudulent Crosscheck Program; he is the man that used state funds for a 1-year investigation to find voters in Kansas that voted multiple times. After an exhaustive search, it found no evidence that this happened in any real-world number. Upon disbanding, the Commission came to the same conclusion.

Knowing that even the greatest suppressors working together couldn’t prove voter fraud, why are the states that previously worked with Crosscheck still working with them? Why are they still using a system that takes partial name matches and disenfranchises millions of voters over the years?

50 States, 50 Sets of Rules

Our single greatest obstacle to fixing the system is that elections aren’t handled nationally. States are autonomous. They pick the voting machines. They make up the rules. They do whatever they want. We can’t make one, sweeping change. Instead, we must make many changes, across the states. To make it even more complicated, many states give their counties authority over the machines and which ones are used.

The Election System and the Electoral College

The last element that needs to mentioned. When the people speak like they did in 2016, the majority is ignored by the long outdated and now detrimental Electoral College. This has to go. It has no place. It is there because it is the final stop gap in case something goes wrong for them. Just like 2016.

We don’t have the luxury of just fighting this on a national level. We have to deal with it times fifty states — and, in many of those states that handle elections on a county level, multiply that by twenty fold or more.

This was a near-perfect plan.

So, where are we? We must flip Congress with such a showing at the polls that even the system they implemented to stop us won’t be enough.

Don’t for a minute think that if we are able to flip Congress that our work is done. On the contrary, that is when our work truly starts.

Post-Midterm Update

To flip the House with all we know happened is truly remarkable. That being said how many seats did we not flip due to extreme disenfranchisement, vote flipping, machines not in precincts and more. We all witnessed in real time the forces working against us. Brian Kemp disenfranchised enough people that he actually fixed his own election. We have close races in Georgia and no ability to recount due to a lack of a paper trail. Considering that voting is the only voice we have we must demand a system that not only protects our right to vote but actually can prove the vote is counted as placed.

We have a lot of work to do.

Written by Mike Farb

Read More Commentary about the US Election System:

LHS Associates: One-Stop Shopping for Bulk Dog Tags and Wait for It … Election Systems

Democracy Dies in the Dark

Michigan, ES&S, and the Voting Machines that Couldn’t Count

Illinois. Now this is Full-On Hacking.

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Author: Mike Farb