How the 2024 Elections Were Won

by | Dec 2, 2023 | Election Integrity

You read right—this is a note from the future. Building forward from the 2020 election and now the November 2023 election, what can we anticipate for 2024 and what have we learned that can instruct on that?

First, no matter what occurs the legal system will step away and not enforce or examine any cases regarding voting irregularities. They may examine some fraud, but it has to be blatant. Essentially the courts’ position is to not become involved in determining election outcomes. They assume all parties are aggressively seeking votes and will employ similar tactics to accomplish that.

So what exactly can be gamed and achieved in 2024 with the voting technologies available? Again, what we also know is contesting the results in 2024 will be futile. Preparing now to prevent bad outcomes is essential and understanding the remedies required.

What Are the Available Voting Tactics?

There are a variety of methods from the physical to the technology based that are employed.

In my first article, I examined the impacts of the ERIC voter registration system. What we are also seeing today is that ERIC voter rolls are being inflated now with non-citizen registrations that are automatically generated from drivers license registration systems. New York is one such state doing that for asylum-seekers entering the state. This hidden agenda in terms of skewing the actual registered voter base regarding the “potentially available voters but unregistered” has always been the intent for ERIC, and as documented previously there is zero transparency into the algorithms ERIC uses to verify voter roll entries and citizenship.

Those ERIC databases proved pivotal in the enabling of mail-in balloting and the exploitation of these mechanisms for election results determination in 2020 and going forward. Since 2020, those mail-in balloting tactics with drop boxes have been somewhat curtailed, and of course the spotlight is on ballot harvesting and such automatically produced and completed ballot forms. In 2024 these are less likely to be extensively manipulated given the counter measures deployed and the monitoring. What we’re seeing, then, is how far one can stretch credibility for the 2024 election tallies given the overall numbers of ballots cast. In 2020, this set all-time records.

These days, political party election teams and their supporting software technology partners have access to unprecedented information on voters, their party affiliation, their voting history, and their registration information and demographics. Combined with Big Data and AI analytics from social media platforms gleaned from user’s digital devices and accounts and online government databases. A glimpse of what can be seen online can be found at VoteRef.com—yet voters are completely unaware of the extent of this intrusion into their lives.

Most importantly, this can tell election teams which voters are unlikely to vote in-person at their local precincts. Added to this is an enabling legislative landscape that has given extended access to voting places for, in some cases, 45 days or more prior to Election Day.

Given this, what new tactics are available that can exploit polling place vulnerabilities as well?

The Extremist and Fanatical Threat

Polarization has never been more visible across America and in our urban communities. Coupled with the mantra of the “end justifies the means,” there are no-holds being barred. Extremism injects a new level of threat, since many people simply do not care about the consequences to their actions—provided their side wins. This places new challenges to an already fragile voting infrastructure that has been systematically undermined for the past two decades.

We also need to recognize that these fanatical entities are right there in plain sight: Charities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), quasi-government bodies, and the election administrators themselves. All can be infiltrated and have funding and resources channeled to them. Again, ERIC is the poster child for this kind of manipulation.

In short, if people can cheat they will, and cheating big is better since enhanced numbers will validate the results. Blocking access to voting systems, artifacts and counts then prevents effective verification and disputing outcomes.

Who Exactly Has Voted?

The first thing to realize is that today it’s more critical than ever that citizens get out and vote, whenever and however they can. Turnout can defeat manipulation. In-person voting is still the gold standard of free elections, despite efforts to disrupt that in opponents districts by blocking physical access to ballot casting.

We said that voting has been systematically undermined for two decades. The first measure for this was implemented in Colorado through early voting. Initially, this was limited to 5 days; it’s since ballooned to 45 days or more.

My protestations at the time to the EAC and NIST review meetings were discounted and ignored. Voting machines were insecure enough for one-day elections, let alone weeks.

Who exactly has voted? We have poll book devices in the precincts that contain the database of registered voter roll entries (likely produced from ERIC data feeds). Voters are verified against that and then proceed to cast their ballots. There is a secure local mini-network connecting poll books inside a precinct and each night the voting details are uploaded to the central system and the poll books updated to prevent duplicate voting.

Enter a fanatical election manipulation team into this mix, armed with their own copies of voter databases, crosschecked so they know who is unlikely to vote, and what entries are actually not real voters at all because they were machine added into the rolls. And or not citizens and connected to a real address. And we cannot rule out obtaining elicit access to poll book entries.

Let’s run one fictional scenario demonstrating this threat in action. Imagine I have a team of 200 people available in a state that offers 45 days of early voting. I securely text these individuals instructions and locations from an anonymous texting account, and none of the 200 people know the others involved.

I then match their individual physical descriptions to my voter database. I could have each person vote up to 10 times a day at different locations, for 10 different voters. That is 10 x 200 x 45 = 90,000 votes cast. That would elect most candidates or pass most propositions on a ballot.

But what if my jurisdiction requires voters to present an ID? Each day we could hypothetcally mail out 10 voter IDs, too. Where are those sourced? By purchasing the exact same industrial printers used to print the actual ID cards. Any NGO can justify that for internal employee card issuance. And cost is not an issue here as we have seen millions of dollars flowing to NGOs through donations and grants. And Deep Fake-generated cards may not pass inspection for legal purposes, but they could easily fool the average poll worker.

Can this Be Made More Secure?

The first line of defense is clearly the voter registration databases themselves. Being able to sanitize those and verify actual voters and their information. My previous article offered straightforward methods and software tools allowing states to accomplish that without involving themselves in ERIC.

After that, election teams should take these state databases and run their own checks and analysis on those to identify issues prior to the election starting, verifying addresses using online services from Google and others, such as the Smarty street service.

Next, the poll book sign in process can incorporate a separate ID checking step and device to query against state databases, so it isn’t merely a visual inspection, to ensure the photograph of the voter in the database matches the person actually casting the ballot.

Another simple to implement idea is to send a text message or email to the voter. (Much better than an “I Voted” sticker.) This would confirm you voted with the day and place and allow the voter himself to verify that action. This could also be made optional if the voter wished to opt in or out.

Anyone believing that there should be no voter ID checks and that 45 day voting windows are perfectly acceptable is clearly not interested in secure elections.

For voters themselves, “beware the Ides of March,” or in this case November. Trusting your polling place will have adequate resources and equipment to process your ballot on the actual last legal election day has been proven to depend on the political leanings of that area compared to the existing incumbents. Make sure you can cast your ballot in-person and verify it is received and tallied.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Who did win the 2024 elections? Clearly that will be the entities that can best exploit the existing weaknesses introduced over the past two decades in the guise of convenience and accessibility. Coupled with masking the tallying of results with a complete lack of transparency and failure to use open public voting standards to record and report elections, obfuscating what has transpired and making it incredibly hard to challenge specific aspects.

The clear need is to provide the tools for states to once again own and easily manage their own voter rolls in a transparent and simple way that can be readily verified. That would also enable open collaboration between States and allowing citizens to quickly and easily manage and check their own entries. Email and text messaging are simple and useful tools for just that: Notifying a voter that his registration has been updated.

We have learned a tremendous amount over the past 5 years and modern software technology provides both challenges in managing it, and also opportunities to empower states and citizens. Transparency is a key to this so that everyone can be confident in the election processes.

For more, catch Restoration’s groundbreaking report: ERIC: The Best Data Money Can’t Buy

David Webber has over 20 years experience in engineering open public trusted elections systems, election standards and cyber security. With Oracle Corp as industry liaison for elections systems working with NIST, EAC, VVAP and all the major election systems vendors on standards development. Webber is the holder of two US patents for EDI and XML technologies cited by over 65 other patents.  David co-authored the New Riders book: “ebXML: The New Global Standard for doing business on the internet” in 2001 and has sold over 20,000 copies since.

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