As President Trump continues to make baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, 59 of the world’s leading e-voting experts are hitting back, saying recent allegations of actual hacking of voting machines are “unsubstantiated or technically incoherent.”
Monday’s letter came after nearly two weeks of baseless and baseless claims by Trump and some of his supporters that this month’s presidential election had been “rigged” in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. On Thursday, Trump began another round of disinformation when he took to Twitter to say that Dominion Voting voting machines removed 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide.
Vulnerabilities are not exploits
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted a video from last year’s Defcon hacker convention. It showed attendees participating in an event called the voting machine hack village. The organizers of the event held it to raise awareness about the importance of security in electronic voting. Some event organizers were beside themselves that Trump used the video as an insinuation that voting machine hacking played a role in the results of this month’s election, or any election ever.
“Anyone who claims a US election was ‘rigged’ is making one exceptional claim, one that must be supported by compelling and verifiable evidence,” the computer scientists wrote. “Merely citing the existence of technical flaws does not prove that an attack took place, let alone alter an election result. It’s just speculation.”
The letter continued:
The presence of security weaknesses in the election infrastructure does not in itself tell us that an election has actually been compromised. Technical, physical and procedural safeguards complicate the task of maliciously exploiting election systems, as well as the monitoring of potential adversaries by law enforcement and the intelligence community. Changing an election result involves more than just the existence of a technical vulnerability.
We are aware of alarming claims that the 2020 election has been “rigged” by exploiting technical vulnerabilities. However, in all cases that we are aware of, these claims are unsubstantiated or technically incoherent. To the best of our collective knowledge, no credible evidence has been put forward to support the conclusion that the 2020 election results in any state were altered by technical compromise.
Monday’s letter follows the release of another strongly worded statement Thursday by the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which includes officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and secretaries of state and state election directors. from different states.
“The November 3 election was the safest in American history,” the joint statement said. “Currently, election officials across the country are reviewing and double-checking the entire election process before finalizing the results.”
The statement continued: “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation regarding the process of our election, we can assure you that we have full confidence in the security and integrity of our election, and you should too must do. ”
Earlier that day, Reuters reported that Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Christopher Krebs told employees he expected to be fired. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the news outlet said Krebs “raised the wrath of the Trump White House for efforts to debunk disinformation” regarding the recent election.
Monday’s letter shows that computer scientists are now also debunking conspiracy theories alleging widespread voter fraud. Signatories to the document include Georgetown University computer science professor Matt Blaze; Ronald Rivest, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the R in RSA; Steven M. Bellovin, professor of computer science at Columbia University; Joseph Lorenzo Hall, senior VP at the nonprofit Internet Society; and J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan who specializes in election security.