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VVPT DRE Vote Machine Attack Audits Cannot Detect


The Brennan Center Executive Summary, on pp. 10 and 11, describes an attack that can illegally alter up to 2/3rds of votes cast on DRE touchscreen voting machines with voter verifiable paper trails (VVPTs), that independent audits of hand-counted VVPT cannot detect.

Only Voters Can Detect Evidence of This Attack and let Poll Workers, Election Officials, Candidates and Election Integrity Organizations Know.


It has been shown that only approximately 30% of voters take the time to verify that their paper ballot records, so a programmer could easily make the paper record agree with an erroneous electronic count rather than match the voters' selections on the touch-screen. If the voter notices the mismatch and cancels the ballot, then the second time the voter tries, the programming would print both the paper and electronic record correctly to match the voters' choices on the touchscreen. The voter may think that the voter caused error when the second attempt does not reproduce the problem. This way, ballots of the 2/3rds of the voters who do not check their paper ballot records would be altered in such a way that any audit of the hand countable paper record would find no discrepancies. A statistical analysis of cancelled ballots may raise suspicion, but no proof.

As computer scientists are aware, to reverse engineer the hundreds of programs, drivers, operating system software, etc. that could hide such an attack on even one voting system takes a special expert who can tediously decipher assembly language. Due to the flawed design of many voting systems, machines would have to be pulled entirely out of operation for as long as a year after an election to even accomplish this reverse engineering, so no local elections could be conducted during an investigation. Even after this expensive, time-consuming effort, evidence of such a hack might have been erased by the program overwriting itself on Election Day. Thus any such hack would not leave any evidence and could not be detected by an audit.

The National Election Data Archive has released recommendations for Voters, Candidates, and Political Parties to ensure that only correctly elected candidates are sworn into office.

Please read these recommendations at


* Alert your voters to always verify their paper ballot record.

* If state laws permit it, a camera capable of taking a clear picture of both the touchscreen and the VVPT paper rolls of DREs w/ VVPT should be placed at each polling location, and if voters give their permission, a picture taken to prove that this hack may have been occuring. If this hack occurs, there will be no remedy other than conducting a new election. DRE voting machines violate voter anonymity in other ways as well. The VVPT records votes in the same order as voters enter the voting booth. The VVPT of all disabled voters is segregated on one machine's paper rolls. And the actual electronic ballot of the voter can be looked up by election officials according to recent reports - definitely for all provisional ballot voters and perhaps for all voters. Taking a picture of the screen with a voter's permission is no more a violation of privacy than the current DRE touchscreen systems are already.

It is unfortunate that US Election Officials ignored the copious advice of computer scientists and election integrity activists by purchasing fundamentally flawed DRE voting systems in the first place.


A National Election Data Archive is needed to monitor detailed vote count data to mathematically detect suspicious patterns of vote counts. We need about $10,000 immediately to accomplish the preliminary legal project of writing open records requests to obtain the data that we have a right to under each state open records laws, but which no county or state currently releases. Please donate at

Kathy Dopp
National Election Data Archive
Dedicated to Accurately Counting Elections

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