Comey lies to Congress, says voting machines don’t connect to the internet

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FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. When asked about hackers penetrating election systems, Comey claims that only registration databases are targeted. Voting machines, he says, don’t connect to the internet.

That is a lie.

There have been a variety of scanning activities, which is a preamble for potential intrusion activities as well as some attempted intrusions at voter registration databases beyond those we knew about in July and August…. And again, these are the voter registration systems. This is very different than the vote system in the United States, which is very, very hard for someone to hack into because it’s so clunky and dispersed – it’s Mary and Fred putting a machine under the basketball hoop at the gym. Those things are not connected to the internet, but the voter registration systems are.

James Comey

Some ballot scanners include modems that connect to the internet. Election management systems that program voting machines and tally the votes sometimes connect to the internet, too. Even if the individual machine someone uses to vote doesn’t connect to the internet, there’s another machine that reads the printed ballot. That machine might be–or have recently been–connected to the internet.

The timing of Comey’s lie is significant, too. Just yesterday, Homeland Security offered to run “cyber hygiene scans” on state and local election equipment that’s connected to the internet. Today, James Comey basically says DHS and other agencies can skip running tests on machines used at voting locations.

Jennifer Cohn, an election security advocate and attorney, has written in depth about voting machines connecting to the internet and huge red flags in equipment made by companies like ES&S. Listening to Comey, she can’t believe what she’s hearing.

It was like a death. Never in my life would I have thought my government would lie about something like this. Or, alternatively, be this incompetent. I spent the next three years feeling like I need to try to micromanage the situation because I didn’t trust them anymore.

Jennifer Cohn, 2021

Cohn is not alone in disagreeing with James Comey. In his book Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference, political analyst David Shimer details the Kremlin’s long history of interfering in U.S. politics. That includes altering vote tallies.

“What I show in my book is the Soviet Union, the United States and now Russia, have interfered covertly in elections all over the world… These processes have been going on for a century.”

Apart from what Mueller found it his probe, Shimer also says Russia targeted actual US electoral infrastructure in 2016. He comes to this conclusion after interviewing 26 of President Barack Obama’s former advisers.

“What I learned was Russia was inside our electoral systems to the point where they have the ability to alter the voter data and vote tallies of actual US citizens and that’s what captivated the Obama administration’s focus in 2016,” he says.

Radio New Zealand

External Sources

CSO Online (Archived)


Radio New Zealand (Archived)

Jennifer Cohn, Twitter

Photo: Alex Brandon, AP File Photo via The Toronto Star

100 Years of Russian Electoral Interference — CBS News

America’s Electronic Voting System is Corrupted to the Core — Jennifer Cohn

All electronic vote tallies can be hacked through the internet, even if the voting machines themselves are not directly connected to it. — Jennifer Cohn

Election Assistance Commission Investigated ES&S Voting Systems — Jennifer Cohn

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