Writing Code to Flip Votes Is 'Very Easy to Do' but 'Hard to Stop,' Says Democratic Computer Programmer
The Arizona Senate Elections Committee heard from a computer programmer this week who testified that any computer-operated voting machine is vulnerable to tampering.
Clinton Curtis, who previously worked as a computer programmer for multiple federal agencies, urged a return to paper ballots during the Monday hearing.
Curtis began his presentation to the committee by playing a video of himself testifying before Congress in 2004, following the presidential election won by George W. Bush.
He testified at the time that he believed the election in Ohio was rigged using a computer program that altered election results.
Curtis told Congress that, in October 2000, he wrote a prototype program for then-Florida Rep. Tom Feeney that he said would “flip the vote 51-49 to whoever you wanted it to go to and whichever race you wanted to win.”
Asked if such a program was detectable by election officials, Curtis said they would “never see it.”
The video was played alongside a clip of Democratic politicians voicing similar election concerns, including notable figures such as then-Sen. Kamala Harris, who warned that “antiquated” voting machines are “vulnerable to being hacked.”
Curtis, a Democrat himself, told the Arizona committee that he had been trying to draw attention to the issue of election security for years but that it had only recently gained traction among Republicans.
Fixing election results using a program to flip votes, he said, is “very easy to do” but “hard to stop.”
Curtis warned, “Don’t use machines, because you can never, ever trust them to give you a fair election.”
“There are too many ways to hack them. You can hack them at the level that I did when you first build them, you can hack them from the outside, you can hack them with programs that load themselves on the side. It’s impossible to secure them.
“You will never beat the programmer. The programmer always owns the universe. And as long as you have machines — I don’t care which company — as long as you have machines, they are vulnerable to this,” Curtis said.
The committee was weighing an amendment to a bill that would add further security measures for ballot tabulators used in the state, Just the News reported. The amendment to Senate Bill 1074 was later approved by the committee.
The legislation states that “electronic equipment may not be used as the primary method for tabulating votes” in any election unless:
“The electronic equipment meets or exceeds the standards set by the United States Department of Defense regarding cybersecurity.
All parts of the electronic equipment are manufactured in the United States.
All source codes for the electronic equipment are submitted to and maintained on file by the auditor general.”
If asked to do so, the auditor general would be required to release the source code “for the purposes of verifying that the electronic equipment is operating properly and in compliance with any contract requirements.”
According to Just the News, the source code for election equipment is currently not available to the public.
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