While the directive was issued two years ago, the issue of electronic voting has become a hot button topic in this year’s presidential election amid fears digital voting systems can be compromised.
The online voting plan was contained in a 67-page hacked file detailing the September 29-30, 2014 Open Society U.S. Programs board meeting in New York.
A significant portion of the board meeting was dedicated to methods the Foundation’s U.S. Programs (USP) could use to further the use of President Obama’s executive action authority to bypass Congress during Obama’s final two years in office.
The Open Society, together with partner grantees, assembled a general list of potential presidential executive actions on numerous issues. Significantly, the Soros-backed group zeroed in on the expansion of online voting.
States the document:
“USP will continue to fight against efforts to restrict voting rights, while supporting steps to improve voter participation and modernize voting procedures, such as on-line and same-day registration and expanded early voting. The Brennan Center, Demos and other grantees have engaged in litigation to expand access to registration and improve ease of voting.”
The document listed a number of executive action steps that the Obama administration could take to “ensure greater participation by eligible voters,” including online voting:
• Direct Health and Human Services to ensure that the federally facilitated health-care exchanges created as part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) incorporate voter registration opportunities as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or “Motor Voter Act”), and direct federal agencies to find ways to increase voter participation nationwide.
• Issue guidance interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to accessibility of polling places, privacy when voting, and competence requirements.
• Assist states with voter registration modernization efforts, including statewide database improvements, vote by mail, online registration and voting, and same-day registration.
• Direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop new data collection points that provide greater insight into county-based Election Administration and the ways in which voters interact with electoral systems (i.e., number of votes cast, type of voting machines used, provisional ballot statistics, etc.)
In January 2014, Obama’s 10-person Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its recommendations for reforming the U.S. election process, including transitioning to voting via tablet computers and other technologies.
The commission recommended:
Software-only products can be integrated with off-the-shelf commercial hardware components such as computers, laptops, tablets, scanners, printers, and even machine-readable code scanners and signature pad products.
Tablet computers such as iPads are common components of these new technologies. They can be integrated into the check-in, voting, and verification processes in the polling place.
The commission highlighted new technologies in which the voter can “pre-fill” sample ballots at home to be scanned later at the polling place.
Obama’s presidential panel dismissed concerns about hacking. The commission stated: “The fact that a tablet or off-the-shelf computer can be hacked or can break down does not mean such technology is inherently less secure than existing ballot marking methods if proper precautions are taken.”
Those concerns may have been dismissed too soon. Two weeks ago, NBC News cited intelligence officials revealing hackers purportedly based in Russia recently attempted to breach state voter registration databases twice. One of the hacking attempts resulted in the lifting of up to 200,000 voter records in Illinois, according to the officials.
The breach prompted the FBI to issue an unusual nationwide “flash” alert warning states to take immediate measures to beef up the security of their online voting-related systems.
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a conference call with state election officials related to the matter.
Also last month, Johnson was quoted as saying during a media conference call hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that DHS should consider whether to designate the U.S. election system as a “critical infrastructure.”
“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Johnson said.
“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he added.
On Thursday, however, Johnson downplayed concerns that hackers could alter the ballot count during the presidential election.
“It would be very difficult through any sort of cyber intrusion to alter the ballot count, simply because it is so decentralized and so vast,” Johnson said. “It would be very difficult to alter the count.”
The Hill poured cold water on Johnson’s optimistic assessment.
The publication contended:
Despite Johnson’s claims, however, hackers would not necessarily need to alter a particular vote count in order to inject chaos into the U.S. electoral system.
Merely tainting the integrity of the voting system might be enough to sow discord in the U.S on Election Day. In other words, even if hackers do nothing, simply claiming to have altered the results could cause the public to doubt the results.
And hackers might be able to alter ballot counts in swing districts where the outcome might have oversized importance.
Meanwhile, this is not Soros’s only attempt to meddle in U.S. election affairs.
A May 2014 USP board meeting document discussed the goal of expanding the U.S electorate by “at least 10 million voters.” The document, first publicized by the Washington Free Beacon, stated the voter expansion goal would be accomplished “by lowering barriers to voter registration through the various forms of modernization and increased ballot access while sustaining and expanding the franchise by establishing strong protections against vote suppression, denial and dilution.”
Ten million new voters are low ball numbers. The Soros-funded Brennan Center was mentioned in the September 2015 board meeting document reviewed by Breitbart News as engaging with other Soros grantees “in litigation to expand access to registration and improve ease of voting.”
Brennon’s website has an entire section dedicated to “Voter Registration Modernization,” explaining its goal is to use voter modernization to add 50 million more voters to the rosters.
The website states:
The Brennan Center’s signature proposal to modernize voting would harness proven technology to ensure that every eligible voter is permanently registered. The move would add 50 million to the rolls, cost less, and curb the potential for fraud. Already, 48 states and the District of Columbia — without fanfare or partisan wrangling — have implemented important elements of the plan.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Joshua Klein.