Hacking ballot papers even before they’re counted


The Gateway Pundit claims to have identified a technical “hack” that may allow voting machines and computer systems to alter the vote on a ballot paper even before it’s counted – and in a way that’s untraceable.

There’s an election hack built before the 2020 election that can instantaneously swap the bubbles on your ballot. The “filled in” bubble of your candidate is moved to the hackers’ preferred candidate and swapped out with that empty bubble. The change is made before the “ballot Image” is stored on the election server and before it’s tabulated. By using the voter’s own marking style & penmanship, these changes are undetectable to the human eye.

. . .

Prior to the election, the attacker specifies the template, which races they want to affect (Pres, Senate, etc), and by how much. While ballots are being scanned, this malicious software keeps a running tally of the “real” ballot results. Ballot images are changed on the fly to achieve the desired election outcome. To avoid detection, attackers can specify just enough manipulated images to win the race, but not by alarming amounts. The only way to catch this hack is to compare the original paper ballot to the ballot image.

There’s more at the link, including an animated simulation of how the attack works and a description of a test run by university students that demonstrated just how easy this is.  Highly recommended reading.

I have no idea whether or not this “hack” can be applied so widely as to imperil the results of an election;  but it looks feasible to this outsider.  I suppose the only way to prevent it would be to retain a copy of the original paper ballot, to which a given sample of the machine-counted ballot images could be compared;  but that would mean having a serial number or some other identifiable feature on every ballot, which in turn might impair the “secret ballot” pledge of confidentiality.  Nevertheless, given the widespread electoral shenanigans we saw in 2020 and have already seen this year, this may be just another weapon in the electoral fraud arsenal – a particularly effective one, since it’s all but untraceable.

Can any readers comment?



  1. you absolutely do need to retain the paper ballots, bits being stored are just too easy to change (and before you start in about digital signatures, if the system can sign legitimate images, that same system can sign fake ones)

    having a serial number on the ballot isn't a problem, unless you have a way to tie that back to an individual voter.

    Up until this year (thanks Newsome) we used scantron style ballots, and they all had a serial number on them, so this isn't new.

  2. Seems rather unlikely that you could compromise enough machines to change a national election. How would you distribute the malicious payload to all the machines?

    1. Seems unlikely that a man who barely left his basement and can't string three coherent sentences together got the most votes in the history of the republic. Yet here we are.

  3. @RBM, what "National Election"?
    we have state wide elections, and we have per state elections to select electors who select the President, but we do not have a "National Election"

    thanks to the 'winner take all' rules in most states, most of the electors are pretty predictable, you would only have to cheat in some areas, and by fairly small amounts at that, to change some elections (2020 for example)

  4. and to be clear, I do not believe that we should have a 'national popular vote' for president, that would make it to easy to heavily cheat in some areas to override other areas.

    However, I could get behind a scheme that awarded EC votes by the popular vote in the state, with the two EC votes corresponding to Senators to the winner of the popular vote in that state.

    That would lesson the impact of a 51% majority in the state while still keeping smaller states valuable so that one side can't just run up the vote in their strongholds.

    David Lang

    P.S. "this blog does not allow anynymous comments' but if you use your google account, you show up as 'unknown'

  5. I hope that when our country implodes and we have to form a new one, we decide that only US citizens that are either 1)real property owners or 2)military/public service personnel veterans can vote. If you have not contributed to society or have nothing to lose with your vote, you do not need to decide for the rest of us. They used to call it 'having skin in the game'. Too many have voted to steal from the producers – and those people refer to themselves as democrats. We cannot stop it from where we are now, though.

  6. @oldvet1950
    re: property ownership, how much property?
    1 sq in? 1 acre?
    does the value of the property matter? (1 sq ft in New York City probably costs as much as 1 acre in the western desert)
    does it matter how much the person owes on it?

    simple property ownership is just so easy to game.

    As for veteran status, I've read Starship Troopers as well, and I also look at some of our top Generals right now and would question their sanity. Some sort of service seems like a good idea, but what about people from families who need every body working to get by, not off doing some sort of service? (historically this has been most farm and small business families)

    The current crop of college educated lefists shows that having money and education doesn't prevent people from being so green with envy that they make Ireland look like the B&W scenes from the Wizard of Oz.

    I could get behind something like 'if you are getting a government handout, you don't get to vote. But even with that we need to get away from "let us tax you like crazy so that we can give you 'free' stuff" mentality (although if voters getting "free" stuff are no longer voters, that may cut back).

    But even with that, what counts as government handouts? how does this affect business owners (outright owners, stockholders, indirect stockholders via pension funds, etc)

    I agree there is a problem, but the answer is far from clear.

    David Lang

  7. After the 2020 Election the GA Senate had a committee formed to look into fraud in the 2020 election. They found it and one of the ways was shown by a Clerk from a Southern GA County. The Clerk showed to the committee that any vote could be changed even if the Voting Machine was not connected to the internet.

    There were other ways shown of fraud, including what is shown in the film 2000mules. They were given to the GA Senate and GA GOV Kemp but neither took it forward.

  8. @unknown:

    By national election, I meant an election like the presidential election. Meaning that it would be difficult to hack the different election systems and process in 50 states.

    Sorry if I was confusing.

  9. @RBM, my point is that they don't need to hack into the election in every state, hacking a handful of swing states would do it.

  10. Not even that — a few key cities in a few key states is all that's needed. Why just a few cities? To paraphrase Willie Sutton, "Because that's where the votes are." It's a lot easier to mix in a few thousand votes in a metropolis than in a bunch of rural counties in close swing states.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *