Rus­sia hack­ing re­news Democrats’ con­cerns for elec­tion in­tegrity.

Rus­sian hack­ing has be­come an ar­gu­ment for re­new­ing fed­eral over­sight

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By J. Chris­tian Adams

When the Demo­cratic Party and its deep-state al­lies’ fa­vorite anti-Trump columnist be­gins to sour on the prom­ise of a Rus­sian col­lu­sion probe, it is time to start look­ing for a con­so­la­tion prize. Based on the overnight in­ter­est in all things vot­ing se­cu­rity, they seem to have found a new hobby horse.

For more than a decade, any per­son who hon­estly spoke about their sin­cerely held con­cerns re­gard­ing “elec­tion in­tegrity” was sum­mar­ily branded as a par­ti­san fab­u­list up­set by the fact that non-white vot­ers could turn out in greater num­bers.

Now, the left is try­ing to cor­ner the mar­ket. This is not the first time the in­ter­est was nursed to de­tract from the re­sults of the 2016 elec­tion. Though it may seem a life­time ago, Jill Stein

hyped a multi-state re­count ef­fort for a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the elec­torate much in need of po­lit­i­cal suc­cor on the same premise.

The fact pat­tern of­fered for Rus­sian med­dling in our elec­tion sys­tems is still not on solid ground. Heads of the FBI and Home­land Se­cu­rity at the time ex­ude con­fi­dence when they re­peat­edly as­sure the public now that no votes were tainted. Though as­ser­tions abound that Ivan did his best oth­er­wise, each “bomb­shell” re­port presents more whiffs of con­spir­acy and sloppy re­port­ing than hard ev­i­dence.

The lat­est scoop, as an ex­am­ple, blares that hack­ers ac­tu­ally man­aged to “al­ter voter in­for­ma­tion,” but it seems anony­mous sources can­not agree who might have done the deed. Their hes­i­ta­tion is war­ranted, given the case of North Carolina elec­tion worker Joy Yvette Wilk­er­son, who stands charged of ac­cess­ing 250 voter files to re­move their felon sta­tuses.

Let’s not for­get that the state of Ge­or­gia is still ac­cus­ing the Obama De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity of hack­ing them and claim­ing this is all to set a pred­i­cate for in­creased fed­eral in­ter­ven­tion.

Cut­ting through the noise, we ar­rive at the ques­tion: Did our “patch­work” of rick­ety state vot­ing sys­tems leave us vul­ner­a­ble to Rus­sian cy­ber-at­tacks, or did that same de­cen­tral­ized sys­tem con­found some of the best in the busi­ness?

The es­tab­lish­ment left is not let­ting a good cri­sis go to waste.

In­stead of fo­cus­ing on the foun­da­tional mat­ter of how best to main­tain the con­tent of our voter reg­is­tra­tion sys­tems, we are wit­ness­ing the begin­ning of a left­ist re­gres­sion — where the only so­lu­tion wor­thy of dis­cus­sion is how elec­tion pow­ers are bet­ter cen­tral­ized in Wash­ing­ton.

Re­peat­edly dur­ing Jeh John­son’s House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee tes­ti­mony, he was asked what Congress could do to in­ter­vene. To Mr. John­son’s credit, he scoffed at the prob­a­bil­ity of a smooth fed­er­al­iza­tion of vot­ing sys­tems. He must not have got­ten the memo, which is un­der­stand­able con­sid­er­ing Mr. John­son is no vet­eran of the vot­ing wars. The pro­pos­als and even some ac­tions taken are pre­dictable. The Obama De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity cat­e­go­rized elec­tion sys­tems as crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture when it headed for the exit. To this day, no one re­ally knows what that means in prac­tice. Calls for new fed­eral stan­dards have been echoed from Capi­tol Hill and be­yond, but the de­tails are still sketchy and in­di­cate a pat­tern of rush­ing to grab con­trol be­fore pon­der­ing what one would ac­tu­ally do with it. One in­ter­est group even sug­gests that we go back to paper bal­lots — essen­tially trad­ing hack­ing risks for the good old days of bal­lot stuff­ing and rather strained rul­ings on which box a voter put his mark.

The real deep-state prize re­mains: re­turn­ing states un­der the thumb of fed­eral bu­reau­crats when they want to change voter ID laws and even polling place lo­ca­tions. In other words, “fix­ing the Vot­ing Rights Act,” as the racial in­ter­est groups call it.

With elec­tion sys­tems still get­ting front page ink, the rem­nants of the once-re­spectable civil rights es­tab­lish­ment hope to pivot public at­ten­tion to­ward their lust to re­new old un­con­sti­tu­tional fed­eral over­sight pow­ers. It has the added ben­e­fit of get­ting many of the em­ploy­ees of th­ese groups plum jobs on the Gov­ern­ment Ser­vice scale to boss state elec­tion of­fi­cials around.

The core con­cern is get­ting lost in the rush to stan­dard­ize and fed­er­al­ize. A state voter reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem with the best cy­ber­se­cu­rity that tax­pay­ers can buy is mean­ing­less if the data pro­tected is not prop­erly main­tained. For eight years, voter rolls were al­lowed to fall into dis­re­pair. In re­sponse, sev­eral ex­perts have taken it upon them­selves to as­sist of­fi­cials in clean­ing up their books.

The ques­tion is not whether the Rus­sians at­tacked our sys­tems. We must in­stead ask our­selves if we are will­ing to hold states ac­count­able in com­bat­ing in­tegrity threats from within with equal zeal as those on the out­side. If the day comes when a hacker at­tacks a dirty voter roll, how will a clerk even know some­thing is amiss?

ILLUSTRATION BY GREG GROESCH

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