Election Security Is a Matter of National Security

Verified Voting
Safeguarding Elections In The Digital Age

Recently, Verified Voting Founder and Board member David Dill published an opinion piece in Scientific American.  Dr. Dill’s thoughts on the intersection of voting security and national security are insightful and well reasoned.  As a supporter of our election integrity work, we thought you would be interested in reading this important piece.  Dr. Dill’s column appears below.  I think you will find it interesting and hope you will share it with others.

Best Regards,

Pamela Smith, President

From Scientific American, November 30, 2016

Election Security Is a Matter of National Security

It is not good enough to say, “We can’t prove fraud.” In every election we need evidence that vote counts are accurate.

State-sponsored cyber-attacks seemingly intended to influence the 2016 Presidential election have raised a question: Is the vulnerability of computerized voting systems to hacking a critical threat to our national security? Can an adversary use methods of cyber-warfare to select our commander-in-chief?

A dedicated group of technically sophisticated individuals could steal an election by hacking voting machines key counties in just a few states. Indeed, University of Michigan computer science professor J. Alex Halderman says that he and his students could have changed the result of the presidential election. Halderman et al. have hacked a lot of voting machines, and there are videos to prove it. I believe him.

Halderman isn’t going to steal an election, but a foreign power might be tempted to do so. The military expenditures of a medium-size country dwarf the cost of a multi-pronged attack, which could include using the internet, bribing employees of election offices and voting machine vendors, or just buying voting machine companies. It is likely that such an attack would not be detected, given our current election security practices.

What would alert us to such an attack? What should we do about it? If there is reason to suspect an election result (perhaps because it’s an upset victory that defies the vast majority of pre-election polls), common sense says we should double-check the results of the election as best we can. But this is hard to do in America. Recount laws vary with each state. In states where it is possible to get a recount, it often has to be requested by one of the candidates, often at considerable expense.

In the recent election, it is fortunate that Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, citing potential security breaches, recently requested a recount of the 2016 presidential vote in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and plans to do so in Michigan. Donald Trump unexpectedly won these three states by very narrow margins, and their recount laws are favorably compared with some of the other swing states.

With the limited information we have so far, there is no convincing evidence in the reported results that the election was stolen electronically. However, there is heightened public concern because of alleged Russian hacking of campaign emails and voter registration systems. Also, Mr. Trump and his advisors broadcast repeated claims that the election would be rigged by means including fraudulent voting machines.

Now that the election is over, we must defend our voting system more effectively. It is clearly vulnerable to attack not only by foreign powers, but by criminal groups, campaigns, and motivated amateurs. If elections lose their credibility, democracy can quickly disintegrate. After every election, it is not good enough to say, “We can’t prove fraud.” In every election, we need evidence that vote counts are accurate.

The good news is that we know how to solve this problem. We need to audit computers by manually examining randomly selected paper ballots and comparing the results to machine results. Audits require a voter-verified paper ballot, which the voter inspects to confirm that his or her selections have been correctly and indelibly recorded. Since 2003, an active community of academics, lawyers, election officials and activists has urged states to adopt paper ballots and robust audit procedures. This campaign has had significant, but slow, success. As of now, about three quarters of U.S. voters vote on paper ballots. Twenty-six states do some type of manual audit, but none of their procedures are adequate. Auditing methods have recently been devised that are much more efficient than those used in any state. It is important that audits be performed on every contest in every election, so that citizens do not have to request manual recounts to feel confident about election results. With high-quality audits, it is very unlikely that election fraud will go undetected whether perpetrated by another country or a political party.There is no reason we can’t implement these measures before the 2020 elections. As a nation, we need to recognize the urgency of the task, to overcome the political and organizational obstacles that have impeded progress. Otherwise, we risk losing our country to hackers armed with keyboards, without a shot being fired.

Support Reliable Elections.  Verified Voting relies on supporters like you to help us do the important work that needs to be done to secure every election, every year. To meet the challenges we have seen in the 2016 election, we must increase our efforts. Please consider a gift of any size to help support our work.  Thank you for your interest in and support of Verified Voting.


on this day … 12/17

First airplane flies
Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight… read more »
France formally recognizes the United States »
Stuntman Stan Barrett breaks the sound barrier »
Grant expels the Jews from his department »
Yeltsin supporters announce Soviet Union will cease to exist by New Year’s Eve »
“Operation Iceman” nabs the culprit »
Circus catches fire in Brazil »
U.S. approves end to internment of Japanese Americans »
“Squeaky” Fromme sentenced to life »
Aristide wins Haiti’s first free election »
Peruvian rebels seize Japanese ambassador’s home »
Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea, dies »
Third and final Lord of the Rings movie opens »
A Christmas Carol is published »
A federal court puts its stamp on hip-hop »
“Silver Dollar” Tabor born in Denver »
Grant expels Jews from Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi »
Terrell Owens makes record-breaking 20 catches »
Cambodian forces under heavy pressure »
Ford Madox Ford is born »
Commander at Pearl Harbor canned »

12 Fish You Should Never, Ever Eat … Prevention

Steer clear of this seafood that's bad for you and the environmentSteer clear of this seafood that’s bad for you and the environment

By Emily Main, Prevention

 One fish, two fish, bad-for-you-fish. Yes fish, no fish, red fish…OK fish? Our oceans have become so depleted of wild fish stocks, and so polluted with industrial contaminants, that trying to figure out the fish that are both safe and sustainable can make your head spin. “Good fish” lists can change year after year, because stocks rebound or get depleted every few years, but there are some fish that, no matter what, you can always decline.

 The nonprofit Food and Water Watch looked at all the varieties of fish out there, how they were harvested, how certain species are farmed, and levels of toxic contaminants like mercury or PCBs in the fish, as well as how heavily local fishermen relied upon fisheries for their economic survival. These are the 12 fish, they determined, that all of us should avoid, no matter what.

PLUS: Which packaged goods aren’t packed with toxins or preservatives? Find out the 100 Cleanest Packaged Foods.

1. Imported Catfish  Why It’s Bad: Nearly 90% of the catfish imported to the US comes from Vietnam, where use of antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. is widespread. Furthermore, the two varieties of Vietnamese catfish sold in the US, Swai and Basa, aren’t technically considered catfish by the federal government and therefore aren’t held to the same inspection rules that other imported catfish are.

Eat This Instead: Stick with domestic, farm-raised catfish, advises Marianne Cufone, director of the Fish Program at Food & Water Watch. It’s responsibly farmed and plentiful, making it one of the best fish you can eat. Or, try Asian carp, an invasive species with a similar taste to catfish that’s out-competing wild catfish and endangering the Great Lakes ecosystem.

2. Caviar  Why It’s Bad: Caviar from beluga and wild-caught sturgeon are susceptible to overfishing, according to the Food and Water Watch report, but the species are also being threatened by an increase in dam building that pollutes the water in which they live. All forms of caviar come from fish that take a long time to mature, which means that it takes a while for populations to rebound.

Eat This Instead: If you really love caviar, opt for fish eggs from American Lake Sturgeon or American Hackleback/Shovelnose Sturgeon caviar from the Mississippi River system.  BEWARE: 19 Foods That Aren’t Food

3. Atlantic Cod  Why It’s Bad: This one was difficult to add to the “dirty dozen list,” says Cufone, because it is so vital to the economic health of New England fishermen. “However, chronic mismanagement by the National Marine Fisheries Service and low stock status made it very difficult to recommend,” she says. Atlantic cod stocks collapsed in the mid-1990s and are in such disarray that the species is now listed as one step above endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature‘s Red List of Threatened Species.

Eat This Instead: The good news, if you love fish ‘n’ chips (which is nearly always made with cod), is that Pacific cod stocks are still strong and are one of Food and Water Watch’s best fish picks.

4. American Eel  Why It’s Bad: Also called yellow or silver eel, this fish, which frequently winds up in sushi dishes, made its way onto the list because it’s highly contaminated with PCBs and mercury. The fisheries are also suffering from some pollution and overharvesting.

Eat This Instead: If you like the taste of eel, opt for Atlantic- or Pacific-caught squid instead.

PLUS: 25 Best Weight-Loss Tips Of All Time

5. Imported Shrimp  Why It’s Bad: Imported shrimp actually holds the designation of being the dirtiest of the Dirty Dozen, says Cufone, and it’s hard to avoid, as 90% of shrimp sold in the U.S. is imported. “Imported farmed shrimp comes with a whole bevy of contaminants: antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth like mouse hair, rat hair, and pieces of insects,” Cufone says. “And I didn’t even mention things like E. coli that have been detected in imported shrimp.” Part of this has to do with the fact that less than 2% of ALL imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish, or others) gets inspected before its sold, which is why it’s that much more important to buy domestic seafood. (Still need convincing? Find out the Top 5 Reasons You Should Never Eat Shrimp Again.)

Eat This Instead: Look for domestic shrimp. Seventy percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico, which relies heavily on shrimp for economic reasons. Pink shrimp from Oregon are another good choice; the fisheries there are certified under the stringent Marine Stewardship Council guidelines.

6. Atlantic Flatfish  Why It’s Bad: This group of fish includes flounder, sole, and halibut that are caught off the Atlantic coast. They found their way onto the list because of heavy contamination and overfishing that dates back to the 1800s. According to Food and Water Watch, populations of these fish are as low as 1% of what’s necessary to be considered sustainable for long-term fishing.

Eat This Instead: Pacific halibut seems to be doing well, but the group also recommends replacing these fish with other mild-flavored white-fleshed fish, such as domestically farmed catfish or tilapia.

7. Atlantic Salmon (both wild-caught and farmed)  Why It’s Bad: It’s actually illegal to capture wild Atlantic salmon because the fish stocks are so low, and they’re low, in part, because of farmed salmon. Salmon farming is very polluting: Thousands of fish are crammed into pens, which leads to the growth of diseases and parasites that require antibiotics and pesticides. Often, the fish escape and compete with native fish for food, leading to declines in native populations. Adding to our salmon woes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving forward with approving genetically engineered salmon to be sold, unlabeled, to unsuspecting seafood lovers. That salmon would be farmed off the coast of Panama, and it’s unclear how it would be labeled. Currently, all fish labeled “Atlantic salmon” come from fish farms.

Eat This Instead: Opt for wild Alaskan salmon now, and in the event that GE salmon is officially approved.  RELATED: To avoid the most pesticide-ridden produce items, check out these 5 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic.

8. Imported King Crab  Why It’s Bad: The biggest problem with imported crab is that most of it comes from Russia, where limits on fish harvests aren’t strongly enforced. But this crab also suffers from something of an identity crisis, says Cufone: “Imported king crab is often misnamed Alaskan king crab, because most people think that’s name of the crab,” she says, adding that she’s often seen labels at supermarkets that say “Alaskan King Crab, Imported.” Alaskan king crab is a completely separate animal, she says, and it’s much more responsibly harvested than the imported stuff.

Eat This Instead: When you shop for king crab, whatever the label says, ask whether it comes from Alaska or if it’s imported. Approximately 70% of the king crab sold in the U.S. is imported, so it’s important to make that distinction and go domestic.

9. Shark  Why It’s Bad: Problems associated with our eating too many sharks happen at all stages of the food chain, says Cufone. For one, these predatory fish are extremely high in mercury, which poses threats to humans. But ocean ecosystems suffer, too. “With fewer sharks around, the species they eat, like cownose rays and jellyfish, have increased in numbers,” Cufone says. “And the rays are eating–and depleting–scallops and other fish.” There are fewer of those fish in the oceans for us to eat, placing an economic strain on coastal communities that depend on those fisheries.  Eat this instead: Among the recommendations for shark alternatives are Pacific halibut and Atlantic mackerel.  TRY THESE: 25 Delicious, Clean Detox Dishes

10. Orange Roughy  Why It’s Bad: In addition to having high levels of mercury, orange roughy can take between 20 and 40 years to reach full maturity and reproduces late in life, which makes it difficult for populations to recover from overfishing. Orange roughy has such a reputation for being overharvested that some large restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, refuse to serve it. However, it still pops up in grocer freezers, sometimes mislabeled as “sustainably harvested.” There are no fisheries of orange roughy that are considered well-managed or are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, so avoid any that you see.  Eat This Instead: Opt for yellow snapper or domestic catfish to get the same texture as orange roughy in your recipes.

11. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna  Why It’s Bad: A recent analysis by The New York Times found that Atlantic bluefin tuna has the highest levels of mercury of any type of tuna. To top it off, bluefin tuna are severely over harvested, to the point of reaching near-extinction levels, and are considered “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Rather than trying to navigate the ever-changing recommendations for which tuna is best, consider giving it up altogether and switching to a healthy, flavorful alternative, such as Alaska wild-caught salmon.  Eat This Instead: If you really can’t give up tuna, opt for American or Canadian (but not imported!) albacore tuna, which is caught while it’s young and doesn’t contain as high levels of mercury.

12. Chilean Sea Bass  Why It’s Bad: Most Chilean sea bass sold in the US comes from fishermen who have captured them illegally, although the US Department of State says that illegal harvesting of the fish has declined in recent years. Nevertheless, fish stocks are in such bad shape that the nonprofit Greenpeace estimates that, unless people stop eating this fish, the entire species could be commercially extinct within five years. Food and Water Watch’s guide notes that these fish are high in mercury, as well.

Eat This Instead: These fish are very popular and considered a delicacy, but you can get the same texture and feel with US hook-and-line-caught haddock.


I saw the article above on Fish … good bad and the really ugly information about fish. The fact is the information out there is filled with opinions and some are on point some not so much and though I blog, most folks don’t know me … we blog rant voice our opinions daily for ourselves and those who might want another angle on an issue or two. I have been reading Prevention for awhile and though most of what I read above seems like great accurate information we can all use I would like to add my 2cents … First of all, if you can buy local… period. The other sad truth is that wild fish on all levels have been overfished for awhile and just one reason the aquaculture field is trying to trend but even as much as our natural environment is suffering, farmed has some issues of its own and warrants asking our grocers, restauranteurs and fish markets/mongers some direct questions!  There was a time when I would say most if not everything you wanted to eat that is good fishy came from the Pacific NW , Maine or Alaska and that is still somewhat true … but ask questions! The fact is, there are times when I go home with canned or empty handed because the fish was from Peru or China and the farmed was imported which can = mislabeled dirty or over fished.   I would also like to say that sardines and smelt are also good choices … from the Atlantic and Pacific ~~ my family went fishing every other weekend … my dad was a fisherman back in the day when Trout, Salmon, Sturgen, Halibut and  Cod etc were plenty, clean and caught from Puget Sound … crappies from the lake and a smelt run down the way … Now, our waterways are suffering so even fish caught local need to be looked at these days …. in this era of trump, all things environmental will need advocates,lawyers,protesters to push back on policies that deregulates fishing standards which obviously damage waterways,fish and food for the next generation

== Nativegrl77

Hola (from Cuba) Julia de la Rosa

My name is Julia de la Rosa, and I am a Cuban cuentapropista — or Cuban entrepreneur. Over 20 years ago, my husband and I started our own business in Cuba providing lodging and transportation to visitors in our neighborhood in Havana. Everything about my business was on a very small scale: We had two bedrooms and one old car, and we did almost everything ourselves.

Today marks two years from when the President decided to normalize America’s relationship with my country.

As a cuentapropista, I watched this historic change help my business grow in ways I would have never expected. The demand for our services dramatically increased with the growing number of visitors, so we had the opportunity to expand. We now run a real bed and breakfast with 10 bedrooms, and have 17 people working with us as we provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Now, we’re starting a small taxi company, as transportation requests have increased — especially in old, classic cars. Thanks to these new times, we can even come to the U.S. to buy pieces to restore our eight American cars.

And this change has made a difference for Americans, too.

More than 500,000 Americans visited Cuba last year. Ten U.S. airlines are flying between American and Cuba citizens. And American cruise lines will soon start pulling into our ports. That’s going to mean a lot for Cuba’s development.

But this new relationship has not only changed my business, it’s changed my life. Like many others Cubans, I have family in the U.S., and thanks to President Obama’s decision to re-establish relations, my biggest dream could finally come true — to travel to Miami to meet my father’s family. I am incredibly grateful to President Obama for his leadership in forging this historic change for the U.S. and Cuba, and for what it will mean to both the Cuban and American people for generations to come.

Hope to see you in Havana soon,


Julia de la Rosa
Havana, Cuba