Illegal Attempts to Access Voting Machines Didn’t Stop with Jan. 6 Insurrection
While the January 6 committee has rightly focused on the criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, it is critical to remember that this threat is ongoing, and many of the people implicated continue to work to undermine future elections. One of the most troubling connections can be found in the persistent effort to illegally access election systems that could be used in 2022 and 2024. Increased security funding is needed to protect upcoming elections, especially from insider threats.
Among others, wealthy Republican businessmen like Mike Lindell, founder and CEO of MyPillow Inc., and Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock.com, have been active in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and are also supporting those working to gain unauthorized access to election systems. While the attempts to access these systems are most immediately a concern because false claims about them have been used to spread disinformation about the 2020 race, the efforts also pose a security risk to future elections.
Security experts have long warned that giving malicious actors direct access to election system hardware is particularly dangerous and could risk the integrity of elections. That’s why after improperly accessed voting equipment was discovered in three states — Colorado, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — officials either seized or decertified the equipment so that it could not be used in future elections. When such activity was recently discovered in a fourth state — Georgia — the secretary of state announced an investigation and said he had already replaced key election software used in the relevant county.
Who is behind the effort to gain this unauthorized access? In many cases, the very same people involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election. Perhaps most prominently, Lindell, who has been a vociferous advocate for overturning the 2020 election, is also closely connected to many of the people who have accessed county voting systems around the country. Earlier this year, Politico reported that the January 6 committee subpoenaed his phone records. He was seen at the White House after the January 6 attack with a paper with the words “Insurrection Act” and “martial law if necessary” on it.