While We Still Have Time: The Perils Of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy's Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections, by Sheila Parks Ed.D.


September 6, 2012. While We Still Have Time now available on Amazon.com.

While We Still Have Time:  The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy's Solution:  Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections, by Sheila Parks, Ed.D.

Read excerpt including INJUNCTION to impound election materials in Wisconsin: Democracy in Our Hands


“Georgia And Texas On My Mind”

by Sheila Parks, October 30, 2018

“An 11-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy independently hacked electronic voting machines at Def Con in Las Vegas, August 2018. In September 2018, Kim Zetter asks us in ‘The Crisis of Election Security’: ‘As the midterms approach, America's electronic voting systems are more vulnerable than ever. Why isn't anyone trying to fix them?’ Moreover, ‘The Voting Machines In The [Emmy nominated] Feature Film HACKING DEMOCRACY Counted America's Votes In The November 2016 Elections,’ the film website starkly reminds us. These voting machines will again be used to count our votes on November 6, 2018, in the upcoming midterms.

To see what kind of machines are used in each state and if there is even a paper trail if the state uses touchscreens/DRE's, Verified Voting has answers on The Verifier - ‘Polling Place Equipment - November 2018.’

Saving our elections cannot be done by paper ballots and post election audits. There is only one way to do so, to make sure that we have honest, secure elections. That each of our votes is counted as cast: elections with hand-counted paper ballots.

Here is democracy's solution, democracy in our hands: young people, elders, and everyone in between get paid $20/hour to hand-count and/or observe the hand-counting of the paper ballots. My thoughts are that states would be crowded full of people who want to hand-count and observe an honest count of our elections. The right to vote and have our vote counted as cast is the most important right and vote we have: all our other rights rest on this.”

BBC News

“Hacking the US mid-terms? It's child's play”

by Dave Lee, August 11, 2018

“The kids' zone at Def Con had more than 300 attendees on its first day - around half of them were girls ”

“…the voting systems that will be used across America for the mid-term vote in November are, in many cases, so insecure a young child can learn to hack them with just a few minute's coaching.”

PBS News Hour

“An 11-year-old changed election results on a replica Florida state website in under 10 minutes”

by Michael D. Regan, August 12, 2018

Two 11 year olds, in 10 & 15 mins, hack replica Florida state election website, change voting results found there.

“Nico Sell, the co-founder of the the non-profit r00tz Asylum, which teaches children how to become hackers and helped organize the event, said an 11-year-old girl also managed to make changes to the same Florida replica website in about 15 minutes, tripling the number of votes found there.

Sell said more than 30 children hacked a variety of other similar state replica websites in under a half hour.

‘These are very accurate replicas of all of the sites,’ Sell told the PBS NewsHour on Sunday. ‘These things should not be easy enough for an 8-year-old kid to hack within 30 minutes, it's negligent for us as a society.’

Sell said the idea for the event began last year, after adult hackers were able to access similar voting sites in less than five minutes.

‘So this year we decided to bring the voting village to the kids as well,’ she said…”

“In a statement regarding the event, the National Association of Secretaries of State said it is ‘ready to work with civic-minded members of the DEFCON community wanting to become part of a proactive team effort to secure our elections.’ But the organization expressed skepticism over the hackers' abilities to access the actual state websites.

‘It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols,’ it read. ‘While it is undeniable websites are vulnerable to hackers, election night reporting websites are only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results for the public and the media. The sites are not connected to vote counting equipment and could never change actual election results.’

But Sell said the exercise the children took part in demonstrates the level of security vulnerabilities found in the U.S. election system.

‘To me that statement says that the secretaries of states are not taking this seriously. Although it's not the real voting results it's the results that get released to the public. And that could cause complete chaos,’ she said. ‘The site may be a replica but the vulnerabilities that these kids were exploiting were not replicas, they're the real thing.’

‘I think the general public does not understand how large a threat this is, and how serious a situation that we're in right now with our democracy,’ she said.”

McClatchy DC Bureau

“Can hackers tamper with your vote? Researchers show it's possible in nearly 30 states”

by Tim Johnson, Greg Gordon And Christine Condon, August 14, 2018

“Top computer researchers gave a startling presentation recently about how to intercept and switch votes on emailed ballots, but officials in the 30 or so states said the ease with which votes could be changed wouldn't alter their plans to continue offering electronic voting in some fashion.

Two states — Washington and Alaska — have ended their statewide online voting systems.

The developments, amid mounting fears that Russians or others will try to hack the 2018 midterm elections, could heighten pressure on officials on other U.S. states to reconsider their commitment to online voting despite repeated admonitions from cybersecurity experts.

But a McClatchy survey of election officials in a number of states that permit military and overseas voters to send in ballots by email or fax — including Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas — produced no immediate signs that any will budge on the issue. Some chief election officers are handcuffed from making changes, even in the name of security, by state laws permitting email and fax voting.

At the world's largest and longest-running hacker convention, two researchers from a Portland, Ore., nonpartisan group that studies election security showed how, in about two hours, they could set up a sham server and program it to intercept and alter ballots attached to emails.

‘Ballots sent over email are not secure,’ said Lyell Read, one of the researchers from the group Free & Fair. ‘As long as people have a chance to vote another way, that's probably a good decision.’”

Politico Magazine

“I Just Hacked a State Election. I'm 17. And I'm Not Even a Very Good Hacker. It took a lot less than you'd think for myself and my fellow teens to steal the midterms.”
“The fake hack carried real lessons for the security of our election system.”

by River O'Connor, August 21, 2018

“It took me around 10 minutes to crash the upcoming midterm elections. Once I accessed the shockingly simple and vulnerable set of tables that make up the state election board's database, I was able to shut down the website that would tally the votes, bringing the election to a screeching halt. The data were lost completely. And just like that, tens of thousands of votes vanished into thin air, throwing an entire election, and potentially control of the House or Senate—not to mention our already shaky confidence in the democratic process itself—into even more confusion, doubt, and finger-pointing.


“Voting and Hand Counting Ballots Can Bring Us Gun Control, No B.S. [Thank you Emma Gonzalez]”

by Sheila Parks, July 31, 2018

“I am very excited that the Parkland youth and all your allies are taking on the issue of voting. Thanks to you, I am imagining hundreds of thousands of youth from across the country counting all our paper ballots by hand. The hand counting must be publicly observed, live-streamed and have a secure chain of custody from blank ballot to ballot box to final tally sheets, with archived ballots ready to recount if any election is contested. This in the 2018 midterm elections, the 2020 presidential election and beyond, at all levels of government, from the smallest municipality to county and state elections as well as national elections.

Parkland youth and all your allies, we the people need you to call for and demand that you yourselves hand count the paper ballots (HCPB) to ensure honest elections. Insisting on transparent HCPB elections will help to bring us the gun laws that stop the horrific killing in schools and elsewhere.

Otherwise, we will continue to have election fraud, as all electronic voting machines can be hacked, both DRE's/touchscreens and optical scans. And this does not even touch the rampant suppression of the vote.

You can read some chapters from my book about election fraud and electronic voting machines here. Although there are many more restrictions on abortion rights now and many more in the wings, Chapter X ‘Crashing at the Intersection of Women's Rights and Voting Rights’ is still excruciatingly important now more than ever, with Kavanaugh up for SCOTUS. He is a hard right conservative who also loves guns and who the NRA is supporting strongly.

In 2017, Voting Village at DEF CON, the world's largest hacker convention, was a room filled with electronic voting machines waiting to be hacked by conference attendees. "In less than 90 minutes, the first cracks in the systems' defenses started appearing, revealing an embarrassing low level of security. Then one was hacked wirelessly.

In 2013, I wrote about the first season of the brilliant TV show "Scandal" by Shonda Rhimes. One of its major themes was the rigging of an election in Defiance, Ohio: ‘Election Rigging Plotted on ABC's Scandal: The Real Life Backstory.’ The main character investigating the rigging of the election via the electronic voting machines was killed off later. It is often alleged that a very high vote for a candidate prevents election fraud. Better yet, instead, let's make sure that hand-counted paper ballots prevent election fraud…”


“Microsoft reveals first known midterm campaign hacking attempts”

by Eric Geller, July 19, 2018

“Microsoft detected and helped block hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year, a company executive said Thursday, marking the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections.

‘Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks,’ said Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president for security and trust, at the Aspen Security Forum. ’And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections.’

Burt declined to name the targets but said they were ‘people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint.’”


“Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States”
“Remote-access software and modems on election equipment ‘is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.’”

by Kim Zetter, July 17, 2018

“The nation's top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.”

This contradicts previous statements by Election Systems and Software, made as recently as February 2018, as described in “The Myth of the Hacker-Proof Voting Machine” by Kim Zetter, February 21, 2018, in the New York Times Magazine.


“Congressional Briefing on Election Cybersecurity Brings Diversity on Steroids”

by Marta Steele, July 11, 2018

“A bipartisan panel was convened on Tuesday, July 10, by several Election Integrity (EI) organizations as well as FreedomWorks to discuss election cybersecurity as it relates to the upcoming midterm election…

Grayson ask Halderman what he thought about the new digital-image optical scanners now on the market. Halderman answered that since the images are computer-generated, they are vulnerable to all possible problems this infers. ‘There is no substitute for paper,’ he said.

Added Hursti, Digital images require TRUST [i.e. are ‘faith-based’] in their accuracy. Halderman describes such pitfalls in terms of the Volkswagen scandal a few years ago, when the vehicles' computers were found only to operate when being tested, not when in actual use, a huge safety hazard to drivers…

Grayson's opening question, directed to Halderman, concerned what to do before Election 2018.”


“Dear Doug Jones, all our rights depend on our right to vote and have our vote counted as cast”

by Sheila Parks, Ed.D., December 11, 2017

CBS News

“Hackers break into voting machines within 2 hours at Defcon”

July 30, 2017

We just bumped into this now and so are posting a little more than a year later because it is so important.

“After nearly an hour and a half, Carsten Schürmann, an associate professor with IT-University of Copenhagen, successfully cracked into a voting machine at Las Vegas' Defcon convention on Friday night, CNET reports.

Schürmann penetrated Advanced Voting Solutions' 2000 WinVote machine through its Wi-Fi system. Using a Windows XP exploit from 2003, he was able to remotely access the machine, CNET reports.…”

“Synack, a San Francisco security platform, discovered serious flaws with the WinVote machine months ahead of this weekend's convention. The team simply plugged in a mouse and keyboard and bypassed the voting software by clicking ‘control-alt-delete.’

‘It's really just a matter of plugging your USB drive in for five seconds and the thing's completely compromised at that point,’ Synack co-founder Jay Kaplan told CNET. ‘To the point where you can get remote access. It's very simple.’

The Synack team also cracked the machine from a mobile application by installing a remote desktop program to it. In one case study, Synack found a Virginia poll worker hacked the machine to play Minesweeper.

A hacker, who only identified himself as ‘Oyster,’ tried to crack a Diebold voting machine after another team had compromised it.…”

“Anne-Marie Hwang, a Synack intern, told CNET that changing votes can be as simple as updating a Microsoft Excel document

‘Hacking it is good because it's able to inform politicians and people in Congress about what they should do with voting machines,’ Hwang said. ‘If no one ever hacked them, we might be still using things like this.’”

The Hill

“Hackers breach dozens of voting machines brought to conference”

by Joe Uchill, July 29, 2017

“LAS VEGAS – One of the nation's largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be.

‘It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,’ said security consultant Thomas Richards, glancing at a Premier Election Solutions machine currently in use in Georgia.

The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a ‘Voting Machine Village,’ where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities.

The conference acquired 30 machines for hackers to toy with. Every voting machine in the village was hacked.”


“Defcon hackers find it's very easy to break voting machines”
“Voting is at the foundation of every democracy. Hackers find it's on shaky ground thanks to shoddy technology.”

by Alfred Ng, July 30, 2017

“The village is expected to return to Defcon for the next three years, right up until Trump's potential re-election campaign. The hackers at Defcon hope by 2020, their exploits will lead to changes in voting booth technology.

‘Hacking it is good because it's able to inform politicians and people in Congress about what they should do with voting machines,’ Hwang said. ‘If no one ever hacked them, we might be still using things like this.’”

The Register

“It took DEF CON hackers minutes to pwn these US voting machines
“We've got three years to shore up election security”

by Iain Thomson, July 29, 2017

“DEF CON After the debacle of the 2000 presidential election count, the US invested heavily in electronic voting systems — but not, it seems, the security to protect them.

This year at the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas, 30 computer-powered ballot boxes used in American elections were set up in a simulated national White House race — and hackers got to work physically breaking the gear open to find out what was hidden inside.

In less than 90 minutes, the first cracks in the systems' defenses started appearing, revealing an embarrassing low level of security. Then one was hacked wirelessly.

‘Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible. Thanks to the contributions of the hacker community today, we've uncovered even more about exactly how,’ said Jake Braun, who sold DEF CON founder Jeff Moss on the idea earlier this year.”


“Defcon vote-hacking village shows that ‘secure’ voting machines can be broken in minutes”

by Cory Doctorow, July 30, 2017

“I was in the room for some of this, and attended some of the excellent accompanying talks. The case for auditing and improving the country's voting machine security has never been made plainer, or more urgent. This is important work.

One important note: voting machines increasingly use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to restrict software updates, which triggers Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), under which security researchers face potential criminal and civil penalties for revealing defects in products that are designed to control access to copyrighted works.”

USA Today

“Hackers at DefCon conference exploit vulnerabilities in voting machines”

by Elizabeth Weise, July 30, 2017

“LAS VEGAS – Hackers 5, voting machines 0.

It took less than a day for attendees at the DefCon hacking conference to find and exploit vulnerabilities in five different voting machine types.

The first ones were discovered within an hour and 30 minutes. And none of these vulnerabilities has ever been found before, they'll [sic] all new,’ said Harri Hursti, co-coordinator of the event.

One group even managed to rick-roll a touch screen voting machine, getting it to run Rick Astley's song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up,’ from 1987. …”

“Several groups took machines apart, others found ports meant for election officials and plugged computers and testing devices into them to see what the [sic] could gain access to. Wireless and networked hacks were also attempted.

But much of the work didn't involve hacking at all.

‘It just took us a couple of hours on Google to find passwords that let us unlock the administrative functions on this machine,’ said Pfeifer, whose group was working on a touch screen voting machine. ‘Now we're working on where we can go from there.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Simons: Why we must recount by hand”

by Barbara Simons, November 29, 2016

The recounts in Wisconsin (and other states, if applicable) must be done by hand. To use the same machines that may have done the count incorrectly in the first place would be insane.

Reader Supported News

“Hey! Donald!! Let's Make a Deal on Those 3 Million “Rigged” Votes and a National Recount”

by Harvey Wasserman, November 29, 2016

If Donald Trump really wants to claim that millions of non-citizens voted for Hillary, he should fund a 50 state recount.

Columbus Free Press

“Did the GOP Strip & Flip the 2016 Selection?”

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, November 18, 2016

The system really is rigged . . . just not the way Donald Trump says it is. By way of the slavery-inspired Electoral College, stripping of voter rolls, and outright discarding and flipping of votes, the GOP is able to win again and again, regardless of how much the pundits say it is in trouble.


“Fraction Magic – Detailed Vote Rigging Demonstration”

by Bev Harris, October 31, 2016

“A real-time demo of the most devastating election theft mechanism yet found, with context and explanation. (See also: Jordan Robertson of Bloomberg Business analyzes Fraction Magic in its Cyber Security Segment: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-11-04/digital-defense-november-3-2016 and Cover Story in Bloomberg Businessweek https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-voting-technology/)

This demonstration uses a real voting system and real vote databases and takes place in seconds across multiple jurisdictions. Over 5000 subcontractors and middlemen have the access to perform this for any or all clients. It can give contract signing authority to whoever the user chooses. All political power can be converted to the hands of a few anonymous subcontractors. It's a product. It's scaleable. It learns its environment and can adjust to any political environment, any demographic. It runs silently, invisibly, and can produce plausible results that really pass for the real thing.”

The Register-Star

“County becoming known for hand-counting votes”

by John Mason (Columbia-Greene Media), July 7, 2015

Virginia Martin, Election Commissioner of Columbia County, New York gains notice for her rigorous voting integrity policy, starting with hand-counting votes. The photo below features her summer reading collection, including While We Still Have Time: The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracy�s Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure, Hand-counted Paper Ballot Elections by Sheila Parks.

Virginia Martin's summer reading collection

You can buy "While We Still Have Time" Here


“Klassen letter: While we still have time”

by Dave Klassen, November 7, 2012

“While we still have time

I love computers. I have programmed them since 1963. But they are being used to steal our elections. They pose inherent, unacceptable risks to our election processes.

Dr. Sheila Parks is a staunch advocate for a solution to these risks. She founded the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots in Boston, and her new book: “While We Still Have Time, the Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracy�s Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections” is essential. Dr. Parks is a tireless and fierce advocate for accurate and secure elections. She documents the proven fact that any type of computer used for voting can be and has been hacked, resulting in fraudulent reports of vote totals and stolen elections. Both DRE�s (touch-screen voting machines) and optical scanners that read paper ballots are implicated. No foolproof procedures or technologies exist that can secure the votes cast or counted on these machines. The gold standard to ensure that votes are counted as cast is hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB), using procedures already well established in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

This topic is extraordinarily complex. Yet on every page, Dr. Parks� intense devotion to democracy and to our country shines through. She presents facts, plus a great admiration for other activists, and even poetry. Her extensive notes are a comprehensive reference to Election Integrity literature. I am not aware of any other single source that provides so many references and links to document this issue.

Dave Klassen


You can buy "While We Still Have Time" Here

The Free Press

“Book Review: A Must Read for All U.S. Citizens”

by Sue Mundell, September 28, 2012

“A review of While We Still Have Time: The Perils Of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy's Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections, by Sheila Parks, Ed.D.

In While We Still Have Time: The Perils Of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy's Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections, Dr. Sheila Parks makes a very compelling (but scary) argument, backed up with lots of convincing evidence, showing that ALL electronic voting machines are susceptible to fraud and demonstrating that many have in fact been tampered with in recent elections.

This book is an absolute MUST READ for all citizens who are concerned that ALL votes are counted as cast. Dr. Parks shows that it is impossible to prove that electronic voting machines used in elections have NOT been tampered with. Her book is a chilling reminder that all ordinary citizens must continue to be actively involved in the political process if we want to avoid the demise of our democracy. The most precious right we have as citizens is the right to vote and have each vote be counted as intended.

I highly recommend this book. It is a quick read, and includes many practical steps to take to advocate for publicly-observed, secure, hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections. Several chapters provide case studies of four precincts in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. These case studies are based on Parks' observations in real time of elections being counted by hand, and demonstrate that it is actually CHEAPER, FASTER, AND SAFER to run HCPB elections than to run elections using voting machines, which cost between $3,000 to $5,000 per machine, not counting the cost to store, maintain, and upgrade them regularly -- or the cost to our democracy of having votes stolen!

Parks is an expert on the topic of HCBP elections. In fact, her research since 2000 has impelled her to put forth protocols to implement HCPB elections nationwide (see the last chapter) -- but we must first get our elections supervisors to see the importance of doing so! To aid in that endeavor, in the Introduction Parks provides a two-page list of concrete actions that can be taken by ordinary citizens.

This is too important an issue for American citizens to sit on their hands over. We must insist and demand by every way we can imagine that our government stop using electronic voting machines now and forever -- and While We Still Have Time provides much useful information and guidance in doing so. For instance, in it, Parks points out that the United States could learn a lesson from The Netherlands and Ireland: both countries have already eliminated electronic voting machines, and Ireland actually sold all of their machines as scrap!

I highly recommend that you read this book and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues. We must not sit back and watch while our elections are rigged!”

You can buy "While We Still Have Time" Here

While We Still Have Time: The Perils Of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy's Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections

Sheila Parks, Ed.D. | 617.744.6020 | Copyright 2012
All rights reserved. No republishing without prior authorization.