‘All Voting Machines are Hackable’: John Oliver Ahead of US Polls

On his show, Oliver said that during the 2016 election, Russians attempted to hack voting systems in all 50 states.

2 min read
John Oliver spoke about the 2020 US elections and the concern over security of voting machines.

John Oliver, in the latest episode of his show, Last Week Tonight, voiced concern about the challenges and “threats” posed at the 2020 United States Presidential elections, set to take place in 3 November next year.

Apart from the serious talk, though, Oliver also commented on how “among other things, it’s the only way to get Sean Spicer off of Dancing with the Stars,”.

How Much Do You Trust the Voting System?

In his own comic way, Oliver stressed that “as much as it is understandable that people do not know much about the voting system or how our votes get counted, it is reasonable to have questions about election security."

He also opined that people in the US now know that during 2016 election, the Russians attempted to hack voting systems in all 50 states.

“They are Russians, there are precisely three things that they are good at: hacking, hockey, and writing books so sad they make you want to drink a potato.”
John Oliver, Last Week Tonight Host

The Looming 'Threat' to Voting Machines

As the voting machines in US get older, Oliver said that they are “increasingly vulnerable to exploitation”.

“A central report found that our voting machines are vulnerable to exploitation by a committed adversary,” he claimed.

During the 2000 US presidential election, Oliver said that the contest between George W Bush and Al Gore ended in Florida, which used the problematic punch card ballots with their now infamous chads.

“Much like the third elimination in every season of ‘The Bachelorette’, it all came down to the chads,” he joked.

He said that the event led to the Help America Vote Act, which offered states $3.9 billion to help administer federal elections and buy new equipment.

However, then Chairperson of Election Assistance Commission (EAC), DeForest Soaries soon realised that there was a problem with expenditure and research on the machines.

‘All Voting Machines Are Hackable’: John Oliver

Oliver, in show show, said that every voting machine in the US can be tampered with, so the solution isn’t to make unhackable machines, but to make them as secure as possible.

He also played a clip of a hacker demonstrating a modal in 18 states. The hacker showed how easy it was get access in one of the machines under the span of two minutes.

He further added that Georgia's voting system has not been updated since 2005.

“Georgia’s election system operates at the same level of technical proficiency as every dad,” he joked.

Oliver insisted that the country needs to create efficient systems to know when a problem has occurred. To explain why this is important, he showed a clip of Russian President Vladimir Putin “joking” that he was going to influence the 2020 US elections.

“We can fix this and we must fix this, because it is critically important for people to have confidence in our voting machines,” said Oliver.
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