Rep. Brad Tschida Open Letter to Montana Secretary of State Asking for Better Election Security


We wrote a more lenthy article about Montana legislators and citizens at the symposium, and referenced Tschida’as letter to Jacobsen here. The letter, in full, is below…

Secretary Jacobsen,

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation with Austin James from your office.
I informed him that I have been made aware that voting software companies like Dominion, ES&S, Smartmatic and others, are conducting periodic software updates on their machines. What these updates are doing is erasing former code and replacing it with new code. In effect, information related to elections is being erased and replaced, in violation of federal and state law. I saw an actual sequence of code that showed an update which allowed parties to access the software within the machine by “de-hardening” the code. The programmers conducting the assessment indicated that this action was highly unusual and suspect.

I requested that Austin have you immediately send out instructions to ALL county elections officials to either not allow these periodic “updates” or, in the event they wish to allow them, to do 2 very critical things.The first, and less important, is to back up the information and the software, so that a comparison with the updated information can be conducted.

The second step, and the most critical, is that the counties using voting machines capture a “Forensic Image” of the software prior to updates. Since most election’s folks are probably no more computer savvy than I am, they may not know how to capture a “forensic image”, and may not know of anyone who can do this for them. There is also the likelihood that they may attempt to have this done, with the result being that the attempt is unsuccessful, despite their best efforts to do it right. Thus, it would be much safer to have the counties forego any updates, to preserve the current code in the machines.

A delay in sending out this message to elections’ officials, by even 1 day, may very well result in the loss of information that is required to be maintained and preserved, under state and federal law. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to send this message out today to all county elections officials, so that no one involved in elections in Montana may run afoul of election laws, potentially putting themselves in the path of civil or criminal charges.

Please confirm receipt of this email.


Rep. Brad Tschida

Editors Note: Secretary of State Jacobsen has not yet responded to Representative Brad Tschida


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