« Reveal

How to (really) steal an election

2016-10-22 | 🔗

With the presidential race in the homestretch, it seems like we hear talk about rigged elections and threats of cyberattacks just about every week. So, how safe are our votes? Is it possible to steal an American election? Reveal looks at the technology we’ll be using to vote next month, and whether the trend toward internet voting will make our ballots more vulnerable.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now, for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads, telling stories that matter, for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restoring, did about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it is our duty to fight attacks like this. The fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars. Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
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From the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is revealed a mallet early voting has barely begun and Donald Trump is already calling this year's election fraud. He claims large scale. Voter fraud is happening now, Republicans in democratic alike, say, is wrong. There is no conspiracy to steal the election, but Trump seems to be setting the stage to question. The election results Susan guns, burger remembers the last time a presidential race was in limbo, back in two thousand George W Bush verses, We sat and check the election results decision two thousand lecture thinking from the different places, The results were corrected, stay with us for a ride take you on an exciting and bumpy ride.
Susie lives in Florida and back in two thousand, she was the democratic mayor of Brower County and also served on the cap. In board which overseas elections. Now I'm from Florida Too- and I remember these days vividly everything felt so tat as election time in a swing state always does by the evening and look like it was a done deal centre I can say to you once economic social interrupt. You MIKE, you know, do there's if it weren't big Florida goes for Al Gore, but wasn't over and like a lot of us. Suzanne was sensing. The things work, right there's something wrong when we weren't even getting all of our rob election results from the different precincts glowered globally Florida they're gonna hold the poles later- and it was two in the morning- usually were done before midnight. Just a few minutes later Florida, the state that had been called for Gore went to Governor George W
Wasn't networks give us the network's. Take us away. George Bush is the President: Elect of the United States has won the state afford our. According to our projections, it had been a loud ride in a brow words, they were done counting votes Suzanne and her team had rest up. We decided to call it night we were exhausted not long after vice. President Gore picked up the phone and called Governor Bush conceding the race, but there wasn't it end of it, while Susanna most of Amerika were sleeping. The election confusion are women, after bring somebody export analogy, we're in here but gives complicated, Kip grief getting worse, means Automatic Rica curious about why we're not seeing the governor yet and we haven't seen vice president. Al Gore, perhaps are waiting for all the votes to be counted the next morning then in the rest of us woke up to a job dropper during the night. Vice President Gore called foolish again to take his consent.
Back. Bush was still in the lead, but by law then one percent and that triggered in magic machine. We count the whole state the next day, poor called for retail by hand in four counties, and we were one of the lucky for it. Looked like determining the next president had fallen into the lap of the brown county. Canvassing bored. I didn't ask for this job. I didn't want this job. I tried to get out of this job Judge Robert Rosenberg Register Republican was appointed to the canvassing board after the event, the supervisory left town for vacation and never came back. The judge join Suzanne and the emergency operations centre where they examined every contested valid. Maybe you remember the Chad's the donut holes of the ballots, the tiny flakes of paper that should have been punch clean through the voting card to indicate a positive vote and Browed County in the latter case
they weren't. Sometimes you got a partial punch through something. If you got a pregnant Chad, but you couldn't completely punch through. Is that would cause the problem? Judge Rosenberg trace the valley crisis back to the voting machines. Would you become clogged with Chad's? Have those machines been cleaned out, the build up to removed. You never would have had a chair problem. You would add a complete bunch through Judge Rosenberg was in the thick of it and it wasn't a particularly safe place to be. If you looked down, people on the street on both sides in us in Amerika figure. There is strange to see him police barricades and differ. Group here in the street, I mean it doesn't happen here. It got so bad. Miami date? The next county, over a band of Bush supporters, charge the electoral offices and shut down their recount for good now known as the Brooks blood is right. Susie Guns, burger, feel threatened to well after the death threats.
How could you not? It was really This is just one message posted on the website. People should Oh and kill my grandchildren in long island. The FBI was called in. That was the only time in the whole process that I cried, I'm pretty tough. You can attack me, but not my grandchildren, still Suzanne and the canvassing board kept counting votes for almost two weeks, trying to meet the deadlines imposed by Florida. Secretary of State and Bush. The Porter Catherine Harris Browed County finish their count. Those two of the other counties didn't finish by the deadline. In accordance with the law, the state of Florida. I hear I declare Governor George W Bush, the winner in the Inn, Bush had five hundred and thirty seven more votes than Gore authorities. Twenty five elects world as president of the United States. It still was,
no without the Florida Supreme Court came back with demands for another recount across the entire state, but that quickly came to an end. Instead, the final authority- the? U S Supreme Court, Your argument now number nine, forty, nine George W Bush and with your Chinese versus Albert Gore, bringing the red, else, in the election to a definitive, and I was sitting my living room watching the result come out, and that was the second time I cried pursues in it was devastating. I felt I had worked so hard tried to be so objective tried to find out what the truth was in terms of voting, and this ended up being decided. This election was decided by five people.
The votes of the country didn't matter after two thousand, the federal government set new standards on how elections should be one. So no more hanging chance states New voting technologies problem solved right, not exactly to judge Rosenberg and Suzanne Guns, Burger, Timmy me it's frightening. You could have some mischief, actually any system. Even the current system could have some mischief miss or in the words of Donald Trump Cheating, we're not gonna lose the only way we can lose and Maya. I really mean those Pennsylvania as if cheating goes on that's Trump better rally, allow tuna Pennsylvania this summer, and here he is again just a few weeks ago, you ve gotta go out and you ve gotta get your friends and you ve gotta get everybody, you know and you got away.
She appalling votes, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas, certain areas like Philadelphia, blue City with a large black population. Our rapporteur lost our chaskey lives. There we sent her to find out if this so called, cheating is possible and what the city will do if Trump claims the election was still Learn from you, Ryan Godfrey is an election inspector who lives just a couple blocks from me. I mean in early one morning at a trolley step up the street pay Ryan three to hours ago. I'm Ryan's software guy who decided to run for election inspector because he's a patriot and the numbers speak on election day? He means the poles and make sure every vote gets count We one got another and, let's grab everything we have The trolley here was to city and head City hall
inside the real big old voting machines are lined up right outside the election commissioners offices. The machines are here for voters. The practice on before election day thinks machines call to shoot chronic, which is pretty cool name. A shoop, chronic or just the soup. Would we'll call it just the shoe here's how the shoop works. You duck behind a royal blue curtain and there's a big list of candidates laid over a panel of buttons when he put a button. A red dot lights up by your candidates, name Machine looks like it's from around one thousand nine hundred and eighty four, which is when the soup first came on the market. I think of this is essentially an appliance rather than a computer. It's like a big calculator Batali the votes and dump the data onto a cartridge that pops out of the back of the machine at the end of election deck. It's like an external, hard drive or think of it
it's more like a nintendo cartridge. Brain was about to show me the cartridge itself when a big burly guy had been standing next to the machine came over. I thought he was. And a security guard. There's no way these machines can be act. Nowhere It is not no way, but you would have to have a very organised government level. Conspiracy involve too to get that to happen Basically, you down your throat. Crap on the wall happened, some stick yeah, that's that's what you're saying that, basically, Let me first shit on the wall safe. It sticks by that's what you're saying. Ok, can you introduce yourself my name's turned down a deputy city commission, Deputy commissioner Dowling has been working elections and Philly for thirty years he's personally offence. By the rumours trumpets spreading about elections tampering in his city. Is this summer foxes Sean Hannity through fuel on the fire he claimed their wished.
Eating here back and twenty twelve in fifty nine supper precincts inner city, Philadelphia, Mitt Romney did not a single vote, not one these were fifteen, an overwhelmingly black democratic divisions and Philly when city and the Philadelphia enquire investigated the explanation: with simple, no in those divisions, had voted for Romney really has been using the shoop chronic for about fifteen years. Never been a major problem. Trump insists, though, that people in Philly can and will cheat this November soda going pops open. The back of the voting machine to show me in writing the cartridge. How do you have that this is the cartridge here, so you would have to take their cartridge out physically replacing the proposer with what some other countries that you have you gotta ridiculous. I agree even in admits tampering with these cartridges. Would be tough, there's a chain of custody, so
the animal action night, a pole worker hands the cartridge to a police officer who personally escorted to accounting facility. But if trumpet does question the results the real challenge for Philly will be proving he's wrong. How do we know that a vote counted with the ship track? The The answer is, we can't be a hundred percent sure. That's because the shoe chronic can tell you how many votes trump that and how many votes Clinton got, but that's it we have no knowing how any individual voted we just snow, the total at the end. This is the pro that's, according to Susanna good men who an expert on voting technology at the nonprofit common cause. She says one key ingredient is missing in fillies elections. My biggest concern about voting systems that are out there today are the ones that don't have that built in failsafe, the ones without a vote, a verified paper record or paper ballot. Some
kind of paper backup in Philly. If something does go wrong with the cartridge in the back of the voting machine there's no, aid to reconstruct each vote. There have been a number of sort of high profile failures. Where the computers Where did go, awry and votes were added or votes were lost data get messed up, no matter what kind of voting machine you're using, but if there's a paper trail you can do a recount in the case is where there wasn't anything like that. They had to have an election do over or The outcome of the election was just left in limbo, four months, which is Susan, This concern for Philadelphia if Trump insists the voting machines were hacked. How could the city prove they hadn't been? I don't know. You know I mean that's why we I mean I dont know how they would do it. But that's, I guess you know. There's
to figure out Philadelphia, isn't alone imports of Florida. Another key battleground state, many voters use electronic touch screen machines. They don't have any way for the vote to verify that the burden they pushed is what's being recorded in that's the same story for about one in four Americans, but don't panic Jes. Yet most states are more like California, where reveals Michael Corey is based If you want to rig an election in my neck of the woods, you're gonna have to go through Scott capacity. I am responsible or managing all the aspects of elections. Scott is the assistant, registrar voters, in contrast, accounting in the suburbs of San Francisco. He used to be an army and
halogens officer, so we're sitting in your office right now in one of the first things I noticed is you have to license plate up above your desk? What what? What do they say? they say no chance, no Chad's all. As a result of the Florida two thousand election hanging Chad's pregnant Chad's, dangled Chad's made all the headlines, and the maid Chad's, represent ambiguity, my slow, as an election official is no Chad's. Punches in a code. I led me into a secure room with eight big metal machines that look like cold overs from the cold war as an input hopper, an output, hopper and in between the two, is a scanner and optical scanner them she reads them.
Said the border made on about as it passes through. We do it has drawn by feeding in a stack of paper, and this is the key to California's election security. It's pretty hard to hack paper. It takes longer count. Twenty six perfect balance there is no hesitation It is not very high tech, in fact, our printers, that we have hooked up to this machine or actually dot matrix printers one of our biggest challenges. In maintaining these machines is keeping an adequate supply of track, FED paper and printer ribbons, you have to go to Ebay, sometimes find them. This is how the counties vote by male ballots recounted, if you vote in person your own ballot into a small scanner right at your precinct, the voters, ain't gonna memory card, which goes back to Scott at election headquarters, and
with your original paper ballot. A memory card comes back to us and we upload that on election night and his long. As there are no issues or problems with the memory card. We don't. Run the paper balance through again benefit. Didn't notice. It discrepancy see all the boats that are being cast all day. Long are now in our possession. We will. Is zero out. The old results and re run Deckard through again to correct any problem. So it's not all doom and gloom in the world. A voting technology. Thirty four states either use all paper ballots. All electronic voting machines with a paper backup, voters can see and another twelve states use these methods in at least some counties, but Scott says even with the best techniques There is still one more variable to consider
This is one of the most human endeavours that we ever do when human beings are involved. If it can happen, it does if something does go wrong when you are voting on election day between us were at reveal closed. Our Chaskey might Corey The whole team of reveal reporters will be out across country covering the election. We just heard how would it Mr Voting machines, low tech is safer, more secure, so with all the news these days about hackers, why are some states play Jim into internet boating. That story comes up next on reveal
instead of what again, reporting and p r? U set of? One gave reporting in p r ex. This is reveal a melody on an October morning. Back two thousand TED, a member of Washington Dc City Council, held a public meeting to assess the city's readiness for the up in general election I mean reaching on the war, three council member and also the chair of the committee on government operations and the environment. The folks of meeting the city's plan to try out internet voting DC had opened up its system for security experts to check for potential problems. Attendance was sparse, enormously got off to a pretty mine. Numbing Start Council woman CHE admits is much
ass. He calls the scheduled speakers. Some had just blown it off on one Glover public, witness on one Glover public, witness they find it more exciting hearing. Do you think, just within about our in something kind of child astonishing happens, stop a small team, sits down a full of shit, One of them is a polite, looking guy with ringlets glasses in a timid smile, his name or allow Alex held a myriad. Basically, your hackers that were changed I'm a professor at his checking. But just remember that I have to have things simple, Jesse,
but understand it. So, despite how technical, as stated it is in reality, if you could just gonna make it available to folks like myself and of course, Alex release it all out when he heard the DC was inviting people to test its internet voting system, he put together team of computer science. Graduate students from the University of Michigan Alex tells the council, with here He and his team were able to do. We modified all the ballots stored on the system that had already been cast by voters and we changed the it's so that the votes would be counted for candidates we selected mostly, they were evil science fiction, robots we also rigged the system to replace any future ballots than were cast in just the same way. Alexander balled up didn't take long about one day to hijack the whole system. At this point, the council woman- she is staring at him like he dragged a key across her Bmw. Remember this. The programme DC was
hoping to start using in a couple weeks, son you're funny branch over there as well you're a pretty serious bunch too. There was a cherry on top to a little inside joke on the confirmation screen after you voted on after fifteen seconds that screen were start playing music, the University of Michigan Fight son. This was my students idea. Think about that. It took some college kids a day to hack into the foundation of our democracy a day. But I guess that's that
We live in a world in which the Obama administration recently accused Russia of stealing emails from Democrats to interfere with the election process. I mean there are few things that we do on the internet that are totally safe from hacking the. Why or more states were lying on a vote that's, where reveals fired, Doug, picks up the story. Here's where it all starts right after the two thousand election Bush be gone paying Chad, as we heard earlier in the show sort is recount in two thousand- was thanks in part to unpredictable and outmoded election technology. In the end, the presidency was decided by just five hundred and thirty. And votes around this time, the government began hiring experts to study away voting that they hoped would be even easier than trudging to the Poles internet voting. My name is barbarous diamonds. Barbara was one of those experts. I've been working on
Issues relating to insecure phoning technologies for well over a decade she co, authored. Several studies on voting in the early two, thousands, including one about a program called the secure electronic registration and voting experiment. Government types call it by its acronym serve serve. Was an internet based voting system built for the? U S, department of defense. It was set up to make voting easier for military personnel and american citizens living abroad, six million people, but before it was launched, barber and the other auditors tested it, and we produce this report After examining the system of looking at this security risks, and we came up with a very strong recommendation not to move forward she's being charitable. In fact, there is
really a dainty way of saying this. Their study was a ruthless take down of serve. I had her red Next served. We must consider the obvious fact that a U S, general election, offers one of the most tempting targets for cyber attacks in history, the internet, because the danger of six as for large scale attacks is so great. We reluctantly recommend shutting down the development of serve immediately and not attempting anything like it in the future until both the internet and the world's home computer infrastructure has been fundamentally, we design or some other unforeseen security breakthrough appears just nine days after the serve report came out deputy Secretary of defence policy for its pull the plug. In a memo to his under secretary, he said the system brought into doubt the integrity of the election results. Immediate steps needed to be taken to ensure no.
When used it to both over the internet. It all could have ended there, but it didn't. As we get close to the presidential elections, some form Internet voting is allowed in thirty two states that, despite a pile of research, raising red flags its despite a recent study that shows most Americans are against the technology, its despite warnings from the government and strong indications that rush is interested in messing with our election, so wise it allowed in more than half the country or for one thing there are good intentions. In most cases, internet voting is reserved for military and overseas voters people who might run into trouble mailing their ballot. The old fashioned way importantly, though. It's not up to the federal government to decide how elections are run. It's up to the states, counties and cities.
More than nine thousand jurisdictions all making their own cause an taking their own risks. We recently got a glimpse of how that's playing out in the state of war. There. They already allow internet votes to count for the military and residents living overseas. Now they want to expand it to everyone. The use of this type Aren't you devote and return bouts electronically is still relatively new. If you look in the world of elections, I am concerned that this, people change. We haven't had time to think through what the possible things we're gonna need to defend in the heat of a close election. That's the secretary of state. Kim Wine and she's one of a bunch of law makers and public officials jammed into this conference room in Olympia last year, she's officially neutral, and what you just said is the closest thing you're here to dissent at this meeting later, a guy from the company that sells internet voting software speaks in favour of the bill, and so does the guy from the Department of defense. Now remember That's the same place that scrapped its internet voting plans because of all the warnings it got from experts. My name is marked.
Susie. I am the young department regionalized on for military families, he's got long, hair pulled back and a neatly trimmed beard. Thank you for the opportunity to present in and speak in favour of. This measure since reading this reading this bill, I've spoken to a couple of auditors who feel like this one increase efficiencies in their office and also ten percent of our population or veterans. There are no cyber security experts here. If there were they be pulling their hair out. All you ve got is a company salesman and another government rep advocating for it, and the Secretary of state offering tepid warnings. Lawmakers haven't pass the billion, but it seems to be moving forward and decisions about America's voting technology in some ways are. Democracy are being shaped in a series of small boring conference rooms like this one
all over the country. So what does all this mean for this year's presidential election and election in turmoil? A presidency in the ballot, a nation weight who will emerge that winter in the historic Florida recap remember back in two thousand, how it was just five hundred and thirty seven votes in Florida that decided the presidency to effect an election. You dont need to hack every state. You just need good aim and an idea of the right spot to hear Just one state could do it for it. It doesn't have that hanging Chad issue anymore, but the state does have internet voting. So do thirty one other states, including for other swing states, Iowa Nevada, North Carolina and
Loretta evidently there's a government official in Colorado whose, on a mission to bring more common sense to government whose aim is waning Williams, have you heard of him? I have that. That's me. This is from a jaunty youtube. Video that Colorado Secretary of State put together he's the one in charge of elections. Here he is again being fu interviewed by a full report of us. We like to look for carbon, said solutions to problems and that's what we tried to do in elections. Businesses will nonprofits with a charitable organizations that we work with irregular Basis, and we made all of those things available. Online was easier for Coloradus access to use. One thing that some Colorado's can do online submit their ballot by its open to residents living.
Caesar in the military. But if someone hacked their system, Colorado's nine electoral college votes would be at risk and since Colorado is a swing state, its particularly important, I called up the Secretary of State Office in Colorado to raise some of these concerns. I got a hold of Dwight showman, a manager in the elections division. The need to enable military in overseas voters participate meaningfully in the election, outweighs the security concerns of electronic return. He has a lot of confidence in the security of Colorado system voters. He says after jump through plenty of hoops before sending their ballot via email printed out, sign it scan it upload. It
its end. In fact, he says this isn't even internet voting, Colorado law authorizes military and overseas voters to obtained their ballots electronically and to return them electronically. We do not regard this as internet voting in the sense that somebody is casting a boat electronically, sending it to a server where the boat is then happy later, but the cyber security experts I talked to. They think this distinction is ridiculous. Here's barber Simons again, who warned you d against internet voting. The fact of the matter is any time you sent it about over the internet. It is internet voting, an email goes over the internet e mail voting is, if anything, even more secure than web based voting, because their grip, many ways in which a male ballots could be interfered with changed
hacked there's a number of ways this could play out with votes cast over email. Hackers could gain control of the state, server, intercept, voters, emails and delete them or change votes to favour one candidate over another. They could even write a programme to do this automatically. On a large scale, I brought these concerns back to Dwight. Chelmon issue is the Colorado secretary of States official opinion that returning ballads over email is a completely safe, completely unhappily process, while this land? Lynn, Bartels, the office's communications director jumps in here. The secretary just spoke at a group today and he said, it, comes to security and that sort of thing never say never, but we believe our system right now is as safe as we had can possibly make it as safe as we can possibly make it. That's internet buildings mean compromise, but it's a deal
There is one remember how Florida was decided in two thousand by little more than five hundred votes. Colorado is expecting to get eighty five hundred votes over the internet this November. Now Colorado probably won't decide the election this year Lot of experts say hackers don't actually want to steal the election. They just want to throw the country into political chaos. Now I still haven't don't you exactly how someone could mess with an election to understand, that there may be no better case that even the DC test we told you the University of Michigan, Professor Alex Alderman and his team, were able to hack theses internet voting pilot now, you're gonna hear how they did everyone can accept,
ready for excitement. His team sets up in his office orders pizza and gets to work, and you ve got to understand. This pilot is a bit of a golden egg for cyber security. Folks, a first of its kind chance to pop the hood and see how our elections could be run in the future. Alex describes it. This way, there's never been another case where there has been such a realistic opportunity for people dissimulate. What a real attacker would do. It's not every day that you're invited to hack into government computers without going to jail. The team has thirty six hours to break into DC system within the first day They find a critical vulnerability behind everything we normal internet user. See on our screen is a hidden string of code. It's like the instructions that tell the computer what to do well. The teen begins looking at that code and they find a small mistake. There was a certain place where the programmer
had used double quotation marks when they should have used single quotation marks. We were it what that was it. That was it. That was the only problem, and yet it turned out to be enough. So let us get into the system, take full control of the servers and change. All the votes- this is what is called a shell injection vulnerability. Hackers look for weakness than inject their own commands, their own strings of code and start steering the ship people using the programme. In this case, pilot voters can tell the difference still face still once therein. The Michigan team casts a huge net through Deasey system, stealing and storing every piece of information they can find passwords files addresses Oh, please. I told us everything we in Ireland is a red card. It's a real who to watch the students are so excited. They can barely stand themselves tugging at their hair, cracking their knuckles
washing goofy, smiled. They even get access to the election offices, security cameras, they watch the night guard mosey around the facilities after hours and in true nerd fashion. We went in and replaced all of the balance that has been voted with our own ballots, which, instead of any of the candidates, I'm just had right in votes for evil robots and a from I find the movies has the test period is about to end. They check their work. There would be no paper trail, no way for users to know their delivering their votes on a silver platter to the hackers. Unlike traditional ballot box. Stuffing this cyber tampering works on a large scale. It could affect thousands of voters simultaneously, but from a normal citizen standpoint, everything looks exactly as it off.
Except for one thing that Michigan fights on clear? What does this mean about polish beyond mention for me. Small mistakes, there was reveals by Duncan. I wanna go back to a couple of points we made quickly about whose behind the recent political hacks and what hackers could we do with the vote. I believe, personally, that Russia is behind the wheel, so that's anomalies. In the U S: election system: that's Herbert Linley, he's a senior research scholar for cyber security and policy at Stanford University and a former staff scientist
The house on Services Committee he's another one of those experts that worried about what could happen this November. You says: if Russia targeted our election, they wouldn't necessarily be the swing. The results they just need to sort out. Let us sore loser, Do the rest. I certainly do have the motive means and opportunities here and they certainly have her preferred candidate. There's just no question about that. Meaning, Donald Trump. So, with all this in mind, should internet voting help decide who's going to become the next president of the United States. Voting to decide who is going to be president of the ski club is fine internet voting to decide who's going to become president of the United States.
Pretty much says so. How about an old school solution of the? U S postal says: well the problems there too. That's next on review. From the centre for investigative reporting and p the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal I'm Alison, while some places have made high tech changes to voting others using low tech, more old school methods to cast ballots like the? U S, postal service, now voting by mail is getting more popular because it's more convenient and it seems to me a lot of sense unless you live in a place like the Navajo reservation in San Juan County Utah. One of the most rural remote corners of the United States,
early one morning reporter Rachel question from scripts news, podcast, Decode DC and two colleagues from Arizona State Our cities news twenty one project set off in the pitch dark to find out why switching to ballot by mail as thrown a monkey rynch into the voting system in this part of the reservation, it's five thirty in the morning and were driving. Crosstown one county to a place called Navajo Mountain fastest San Juan as is in southern Utah, and its enormous, almost eight thousand square miles, which is about the size of Massachusetts and for all that land only about fifteen thousand he'll, live here. A little more than half are members of the Navajo nation, the second largest tribe in the United States, genuine you as one ninety one cell lines after a while. It's It's too feel like awkward driving into another world as the highway
surround massive red rock formations. Its stunning also completely does Suddenly we come up on a group of crows or maybe ravens eating roadkill and one decides not to get out of the way and ends up crashing into our windshield. We think he flew away there weren't any signs of feathers on the car and, finally, after driving more than one hundred and fifty miles, we may It's Navajo mountain. We pull up to a small old building. We ve come to meet Terry Whitehead, who grow here by now the desert son is intense. So he leads us to the shade of a cottonwood tree. My younger sister baby sister was born under that true unnatural birth terrorists have spoken with dark eyes and easy smile,
in a thick crop of short black hair. He left the reservation years ago, went to college. And then he got a job collecting child support in Phoenix. But now he's come back home to take care of his age and parents poor above Sick Terry's, also combat to take care of his people. Right now. The Navajo people in San Juan County are worried about next month's election. They're, not sure where they can vote or how seafarers longest I can remember there were six places spread across the reservation where people could go right now. It's looking like there will only be three and until recently, they'd all disappeared, I'm just simply asking that Poland place be available and that we have interpreters available like we had in the past before
or the male imbalance became. What it is I'm just simply asking for that. I dont believe it's a huge request. The confusion started back in time. Fourteen. When Terry opened his mail and learn the news Betsy and one county had decided to switch. To mail in ballots. Only in this plan called for shutting down All the reservations, pulling places my reaction was worse equity. That was my initial response to Oh they're gonna go male embowered, basically it's impossible and if its impasse Bonneville terrorist now the hose won't be able to elect people who will help them deal with problems on the reservation allotted, the homes out here we don't have running pipe waters, so
It would be nice to have water in homes and your wintertime it. It can be a travesty But those are services that I want there's a lot at Stake- a reservation. Nearly Third of Navajo households in San one county, make less than ten thousand dollars a year and that's lead to other huge problems like all of them diabetes and suicide problems that elected officials can address. I believe casting vote would at least for someone who advocates for american Indian would make those further decisions.
This is what motivating Terry and other tribal members, along with the ACL you to sue San Juan County over that switch to mail in voting, which they say is a problem for three reasons. The first is the postal service itself. It just doesn't look like what most Americans experience. According to the law suit, some people on the reservation have to travel as many as thirty or forty miles to pick up their mail, and a lot of that DR can be on rough dirt roads. So many of them go to the post office once a month in twenty four in the county, sent voters there ballots just three weeks before the election and The tribal members didn't have enough time to fill them out and Melba men buddy and if the male worn in issue there is a second obstacle might not be able to read the ballot. What about those people that don't speak? English? That's Terry again! What happens? those people. How are they going to cast your belt who's? Gonna? Help them,
I was I read according to the census barrel, almost one in ten eligible voters in San Juan County is not fluent in English. Under the Voting Rights ACT, the county is required to provide all voting materials and both English and Navajo, but the plaintiff save that it happened and twenty fourteen, because here's the thing Navajo pretty much just spoken language and the ballots are written in English, so some voters, especially the elderly, need translators, no This is what the Navajo language sounds like we're at a chapter house, meaning in Red, Mason, Utah, chapter houses. Like community centres for the tribe, English, occasionally get spring. Well, then, when there is an another, her word that works, you do a waterways
when English is spoken, the elderly, in the room kind of zone out so before the changes voting in twenty fourteen when another hosting showed up to vote. There was someone to help them translate the ballot and now problem number three. When the counties which to mail in ballads. It did keep one place open where tribal members and other county residents could vote in person, but it was. Off the reservation at the clerks Office in the county seat of Monticello, a town, that's about eighty five percent white travelling from here at Amanda Sallow, I believe It is six hour drive one direction painted on which route you take and according to the lawsuit, only One in ten native american households in San Juan County has a car. I d say to make the drive to Monticello to get a first hand luggage. How do you see where all? decisions get made the little town.
Between mountains and rolling planes. Hears assign, while gonna Mama hum of the hide out showed to hide out is everything here is centred around main street there. A little shy. Ups, restaurants, a grocery store red brick, schools that look pretty new. This feels about as far away from the reservation as you can get, I decide go to the hideout, which, as it turns out, is a golf course I want to get an idea of what people here think of voting by male, it's good, it's easier to vote the way this is Tyler. Islands is the head golf pro for the hide out course. He knows about twenty miles down the road. Can a town called landing, which is the one place in the county our male is delivered to your home. Tyler says: he voted by mail and twenty fourteen Morgan.
For us where we work were busy. Family life gets go on and still have time to vote. Unless she had come to write your house, it's easier and an apple. Like Monticello, even though everyone uses a p o box, the Post office is within walking distance to people's homes or through the vote by mail is the future. It gives people better access to voting. That's Jesse trying to do here is an attorney based in SALT Lake City, and he is defending the county in the last year and he says in twenty fourteen, vote by mail was a huge success, colonel wood from the primary? As I recall, it went from twenty five percent participation by national borders to over fifty four percent with a windmill, but the plaintiffs, while they point to different numbers. They say if you look at the general election results for twenty fourteen Navajo voting went down even though the county says vote by mail was a big success. In March,
this year after the Navajo lawsuit was filed, the county announced it was reopening three of the six voting precincts on the reservation and they were Robin in time for the presidential primary in June, so Jesse trying to do just doesn't stand by. The Navajo are continuing with this lawsuit, this low It was made by the seal you based upon the twenty fourteen procedures. They never bothered to find out what the procedures were. Currently, that's an insult letter saying is counties told a court. What you're gonna do what is going to do in a carriage I'm gonna. Do it yeah, that's, basically what people My reservation think they're, so little trust that the tribe even asked the Department of Justice to come out and October of twenty fifteen and investigate vote by mail. Just he says the deal J looked at the procedures and said they were fine, but a deal. Jury spokesmen told us that the department has never approved the procedures,
a federal court has told both the county and the tribe that it won't make a final ruling on the lawsuit until after the election Meantime, the tribe asked for a temporary injunction to restore all six pulling places for November and lay out marching orders for the county and with less than a month ago, some people preparing for the election are really confused when he was it tat he this pass election. I was, I interpret it if those lived on there, Duration, her whole life. This pass June. She was the interpreter or the old radio senior centre. That's one of the precincts. That was reopened by the County Council Nicky now, Be the sun one county school to ship by she says things that Ngos are well this past year gave him provide us with any translation stuff it. It says get any training on how to translate the primary ballot, and she has
got money for the upcoming elections either in the past she says there used to be formal training from the county. That's what we did then, but now there's nothing. So and then you haven't, got any information for the upcoming election relations. You don't know if you'll be working or not renew. For me, be working? He knew not data. Oh a federal court denied the tribes request for an injunction, so this means that just three pulling places the open. On the reservation, the same that were open for the primary care. Wait hat and the other plaintiffs they'll have to wait until after the elect and for a final ruling from the court. But Terry says it's worth it because law suits are the only way the Navajo people in San Juan County have ever made progress. Law suits are not easy
Lastly, is my point and time consuming. Everything that we ve been fighting for, from health care to road maintenance. Education to voting rights. We are for. Before these issues its daunting. It really is time, thanks to reporter Rachel, buster sports NEWS in Arizona, State University's news, twenty one for helping out with the story check outrageous reporting on Decode DC, a podcast that breaks down a politics actually affects your life. This is our second show. Look me up a tension problems on election day. A couple weeks ago, we looked at what's happened since the Supreme Court got to keep.
Parts of the Voting Rights ACT. If you missed it, you can download that show called voting rights and wrongs on our podcast at reveal news. Dot, Org, Slash podcast in a reminder, we will have reporters across the country on election day. So, if you run into any problems that you pull in place, treatise at reveal today shows edited by attacking telemedicine, Andy Donoghue, Amy, Walter's and Lord Chaskey wildly producers thanks to Ellen wise from scripts news in PAMELA Smith, from verified voting. We also want to thank them. H. Why? Why Philadelphia for providing production support for this week show our sound design Is the one? The twins? My man, J Breezy, Mr Jim Briggs and clear, see no Mullen this week. The head extra help from Paul Vikings, I of studios Christy Sharpsburg, Amy paths are editor in chief Suzanne Rivers, our executive editor and our executive producers Kevin solving our theme, music, is by camaraderie lightning support for reveals, provide
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.