Just As The Postal Service Is Being Dismantled To Prevent The Handling Of Mail In Ballots, It Tries To Patent Blockchain Voting By Mail
from the i...-uh...-what? dept
We are living in truly dystopian times. As you may have heard, this week there have been a bunch of stories regarding the somewhat systematic dismantling of US Postal Service operations in what appears to be a coordinated effort by this administration to foil the process of sending and collecting mail-in ballots. But, apparently, rather than ensuring its own ability to handle mail-in ballots for this election, the US Postal service is trying to… patent blockchain-based voting?
As you almost certainly know, President Trump has been — without any factual basis at all — decrying mail-in ballots, despite the fact that they have been proven safe and effective. As we’re in the middle of a pandemic — made significantly worse by this administration’s own incompetence — whose main mode of transmission is gathering indoors, the need for more mail-in ballots is obvious to anyone who cares about a functioning democracy. Instead, the President has apparently focused on making it impossible. While that seemed like a conspiracy theory to many, he admitted he was holding up funding for exactly that reason:
“They want three and a half billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. They want three and a half billion dollars for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said, repeating his false claims that mail-in voting would be “fraudulent.”
“But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because you they’re not equipped to have it,” Trump added.
Except, again, there is no evidence to support the claims of mail-in ballot fraud. Indeed, Trump and the first lady themselves have requested mail-in ballots in Florida (where he does not reside) and when questioned as to why it was okay for their to be mail-in ballots there, has said it works in Florida because there’s a Republican governor.
So Florida has got a great Republican governor, and it had a great Republican governor. Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott, two great governors. And over a long period of time, they?ve been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from other states.
He’s also supported mail-in ballots among his supporters in North Carolina. Of course, it’s notable that North Carolina is basically the one place where there was some evidence of mail-ballot fraud… conducted by Republican operatives.
At the same time, however, beyond just blocking funding for the USPS, other efforts have been made to harm the ability to handle mail-in ballots. The Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, who was only just appointed in May, fired a bunch of top USPS execs in a “Friday Night Massacre” a week ago. And this week, it seems like there’s been a new story every hour or so. All over the country, the USPS started removing and dismantling expensive postal sorting machines for now clear reason.
To drive all of this home, the USPS has directly warned 46 states (and Washington DC) that it may have delays in handling mail-in ballots.
But have no fear (or, really, have lots and lots of fear), because in the midst of all of this, a USPS patent application for blockchain-based mail-in ballots has been released. Applied for back in February, but just now revealed, the patent application first noticed by Jamie Love is for:
A voting system that can use the security of blockchain and the mail to provide a reliable voting system. A registered voter receives a computer readable code in the mail and confirms identity and confirms correct ballot information in an election. The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.
Of course, as we’ve highlighted in the past, while some people keep pushing for blockchain-based voting it solves none of the problems of actual online voting, and leverages none of the benefits of the blockchain. Indeed, basically every blockchain-based voting system to date has been a dumpster fire of security concerns and, given everything else discussed above, you can bet the same would be true for any USPS-based blockchain voting system.
Even so, the timing of this release of this patent, in the midst of everything else going on with the USPS and efforts to suppress mail-in ballots (well, at least from those who don’t support the President) is the kind of coincidental timing that even the worst Hollywood writers would reject as just too on the nose. Alas…