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The Caesar cipher and stacking the deck in New York State voter rolls


Abstract and Figures

Voters in New York State are identified by two identification numbers. This study has discovered strong evidence that both numbers have been algorithmically manipulated to produce steganographically concealed record attribute information. One of the several algorithms discovered has been solved. It first utilizes a mechanism nearly identical to the simple ‘Caesar Cipher’ to change the order of a group of ID numbers. Then, it interlaces them the way a deck of cards is arranged to create a ‘stacked deck’. The algorithmic modifications create hidden structure within voter ID numbers. The structure can be used to covertly tag fraudulent records for later use.
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The Caesar Cipher and Stacking the Deck in New York State Voter Rolls
A Paquette
New York Citizens Audit
Abstract: Voters in New York State are identified by two identification numbers. This study has
discovered strong evidence that both numbers have been algorithmically manipulated to produce
steganographically concealed record attribute information. One of the several algorithms
discovered has been solved. It first utilizes a mechanism nearly identical to the simple Caesar
Cipherto change the order of a group of ID numbers. Then, it interlaces them the way a deck of
cards is arranged to create a stacked deck’. The algorithmic modifications create hidden
structure within voter ID numbers. The structure can be used to covertly tag fraudulent records
for later use.
Keywords: Information Warfare, Steganography, Cipher, Algorithm, Repunit, Voter Rolls
“Fraud detection comes into play once fraud prevention has failed” (Bolton & Hand 2002).
A review of publicly available data by the all-volunteer citizens’ group New York Citizens Audit
(NYCA) has found substantial evidence of fraud in multiple elections held in New York State
(NYCA 2022). The types of fraud found by NYCA implicate a Non-Conventional Warfare (NCW)
component. This is based on in-depth analysis of official state and county voter rolls, which appear
to have been compromised at the state level. The database contains large numbers of fraudulent
records accompanied by an algorithm that could be used to covertly access those records.
Fraudulent voter registrations can be generated innocently due to clerical or mechanical error.
They can also be generated intentionally. The number and type of problematic registrations in New
York State imply fraud more strongly than any kind of innocent error. Some are known to be the
product of intentional fraud. This article is concerned with research that uncovered a well-hidden
algorithm in New York’s state voter rolls that can be used to covertly track fraudulent records.
This algorithm has been implemented at the state level and is unambiguously intentional. There is
no mention of this algorithm or its purpose in any of the voter roll-related contracts and other
documents reviewed by NYCA. The algorithm satisfies a known need of any party engaged in an
election fraud scheme: to covertly track and access fraudulent records. Knowledge of the algorithm
can be used to accurately predict certain characteristics of voter roll records based on the
algorithmically-generated ID number alone. NYCA has been unable to determine how the
algorithm was embedded in the state voter rolls or who was responsible for its design and
One advantage of information warfare is that identification of those responsible for cybercrimes is
difficult. When identification is made, it is usually due to an informant coming forward who has
direct knowledge of the persons or parties responsible (Atrews 2020). Without an informant,
certain identification of an adversary is unlikely. This means that failure carries less risk, in
addition to lower costs, than CW. In 2014, the U.S. government was subjected to over 60,000
cyberattacks, just one of which successfully obtained almost 14 million social security numbers of
government employees (Atrews 2020). It is not inconceivable that foreign or domestic adversaries
have the ability to invade official government cyber territory and conduct IW operations there.
Findings from the research described in this paper demonstrate that New York State’s voter rolls
have been compromised. The rolls contain large numbers of fraudulent records and votes. This
paper investigates an algorithm found in the rolls that has the capability to covertly modify records
in a way that enables statewide election fraud.
Fraudulent records
The data uncovered by NYCA’s research suggests that systemic election fraud is built into New
York’s electoral process. The current working hypothesis is that:
1) False voters were introduced into the voter rolls;
2) Records belonging to false voters were covertly tagged via an algorithm for easy retrieval
when needed;
3) Absentee ballots were requested by false registrants;
4) Ballots and ballot envelopes were gathered at central collection points;
5) Fraudulently-generated ballots were cast in fraudulently obtained ballot envelopes;
6) False voter records were updated to reflect false votes; and
7) After certification, false voter records were manipulated to disguise their purpose and
Of these 7 items, the following are known to have occurred:
There are hundreds of thousands of illegally generated registrations in the official
NYSBOE voter rolls. The exact number is unknown but it is not less than about 338,000
for registrations active for the 2020 General Election (NYCA 2022). If other elections are
included, the number of apparently illegal registrations jumps to between 1.2 and 2.4
56.93% of all voter ID numbers were assigned based on the primary algorithm discussed
in this paper. The algorithm allows a hidden attribute tag to be added.
NYCA has recovered documents related to a fictitious identity with twenty-two
registrations that requested multiple absentee ballots sent to the same rented mailbox.
NYCA has identified other fictitious identities like this.
Canvassing has uncovered cases where false votes were added to false registrations or
genuine votes were erased.
A comparison of four versions of the NYSBOE voter roll database created over a thirteen-
month period shows hundreds of thousands of modifications to multiple fields belonging
to the same voter ID numbers. Although there are valid reasons to update these fields, none
of those reasons apply in these situations. For instance:
o In Greene County, a voter with the initials “C.S.” has a DOB of 5/5/1925 in the
2021 database. In the 2022 database, his DOB is 8/18/1971. Both records have the
same ID numbers, addresses, and RegDates. It is the same person but birth dates
are immutable. They do not change. Both records cannot be correct.
o A voter with initials “R.V.” has three records in the 10/21 and the 12/21 databases.
In the 2021 database, he has two SBOEID numbers. In the 2022 database, he has
one. An examination of the records shows that one record, with a RegDate of
6/9/2021, was retroactively altered to change the SBOEID number. This is illegal
because no voter is allowed more than one SBOEID number and changing this after
the fact conceals the prior existence of an illegal record.
o A voter with initials “M.P.” has two SBOEID numbers, one of which is illegal, and
both have a vote recorded for the 2020 General Election. When M.P. was
canvassed, she said she did not vote in that election, nor was she registered at the
time of the election. The voter rolls confirm that she registered almost 3 weeks after
the election, on 11/23/2020. Her voter history does not reflect her actual voting
It is unknown whether fraudulently gathered ballots were cast, but it is known that ballots were
fraudulently requested and that votes were recorded as cast by voters associated with fraudulent
SBOEID numbers. These two types of evidence indicate the probability that physical ballots were
fraudulently cast.
An explanation proffered by some county officials consulted by NYCA for the existence of illegal
registrations is that they are the product of innocent clerical error by incompetent employees. The
algorithm found in the rolls argues against this. It is complex and precise. It is not the product of
incompetence. This suggests election fraud rather than voter fraud. Election fraud requires
official access to election systems. It is distinct from voter fraud’, which is committed by
individual voters.
Algorithm overview
NYCA has discovered the presence of algorithms used to connect state (SBOEID) with county
(CID) voter ID numbers in New York’s 62 counties. Their structure can be used to covertly tag
fraudulent records for later use. The presence of the algorithms was detected during an analysis of
registration dates and their corresponding SBOEID numbers. Investigation revealed that CID and
SBOEID numbers were linked by an algorithm that caused a sort of one ID number field to reveal
an algorithmically-produced pattern in the other. To make it more difficult, the sort and see
technique only works if the data is properly filtered. Filtering the data requires knowledge not
normally available to users of the NYSBOE database.
The primary algorithm is found in 58 of 62 New York counties. NYCA has dubbed it The Spiral
because it wraps around itself in ever widening bands. The Spiral takes a sequence of CID
numbers, translates them based on the algorithm, then assigns consecutive SBOEID numbers to
the translated CID numbers. The effect of this obfuscates the presence of the algorithm and creates
an invisible structure within ID numbers (Table 1). All CID and SBOEID numbers are translated
in a similar fashion, making them predictable to anyone with knowledge of the algorithm but
invisible to everyone else.
Table 1: Algorithm-driven row transforms
The algorithmically-imposed voter ID number structure creates a new but predictable relationship
between their original (consecutive) order and the algorithm-imposed sort order. The pattern is
more complex than hinted at above but remains predictable as long as the algorithm is well-
understood. It is unrelated to other fields in the database and thus unlikely to have arisen naturally
within the data.
Some potentially legitimate explanations for The Spiral’s presence in the NYSBOE database are:
data privacy, search optimization, ease of use, and hacking prevention. For each explanation, The
Spiral either does nothing or is worse than not using the algorithm.
The Spiral algorithm cannot protect Personal Identifying Information (PII) because the information
attached to ID numbers is public. For the same reason, registration number guessing to find records
in the database is unnecessary, making The Spiral superfluous. Hacking is unnecessary when all
one has to do is send a request to the Board of Elections (BOE) for the voter rolls.
The Spiral reduces search efficiency by dramatically increasing path length between some records
and reducing it equally dramatically between others. The savings on one side of the search terrain
cannot be compensated on the other, unlike a well-balanced B-tree search (Sikdar 1992). It
destroys the natural link between ID number sequences and registration dates that would aid users
of the system to understand a record’s position within the database. If that linkage were preserved,
a user could estimate a record’s age by looking at the registration number. The algorithm does one
thing: it alters the structure of voter ID numbers.
The algorithmic sort order creates the appearance of compliance with public disclosure laws while
concealing attribute information. The attribute information is uniquely available to keyholders,
much as a card cheat has unique access to a straight flush in a stacked deck. Concealing information
in plain sight, as was done in New York’s voter rolls, is called steganography (Kaur and Rani
2016). In combination with known fraudulent registration records, The Spiral algorithm presents
the possibility that it has been inserted into voter roll software, or used to alter the NYSBOE voter
roll database, for nefarious reasons. The Spiral can be used to quickly and covertly identify
fraudulent records by repositioning records into key positions. Records of interest can then be
extracted by software designed to recognize the algorithmically-modified data structure.
Election Law
The Voter Registration Act of 1993 states that, “Each state shall maintain for at least 2 years and
shall make available for public inspection…all records concerning the implementation of programs
and activities conducted for ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters”
(National Voter Registration Act, 1993). This sentence describes the scope and purpose of
NYCA’s investigation.
Each voter’s record includes their names, dates of birth, residential addresses, party affiliations,
voter histories, and other information. Each county varies in the number of data fields they record
(or chose to supply to NYCA). Social security numbers (SSN) and driver’s license ID numbers are
the only fields that must be withheld from the public and they were withheld from NYCA (NY
Election Law §3-220). All of the data analyzed in this article is public and is derived from public
New York uses an electronic voter registration list known as NYSVoter’. NYSVoter is maintained
by the NYSBOE. The list, “shall maintain one record for each registered voter including the
statewide unique identifier” (NY Election Law §6217.1)The same law provides County Boards of
Elections (BOE) the “sole responsibility for adding, changing, canceling, or removing” voter
records from the NYSVoter list (NY Election Law §6217.1). Any modifications made at the state
level would violate this law.
According to state and federal election law, NYSVoter must provide county boards of elections
the ability to query the statewide database. The query tool must allow sorting records by "county,
election district, jurisdiction, birth date, and other information (e.g., last name, first name, voter
registration number, unique identification number, address order)” (NY Election Law §6217.12).
It says nothing about sorting by a hidden algorithm key.
New York uses two ID numbers. One is called the “State Board of Elections ID” (SBOEID). The
other ID is the “County VR Number” (CID). Voters are allowed one SBOEID number that “will
remain with the voter for their voting life” (NY Election Law §6217.6).Excess SBOEID numbers
are illegal under this law. Any voter who has two or more unique SBOEID numbers has been
Any voter may be legally assigned multiple CID numbers as long as no two are simultaneously
active. These are generated pursuant to a move from one county to another. NYCA has discovered
cases where multiple CID numbers were generated without voter knowledge or a change of
SBOEID numbers use the format: “NY000000000012345678.” The first two characters, “NY”
and ten leading zeroes are identical in all SBOEID numbers found in the NYSBOE voter roll
database. For analysis, SBOEID numbers were shortened to the last eight digits, called a Short
ID’. This is sufficient to differentiate any two SBOEID numbers. This convention is followed in
this article.
CID numbers vary between counties. Some are five digits, and some are nine digits. Some are
alphanumeric; some are not.
Assignment of CID and SBOEID numbers
NYCA sent email requests to each of New York’s 62 county Board of Elections (BOE) to ask how
Voter ID numbers are assigned. They received 29 responses. Notably, none of New York’s 10
most populous counties responded. The officials who responded hold the titles, “Deputy
Commissioner, “Democratic Commissioner”, and “Republican Commissioner”.
All 29 commissioners stated that CID numbers are generated “automatically” by their “voter
registration system” or by “software”. NTS Data Systems was identified as the name of the
software used by 12 counties. Fifteen counties stated that CID numbers are assigned sequentially
or “simultaneous[ly].
Essex County Democratic Deputy Commissioner Jen Fifield was the only respondent who stated
that her county did not use NTS to manage their database. “We have our own in house registration
system,” she wrote (Fifield 2022).
Thirteen of these answers lack any detail beyond the fact that CID numbers are assigned by
software used by the CBOE. The remaining answers have enough detail to conflict with each other
or findings uncovered by this research.
If each county’s records are sorted by registration date (RegDate), CID numbers do not fall into a
consistent sequential order. The same is true of SBOEID numbers. It is possible to find fairly long
sequences within any given county’s rolls but the pattern is always broken multiple times in both
directions. Dates and numbers ascend for dozens of entries, and then the dates drop backwards by
years, as the ID numbers continue forward, then back again, and so on (Table 2).
Table 2: Jefferson CID number samples, sorted by Reg Date, CID, and SBOEID numbers. Rank order for each
criteria is different, regardless of sort method.
This research shows that the reason CID and SBOEID numbers are not sequential or random is
that they are governed by the same algorithm. The algorithm uses CID numbers to force SBOEID
numbers into a complex order inaccessible to normal users of the voter roll database. The algorithm
order prevents sequential or random ID number assignment.
The fact that some counties use their own custom software to assign CID numbers, yet their rolls
are affected by The Spiral regardless, indicates that the modifications occur after the records leave
county BOE custody. This may be relevant in the context of New York’s election law §6217.6 if
it is found that adding an algorithmically-concealed attribute to SBOEID numbers constitutes
alteration of records.
NYCA began its investigation with a statistical analysis of voter turnout. The goal was to find
aberrations from normal data contained in the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE,
2021) voter roll database. In high transaction volume industries, like banking, telecom, and
insurance, statistical methods allow the high volume of potentially fraudulent transactions to be
reduced to a manageable number for investigation (Becker, Volinsky & Wilks 2010).
Statistical fraud-detection methodologies can be effective but also suffer from several weaknesses.
Digit-based tests, like Benford’s Law, rely on an assumption of what a normal distribution of
numbers should be in a fraud-free environment. If the assumption is false, the tests cannot reliably
return usable results (Beber & Scacco 2012). This is analogous to NYCA’s finding that, although
voter turnout appeared to have been artificially manipulated based on voter age, there was no
reliable baseline to compare it to. Another drawback is that it indicated unnaturally homogenous
turnout proportions for the entire state without narrowing the scope of the investigation. Fraud
detection via an Adaptive Exponentially-Weighted Moving Average (EWMA) works in high
volume transactions, such as credit cards and phone calls (Becker,Volinsky & Wilks 2010) but is
not suited to a low traffic environment, such as elections, where voters, no matter how numerous,
cannot interact with the system more than twice a year.
The statistical tests run by NYCA did not narrow the scope of suspicious records or identify
specific instances of fraud. To do that, the voter roll data was manually examined and compared
with election law. As stated by Hand (2010), “Fraud detection is not something that can be pursued
in the abstract. Understanding of and familiarity with, the data is an essential key to effective
detection. After violations of law were discovered, NYCA programmers wrote SQL queries to
find more examples. Those efforts usually succeeded. It was during this process that two
significant discoveries were made. The first was a large quantity of illegally-generated
registrations (NYCA 2022). Second was an algorithm that restructured voter ID numbers. The
algorithm made it possible to covertly tag illegally-generated records for later use. These two
discoveries present the possibility that the New York Board of Elections (NYSBOE) operational
security boundary has been compromised.
Filtering by county ranges
The eight-digit number format used for SBOEID numbers allows a possible 99,999,999 unique
numbers. There are 20,765,242 (20.76%) numbers used within that range in the October 2021
database used for this research. The minimum value used is 03,306,104 and the maximum is
61,106,878. Between those two values, SBOEID numbers appear to be randomly distributed but
they are not. After careful analysis, NYCA discovered one band of numbers, called In-Range
(IR), that were different from the rest. The band was difficult to find because it is sandwiched
between two other bands, Out of Range High (OOR H) and Out of Range Low (OOR L). Each
of 62 counties is assigned a range of SBOEID numbers within the IR band. Numbers in both OOR
sections (partitions) are not segregated by county, as IR numbers are. The noise produced by OOR
numbers obfuscates the presence of IR numbers. There are 11,822,181 (56.93%) SBOEID
numbers in the IR partition (Table 3).
Table 3: SBOEID (Short ID) ranges, IR, and OOR partitions
The NYSBOE assigns County Code (CC) numbers to each county. The numbers are assigned
alphabetically. Albany is CC# 01, Allegany is CC# 02, and so on through to Yates County, CC#
62. Despite this, the 62 partitions assigned to each county in the IR partition are not in alphabetical
Each county’s SBOEID range is separated by a gap of two unassigned numbers. In every county,
nearly all of the available numbers have been assigned (89.95% overall, over 99% in each of 34
counties), leaving little room for new voters within the IR partition.
Table 4: Partial list of IR counties, sorted by county-specific SBOEID number ranges
The County Range ID (CRID) number found in Table 4 allows filtering by IR partition numbers
assigned to each county. The task of determining county ranges was complicated by voters who
move from one county to another while retaining the SBOEID number of the county of origin. To
find the county of origin boundaries, all SBOEID numbers had to be manually examined.
There is no known method within the NYSBOE or county BOE databases to discover the existence
of IR and OOR partitions. Awareness of the partitions and knowledge of each county’s boundaries
is required to obtain a noise-free sample of the algorithm.
Records must be filtered to include only records with a RegDate earlier than 6/1/2007. Based on
an analysis of RegDates (Figure 1) this appears to be the date when the algorithms were
introduced. In most counties, IR records after this date are duplicates that create noise in the
Figure 1: Yates County RegDates by year and partition assignment
Spiral Algorithm
After the data is filtered, it must be sorted. In Table 5, it can be seen that a CID sort creates an
easily understood pattern in the gaps between SBOEID numbers. If each SBOEID number is
subtracted from the next, the gaps between almost all of the numbers shown are either 1,111 or, at
every tenth number, 1,112. A RegDate sort scrambles CID and SBOEID numbers.
If the records are sorted by SBOEID number, the algorithm appears in the CID column. In the
group of twenty numbers in Table 5, there are three different types of numbers represented. The
first has one digit, most have five digits, and two have four digits. Unlike the CID sort, where
every tenth record is modified by adding one, as in 1,111+1=1,112, with an SBOEID sort, every
eleventh record changes from a five-digit CID number to a four-digit CID number. This makes
sense if the goal is to scramble voter ID numbers.
Table 5: Sort methods compared by SBOEID, CID, and RegDate
Hackers sometimes try to enter a target system by guessing ID numbers. One way to prevent or
impede such efforts is to randomize ID numbers. The reasons this does not apply to voter rolls are:
the voter rolls are public and the algorithm does not randomize numbers. Hacking is unnecessary
and carries legal risk not associated with making a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request
for voter rolls. The algorithm, if discovered, is highly predictable, the opposite of random.
The constants of The Spiral pattern are numbers known as repunits. A repunit is a number of
two or more digits composed of repeats of the number 1’. The numbers 11’, 111’, 1,111’,
11,111’, and 111,111 are all repunits (Francis 1988). In a CID sort, each group of 10 SBOEID
numbers is bounded by a repunit that ends in 2. The numbers used to designate the last record in a
block are End Tags’.
The algorithm is based on repunits and numbers related to repunits. The most common are:
Full repunits, like 1,111
Repunit +1, like 1,112
Quarter (25%) repunits, like 278 (277.75)
Three-quarter (75%) repunits, like 833 (833.25)
To understand how repunits are used, and the complexity of the overall pattern created by the
algorithm, one must understand how it is constructed.
Caesar cipher
The Caesar cipher is a linear cipher. A linear cipher transforms each character of plaintext to create
the encoded ciphertext. The Caesar cipher transforms each letter of the alphabet three positions to
the right and then transforms the last three letters to the first three positions of the alphabet
(Luciano & Prichett 1987).The transformations found in the voter rolls are similar to the Caesar
cipher (Figure 2).
Figure 2: The 3 steps of the Caesar Cipher
To implement the Caesar cipher, The Spiral algorithm first separates a county’s IR numbers into
logical Strips (Figure 3). Each strip is analogous to the alphabet sequence used by the Caesar
cipher. These are series of continuous CID numbers with (usually) logical start and end points.
The most commonly found strips are based on the number of digits or the alphabetical character(s)
at the beginning of the CID number.
Figure 3: Strips of CID numbers for Allegany and Suffolk counties (not to scale)
After the full range of a county’s CID numbers are unequally divided into five or more strips, the
Caesar cipher is applied. Each strip is cut near its beginning, creating two segments. Segment one
contains the lowest numbers, and segment two contains the highest numbers. The last step
repositions segment one at the end of segment two. This creates the pattern Strip1 Seg2, Strip1
Seg 1, Strip2 Seg 2, Strip 2 Seg 1….
Typically, the first and last strips have very few numbers, sometimes only one, as start and end
points. The second and next to last strips are cut and transformed following the pattern established
by the Caesar cipher. Remaining strips have a third step. A group of numbers from the repositioned
Segment 1 and the end of Segment 2 are interlaced by introducing a group of low numbers into
the high number range at regular intervals.
For example, in Allegany County, Strip 3 is comprised of numbers from 103 through 999. This
strip was cut between CID numbers 145 and 146. Numbers 103-145 became Segment 1 and were
moved to the end of segment 2, which starts with CID number 146. Then, the seven numbers
between 103 and 114 (some numbers are missing) are interlaced every ten numbers with the last
seventy numbers leading to 999 (Table 6). That portion of the strip is a sequence’.
Table 6: Allegany County strip schematic
Deck stacking
The next step The Spiral uses to create number sequences is identical to the method used by card
cheats to stack a deck of cards. Deck stacking is the act of pre-selecting a desired group of cards,
such as a royal flush in poker, and then positioning those cards within a deck so that they are dealt
to the desired player (Figure 4) (Clark 1986).
Figure 4: Royal flush for Player 3 (P3) in a stacked deck (left) and the position of the cards in the deck (right)
The Spiral algorithm stacks the deck by interlacing numbers from different strips. Each strip is
analogous to individual player’s hands in the deck stacking example. Each number of each strip is
spaced based on the repunit divisor for that strip. For instance, Strip 2 numbers are spaced 1,111
rows apart, and Strip 3 numbers are spaced 111 rows apart. Each strip has a range that is
incrementally smaller so that all SBOEID numbers can fit within the same range.
In Yates County, Strip 6 has the widest range, 14,454 numbers. Strip 5 has 14,444 numbers; Strip
4 has 14,344 numbers; and Strip 3 has 13,344. These ranges drop by ten, then a hundred, then a
thousand (Figure 5). Reducing the range for each strip allows the numbers to nest within each
other without overlap. Quarter and three quarter repunits mark the start and end of each strip with
the exception of Strips 1 and 2, which have end values based on the number of registrations in the
Figure 5: Yates County In-Range strip layout
In deck stacking, the only player who knows which cards are dealt is the player who stacked the
deck. Other players see no difference between the cards because they can only see the back of each
card. In the same way, individual voter records are anonymized by voter ID numbers. The
numbers, like the pattern on the back of a card, have no apparent relationship with the record they
belong to. The algorithm adds meaning that would not otherwise be present.
The algorithm positions CID and SBOEID numbers at predictable locations within the deck of
voter records. The effect is that every IR number is tagged by the algorithm. Imagine it this way:
after an SBOEID sort, John Doe’s record, CID #23,765, is in the eleventh position in a group of
eleven numbers. That group is the third group of eleven after the sixth group of 111, which is the
tenth group of 1,111 and the first group of 11,111.
This alternate method of referencing John Doe’s CID number is effectively a third ID number. It
could be written as a ten-digit number, where every two digits represents a position, from 01-99
within each of the five strips. The example above would look like this: 0110060311. This
algorithmic ID (AID) does not appear in any field in the voter roll database, making it inaccessible
for normal use.
A device like this is unnecessary unless access to tagged records has to be clandestine. Otherwise,
without translating the ID numbers, a system could be designed to map certain ID numbers to any
attribute. For instance, the first five numbers in every group of ten could be reserved for people
who are vegetarian. However, if that attribute were important to the NYSBOE, it would merit its
own field, ‘diet’. Instead, there is a well-hidden algorithm creating what is effectively a third ID
NYCA’s analysis of the OOR partitions is ongoing but what they have discovered to date is enough
to link the algorithm with known suspicious records.
Out of range
The OOR partitions contain CID and SBOEID numbers for all of New York’s 62 counties. The
two partitions are named Out of Range Low (OOR Low) and Out of Range High (OOR High).
OOR Low contains 2,436 assigned numbers. OOR High contains 8,940,618 assigned numbers.
Because of the relatively small sample of assigned numbers in the OOR Low partition, the analysis
presented here is based on data from the OOR High partition.
SBOEID and CID numbers in the OOR partition do not use The Spiral algorithm. OOR numbers
are, however, controlled by a different, as yet unsolved algorithm. At first, the OOR algorithm,
nicknamed Tartan appears designed to randomize numbers. On closer examination, non-random
structure is evident. One of these structures, found in Nassau County, led to the discovery that only
two values are needed to accurately predict whether a record is purged or not: partition membership
and RegDate. Any record with an OOR SBOEID number and a RegDate earlier than 6/1/2007 is
almost certainly purged.
The SBOEID number should be unrelated to purged status because all records can have either
status. It makes sense that RegDate values would be correlated with purge status because the older
they are, the more opportunities there are to purge the record. If that is the reason, then IR and
OOR numbers that meet the same RegDate <6/1/2007 criteria should be purged at about the same
rate. They are not. There are 11,135,627 records with IR SBOEID numbers and a RegDate
<06/01/2007. Of those, 42.45% are purged. There are 710,196 records with an OOR SBOEID
number and a RegDate <06/01/2007. Of those, 98.30% are purged (Table 7). Records that have a
later RegDate are purged in more similar proportions (IR=32.02% vs. OOR=20.17%).
Table 7: Comparison IR vs OOR SBOEID numbers against status and RegDate
A scatterplot of OOR SBOEID and CID numbers can identify purged records at a higher level of
accuracy than the previous method. It is, however, more time consuming. In the scatterplot shown
in Figure 6, CID numbers are on the X-axis and SBOEID numbers are on the Y-axis. Some records
are oriented vertically in the chart (columns); others have a horizontal orientation (slabs). To
determine purged status, orientation of numbers in the chart is all that is needed.
Figure 6: All OOR High partition records
A chart of all OOR partition Active status records illustrates why. In Figure 7, purged records
have been removed. The effect is that no slabs remain. Every OOR High partition record with
active status is in a column.
Figure 7: All active records in OOR High partition
This does not mean that all purged records are slabs (Figure 8). What it shows is that there are no
slab-oriented active records. That suggests that all slab region records were given purged status at
the moment of their creation.
Figure 8: All OOR High purged records show columns and slabs
A close up of some OOR slab numbers from Nassau County reveals an algorithmically-produced
structure. There are 176,090 records in this group. Approximately 145 of the records are not part
of the pattern but occupy nearby space. They are the only active records in this group and most are
unambiguously part of fragmentary column formations. They are, however, too few to be visible
in this image. The remaining 175,945 records are purged. Because active records can be
distinguished from purged records by formation type, predicting purged status based on formation
type is more accurate than predicting status based on RegDate and partition membership.
Figure 9: Close-up slab partition, Nassau County reveals graphic structure in number assignments
Another characteristic of slab formation is that a high percentage of records in these regions have
been identified as clones (multiple unique SBOEID numbers attached to the same voter). In Nassau
County, there are 69,587 clones with a RegDate earlier than 6/1/2007. There is a nearly equal
number (n=62,971) after that date but they are part of a much larger group, making them
proportionately less numerous than their earlier counterparts (10.75% vs. 28.13%) (Table 8).
Table 8: Nassau OOR range clones, before and after 6/1/2007
The Spiral algorithm found in New York’s NYSBOE voter roll database is well hidden behind
multiple layers of obfuscation.
County ranges are sandwiched between two OOR partitions, where registrations for all counties
are mixed. This creates noise in county data that obscures the presence of The Spiral algorithm.
Within the IR partitions, counties are not assigned number ranges that follow the order created by
county codes assigned by the NYSBOE. This disrupts the logical flow of numbers, making it more
difficult to interpret the county ranges if discovered.
The Spiral uses CID numbers to establish the rank order of SBOEID numbers. The result is that a
CID number sort does not reveal The Spiral in CID numbers but in SBOEID numbers, and then
only if the county does not use alphanumeric CID numbers. An SBOEID sort reveals The Spiral
algorithm in CID numbers, regardless of whether alphanumeric values are used.
The Caesar cipher needlessly complicates number sequences by disrupting the relationship
between CID number and registration date. The way CID numbers are bound to certain SBOEID
numbers further degrades any continuity that might otherwise exist between the numbers. The
addition of alternating sequences at the end of Caesar cipher-manipulated number strips makes it
more difficult to discern that number sequences have been enciphered.
Stacking the deck by interlacing different number strips buries algorithmic manipulation even
deeper. Interlaced cipher strips dramatically increase the overall complexity of the pattern created
by The Spiral algorithm, making it less recognizable and less likely to be discovered or understood.
A CID sort reveals The Spiral in SBOEID numbers, but only if a calculation is first performed on
those numbers.
Normal usage of the voter roll database is unlikely to reveal the algorithm. This is because normal
usage does not require the filtering of OOR numbers (likely unknown to any user of the system),
downloading a large enough series of consecutively numbered CID or SBOEID records to reveal
the algorithm, or filters centered on ID numbers rather than voters individual personal
information, specific geographic locales, or voting districts. For these reasons, it is unlikely that
The Spiral algorithm would be discovered by any normal user of the NYSBOE voter roll database.
The fact that no active registrations appear in slab regions is peculiar because purged records are
supposedly derived from records that were once active. This presents the possibility that either
every person who was assigned numbers in slab regions has since been purged, which is
statistically unlikely, or that those regions are reserved for purged records. If so, how did the BOE
know that the records were ineligible the very moment numbers were assigned, and why were
numbers assigned if they were ineligible?
Nassau’s slab section contains 176,090 records. Of those records, more than 99.90% are purged.
Among that group, 48,181 (27.38%) have been identified as likely cloned records. Similarly, large
proportions of purged clone records have been found in slab sections from other counties. The
coincidence of finding these two categories of records together presents a third possibility: the slab
regions store records intended for fraudulent usage.
The Spiral algorithm is present in voter roll records obtained by NYCA from the NYSBOE on 21
October 2021. It is also present in the other three versions of the database supplied on 21 May
2022, 26 October 2022, and 21 December 2022. An independent researcher in North Carolina
obtained her own copy of NYSBOE voter rolls and checked two counties, Schenectady and Yates,
and found the algorithm in both. The question isn’t “is it there?” but “why is it there?”
The algorithm does two things: it restructures SBOEID numbers by binding them to specific CID
numbers and hides its presence in the rolls. It has no obvious legitimate utility. It does not make
the database easier to use, improve performance, or protect private data. The work involved to
create the algorithm is not trivial. It took experience, time, and ability. This implies that the
algorithm has value at least equal to its cost to one or more stakeholders.
There is one problem that the algorithms can solve. It can clandestinely track illegitimate
registrations. This solution is necessary for any parties who wish to commit election fraud by
casting fake ballots. To prevent an automatic recount or nullification of an election, fraudulent
ballots must somehow be reconciled with the number of people who voted in an election. One way
to do that is to create fraudulent registrations, then mark those records as having voted in numbers
equal to the number of fraudulent ballots. The problem with this method is how to hide fraudulent
registrations without losing access to them.
To tag an SBOEID or CID number is simple: add a special set of numbers to signify a fraudulent
record. For instance, the NYSBOE uses the last eight digits out of eighteen numbers to identify
voters. Nine numbers could be used instead, where every record with a nine-digit ID is fraudulent.
However, that would be too easy to find. What can be seen in the voter rolls is subtler, better
hidden, and just as effective. Instead of altering numbers, it assigns certain SBOEID numbers to
certain CID numbers. This allows the original ID numbers to remain unaltered at the same time
they are tagged by associating them with each other.
However, there is no direct relationship between irregular records and algorithm-adjusted AID
numbers. This raises the possibility that the algorithms are designed to be one half of an encryption
handshake. If so, the algorithm is the key used by an external piece of software that allows access
to the records of interest. This only applies to the IR numbers because that is where The Spiral is
found. It gives researchers an idea why someone might have done what can be seen in the rolls but
does not address what is seen in the OOR partition. OOR numbers are linked to suspicious records
in a predictable way.
NYCA’s research has uncovered enough anomalies within New York’s voter rolls to warrant
further investigation. Perhaps that research will find a legitimate purpose for the algorithm. If so,
it would be necessary to find an alternate explanation for how the hundreds of thousands of illegal
registrations could be used.
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We study various path lengths in generalized t-ary trees, present characterizations of such trees that minimize these path lengths and determine their minimum values. These results are then used to analyse and design an optimal parallel algorithm that minimizes the number of parallel comparisons for searching a sorted table, in both worst-case and average-case under conditionally uniform access probability distribution, on a shared memory model of parallel computer having t-1 processors, t≥2, and allowing simultaneous reads.
Cyberwarfare threats, security, attacks, and impact
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Atrews, RA 2020, 'Cyberwarfare threats, security, attacks, and impact', Journal of Information Warfare, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 17-28.
RE: Voter ID Assignment Question
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Fifield, J. 2022. 'RE: Voter ID Assignment Question'. Private communication, NYCA.