Blog Post

Nov 11

The E-Pollbook Saga Continues

Here we go again . . .   You may recall my December 9, 2022, blog titled “It Is Time to Get Rid of Black Box Voting” (click to read). You may also recall the issues we had on the November 8, 2022, Election Day voting with the E-Pollbooks surging at the close of the voting polls – far in excess of the number of voters who checked in at the locations.  History is repeating itself.  During this Constitutional Election on November 7, 2023, we experienced widespread problems with the E-Pollbooks’ connectivity to the internet.  The E-Pollbooks require a network connection to keep them all synchronized for county-wide voting. It began the first day of early voting with 20-30% of the Voting Centers being offline for anywhere from two hours to half a day.  The issues continued on Election Day with many Voting Centers reporting that the E-Pollbooks were offline. In fact, University Park United Methodist was offline until mid-afternoon. During the outages, the Voting Centers continued to check voters in and give them ballots. None of us want E-Pollbooks connected to the Internet, so why do we care if the E-Pollbooks are offline?  Because it could enable a voter to vote multiple times.  In county-wide voting, if a voter checks into an E-Pollbook when it is offline, the other E-Pollbooks throughout the County do not have a record of the check-in and that a ballot was issued, so if the voter checked into a different location, he or she would be allowed to vote even though he or she had already voted.  Then, because of the sanctity of the secret ballot process, how does one remove that illegal second ballot from the pool and the count once cast in this situation? See the danger?

In fact, we had multiple locations on Election Day that had multiple E-Pollbooks that were not synchronizing with each other in the same Voting Center.  One E-Pollbook in a voting center showed Voter A as “Voted” and the E-Pollbook sitting right next to it showed Voter A as “Eligible.”  This is obviously unacceptable.  We requested an explanation from the Elections Department.  Here we go again … “the Cradlepoint (a brand name) cellular modems are old” or “the Cradlepoint cellular modems are not compatible with our 5G system.”  This is an excuse that some are questioning.

Like last year, we are again offered excuses, but there is no excuse. Excuses do not remove the danger to election integrity.

The Preliminary Election Reconciliation audit tape run and posted publicly after the preliminary election results were initially counted reflected the problem.  The audit showed 3,076 more ballots cast than checked-in voters were reported by the E-Pollbooks!  In section four of the Preliminary Election Reconciliation, the report notes: “Discrepancy attributed to E-Pollbooks not synching, to be resolved during the canvass.” Again, unacceptable.  We should not have to wait or need to rely on a reconciliation days after Election Day to find out the number of people who voted and the number of ballots cast. Both numbers should match!


Plus, the story gets worse.

In November 2022, my election integrity team and I learned that the E-Pollbooks are connected to a server that is managed by our elections vendor, Election Systems & Software – aka “ES&S,” not Dallas County or the Elections Department.  While I understand that there are logistical issues to the Elections Department or even the County hosting its own election server or even its own cloud-based server instance, those issues do not outweigh the serious lack of transparency that is clearly created by a third-party, for-profit corporate entity being so deeply involved in our elections! 

How can we rid ourselves of E-Pollbooks and a third party being involved in our elections? We must end county-wide voting and go back to regionally combined precinct voting.  I believe abolishing the E-Pollbook system is the first step to hand counting paper ballots in regional precinct centers again.  But, to do that, we must change the State laws because our Dallas County Commissioner’s Court will never agree to end county-wide voting.   What am I doing about it? Everything I can.  I gave an interview to The Dallas Express calling out the unreliability of the E-Pollbook system. I have asked all poll workers who experienced connectivity issues to draft and sign an affidavit to that effect.  I have reached out to the Secretary of State’s office.  I am working with RPT election integrity officials.  I am coordinating with many of our strong election integrity groups in Dallas County and around the State.  And, I am working directly with our State Senators to try to get the lawmakers and the Secretary of State’s attention. I have testified in Austin about the evils of county-wide voting in the past and welcome the opportunity to do so again.  What can you do?  You can contact your State Representative and State Senator and demand that they address this issue. One thing I know from working with our lawmakers is that there truly is strength in numbers.  If we bombard their offices with emails and phone calls about the E-Pollbooks, they will listen.  This is the second election in less than a year where we have experienced serious E-Pollbook issues.  We need to strike while the iron is hot.  Please do your part.  Call your legislators.   

Postscript: This blog posting is just a quick beginning of a much deeper story that will grow over the next weeks. These are complex issues operationally, technically, economically, legally, and politically. Also, we are still investigating the facts about "what happened and why" and gathering more data that we can use to make our case. This will take several weeks BUT we are working on it already! Also, fixing the problem will require an equally VERY COMPLEX solution. There is no simple silver bullet to fix all the problems. To fully surface all the problems, the facts, and a roadmap to getting rid of black box voting, we’re going to write a series of blog postings over the next weeks. This is only Part 1, but additional episodes will be forthcoming on a weekly basis. Part 2 of this series will be published next Friday and will continue every Friday until we fully cover the complete story and get an executable fix started.

I have been assured that I will have a meeting with the Secretary of State and personnel from the Attorney General's office very soon.  I will let you know what comes of those meetings as soon as possible.

Added by stvtaggartconstruct

Election day Fritch library Hillcrest and BELTLINE they were having trouble at 7 am zeroing out box that count votes so I really don't know if my vote hot counted iwas number 3 that morning to put mine in the ballot box
Added by Robert Evenden

What surprise. Cheating taking place in a low priority election. It’s now a cliche. WE NEED ONE DAY TO VOTE AND PAPER BALLOTS. Stop the whining. Get rid of the electronics. We all know what’s happening. Enough already.
Added by tom

I just finished working both early and election day for the Nov 7 Joint Election. I think early voting has its place, but question if the cost is worth the convenience. Being a "techie" and working in one center that had flawless EPoll performance and another that had dreadful EPoll performance, I suspect some of these problems could be fixed. The two centers were within a mile of each other. In the center I worked with bad EPoll performance I noticed the possibility of the in-house WIFI system conflicting with the EPollbooks. The router never signaled any defects, but the EPolls were offline for hours. One other suggestion is to add an EPoll initial and final count for each EPoll by serial number on the daily form, not just a single entry. If each EPoll is different, which one gets entered? This might help clear some confusion for ballot counting.
Added by TrumpWon

I suggest that we start a lobbying effort to our legislators to require paper ballots, and possibly other requirements to reduce cheating.

We could use an email system that makes it easy for people to generate emails to contact their legislators, such as [Admim: Commercial link dedacted].
Added by TrumpWon

Tom - I think your suggestions would work if the electronic systems weren't designed from the groundup to have the real counts subverted.
Added by jsamuel38

After working early voting and election day, we had a problem with the epolls on both occasions. On election day we had to reprogram the epolls to talk to the "new" 5g WYFY. This took 3 tries from the inspector to do this. I received a call to have my husband reprogram one of the epolls. I told the caller that I would not shut down an epoll and take someone off the floor. I only had 4 people (including me) and we voted 494 people that day, so it was not a good idea to stop one of the epolls and take someone off the floor.
Added by TrumpWon

Hello "Admim" - why did you delete the link in my post, it wasn't a "commercial link" ?

It was a link to an example to an organization that has a very effective email contact system for political issues.
Added by Bob Brown

At Northside Baptist Church in Garland on 11/7/23 we had PROBLEMS (not issues) w/ 2 of our voting machines about 4 PM. The 2 machines jammed (wouldn't release paper ballots) and stayed jammed. We had a crowd of voters and finally got all voters finished at about 5:30 PM. All voting machines need to be rigorously checked by the Dallas Cty. Elections Dept. before being sent to the voter locations.
Added by Bill Anderton

Dear TRUMPWON (Michael Smith),

It is my policy to NOT include links in our public comments pages to outside websites that are seeking memberships, donations or vending products. I'm a bit more relaxed within our secure password-protected Private Forums whose readers are restricted to private communities like Precinct Chairs, Election Judges, Poll Watchers, Volunteers, etc.

The reason for this policy to to NOT allow comments to this blog so as to prevent it from becoming an outlet for "Comment SPAM." This site fields mid 6-figure Unique Visitors per month and that tempts people who try to leverage that traffic for their own purposes outside the purpose of this blog (ride on our traffic).

I allow links to our colleague parties, precincts and candidates. Everything else is classified as a "Commercial Outside Link" even if it is a non-profit. Also, linking implies endorsement and I simply don't have the staff to vet the links.

You may disagree with the policy and I understand. The policy applies to all and all postings are treated equally.

Bill Anderton
Dallas County Republican Party
Added by Bill Anderton

BOB BROWN (Bob J Brown)

That is a problem. I think you are talking about the DS200 tabulator because that piece of equipment has the largest number of similar complaints of jams in the paper-ballot-handling train.

I have had the problem myself in my own Voting Centers (I am also a Presiding Judge).

DCED assures us that the machines are indeed cleaned and tested before every election. But, as the equipment ages, problems with the scanner heads seem to be getting worse.

I'm sure you reported it to the Judges Hotline. Subject to availability to a "tech", DCED will dispatch a replacement scanner head but it can easily take an hour to get there. That's tough when you have one tabulator and a Voting Center filled with Voters becoming progressively more impatient.

My recommendation would be to also file a written report or affidavit on the incident. That leaves a paper trail that can be tracked. A verbal complaint won't get very far and doesn't "count" as much (too easily dismissed.)

Bill Anderton
Dallas County Republican Party
Added by Bill Anderton

Dear ROBERT EVENDEN (Robert Evenden),

My question may appear to be snarky on the surface, but I don't intend it to be. I am seriously asking the question, "And how do you propose we accomplish that?" I am particularly interested in how to do it in a County controlled by a Democrat monopoly on the Commissioners Court that includes highly partisan actors who "aren't on our side?"

Whatever we could/would propose will (and has been) rejected out of hand.

We don't like it at all, but the brutal truth of the matter, the things we object to most (like county-wide voting and the use of the non-transparent voting system) are legal, cited in the Texas Election Code and the Commissioners Court's exercise of their powers in these matters are clearly within their purview.

Our proposals are (and have been) dead on arrival because they don't want the current system to change. They bought all of this equipment to begin without our consent which they didn't want or need. No petition, gesture or request will cause them to discard the current processes and systems.

The only way that I know how to overcome this MAJOR disadvantage is to change the Texas Election Code in the Texas Legislature. The Texas Election Code has to be changed to make paper ballots and hand-county possible in a county as large as Dallas. Also, the required funding has to be provided because it currently isn't.

The Texas Legislature can pass changes to the law that force the Commissioners Court to adopt a sound policy. But, like all good laws, it must be clearly enumerated without ambiguity (often difficult to achieve
in legislative language and in the compromised-based process of getting legislation passed).

Alternatively, the GOP can get enough GOP Commissioners elected into office to be more favorable to our recommendations. However, in a County where there are two Democrats for every Republican, that might take some time to achieve although we're working on that too.

Even changes in the Legislature will be difficult because the large deeply-blue Counties will oppose us. These political forces can be overcome but it won't be a cakewalk.

It is the official policy of the DCRP to seek the hand-counting of hand-marked paper ballots in precinct-level voting; to remove all nontransparent elements from how we vote.

I know this policy well because I helped develop that policy, write it and publish it. A group of people in the State are acting to implement that policy BUT it won't be easy and we have to get the Legislature to support the issue. Politically, this will likely be a harder fight than Constitutional Carry was and THAT took several Legislative sessions to accomplish.

That isn't whining (although it is a codeword to some), it merely reflects the scope of the operational, technical, economic and political issues that have to be addressed in order to win our objectives.

If you have an executable solution, I would love to hear it.

I'm serious. I have worked on this for two years but I always can learn something.

I will be writing or co-authoring the series of blog posts in the series mentioned in the postscript of this edition.

One or more of the upcoming blogs in the next several weeks (as mentioned in the series) will be devoted to "Okay, now what do we do?" I am not saying that I have all of the "dots to connect" enumerated but I will have a viable roadmap that can be executed to meet our policy objectives. We going not only for Dallas County but the entire State of Texas.

If you would like to discuss this in a phone call, I would be happy to do it at any time. The coming week is good.

Bill Anderton
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