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!
And the use of the word “rely” is the keyword here. THE MACHINES ARE NOT RELIABLE. THE INTERNET IS NOT RELIABLE. THE SYSTEM IS NOT RELIABLE!
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.