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Why the Durham Recount Matters

[Note: VIP interviewed numerous party and election officials, along with eight Chief Judges from Durham County for this report, but the names will be withheld in order to prevent retribution by county and state election staff.]

12-1-2016 RALEIGH — To understand what’s at play in Durham county, we have to understand how the Jim Crow Democratic party controlled North Carolina for more than 100 years.

Before going to prison, a man named Zeno Ponder, ran something the LA Times called a “virtual fiefdom” in Madison County.  Having a brother who was the Sheriff, Ponder operated above the law and among the Ponder Clan’s many talents, they could deliver any number of votes the folks in Raleigh needed in order to win a statewide election.zeno_ponter

According to an unnamed (retired) badge bearer from the Attorney General’s world, Madison and Robeson were the last two counties to report the votes on Election Day. That way, the corrupt candidate for Governor could call up those two county bosses and get whatever number of votes.

“If the Governor told Zeno he needed 3,000 votes,” my source said, “then that’s how many Madison County would deliver.”

The problem in this year’s election was that both Robeson and Madison have changed. Ponder went to prison, as have a bevvy of politicians in Robeson County, since the “good old days” of Jim Crow Democrat domination in NC.

The key to stealing an election is to know the margin needed and to have a corrupt county standing by, willing and able to deliver the votes needed by their candidate; but the problem is finding a large enough county with a plausible excuse to be the last one to report their results.

Hello Durham County.

The first report we received from Durham County on Election Day came from a voter in the most highly populated Republican precinct in all of Durham County. The young voter was headed to his high-tech job and stopped by to vote before going to work. Officials told him the scanner was broken and that his ballot would be counted after they got a new machine.

Next, we hear of a “computer glitch” that forced the BOE to order all polling locations to avoid using their electronic poll books and to switch to the paper back-up books.

One precinct Chief Judge was surprised to learn she had the wrong pages inside her book! While the cover was correct, the pages were not. Her choices were either a) to send everybody home; b) have everybody vote provisionally; or c) use the electronic book. She chose “C” and everything worked smoothly all day.

Tabulation machine

This M-100 tabulation reader is the type of machine at the center of Durham County’s controversy.

Late that day, activists in Durham County successfully argue that the polling book “glitch” was a valid reason to keep the polls open for extra time.

One Chief Judge informed us that his location had exactly zero voters come in to vote during that final 30 minutes of overtime, so we began to wonder what the real agenda was for the Durham County theatrics.

If there were not a bunch of people standing in line during that overtime period, why was it so important for Durham County to keep their polls open later? This is where our story gets conjectural.

Can We Be Last?

With both Madison and Robison Counties solidly in support of the McCrory ticket, the Jim Crow Party needed a reliable Democrat county that could be last to report, so the “computer glitch” may have provided the perfect excuse to make the county (only 30 miles from Raleigh) move to the back of the line. How convenient!

Then five card readers from the tabulation machines that were used in Durham County’s five 17-day early voting centers all had a “computer glitch” and failed to report their data when queried by the county’s main tabulation machine. Instead, a piece of paper, generated by those same faulty cards, was used to report the findings.

And low! Those cards contained 93,000 votes and McCrory blew a 58,000 vote lead! Coincidentally, the perfect two-thirds Democrat advantage Durham County has in its voting history, was enough to give Cooper the 60,000 vote jump.

Could this Be Those “Russian” Hackers?

With computers at the beginning and the end of this story, one might entertain a theory that Durham’s election equipment was actually hacked by some nefarious organization, but there’s an easy way to debunk this myth: They should conduct a manual recount of the 93,000 votes, reported out by those failed tabulation machines. To further make the point, election officials should use tabulation equipment from another county.

The law is the law and there is no black-and-white reason to do this…which is why two Republicans and a Democrat on the Durham County BOE voted to deny the manual recount.

The SBOE overrode that decision for the sake of public confidence in the system. If the recount confirms the numbers originally reported, then both sides shake hands and call it a day.

If the paper ballots reveal anything other than the above scenario, it will be time to rethink America’s rush to computerize elections.

~ jd

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