Karen Tells NC Lawmakers, “No!”

July 19, 2021 (Raleigh) The empire struck back in the battle over accountability of North Carolina’s election administration, last  week, when NC Governor Cooper’s hand-picked Director of Elections, Karen Bell, told lawmakers that she would not allow them to inspect the controversial DS 200 ballot scanning machines produced by the secretive ES&S of Omaha, NE.

Rather than rant and rave about this latest panic move by Ms. Bell, we will simply review some of what’s known and not known about 2020’s chaotic election in NC.

That which is known . . .

Known: In June of 2018, ES&S lobbied hard to obtained bipartisan support behind raising from $10 million to $17 million, a “letter of credit” (or surety bond) that any competing election vendors would have to post in order to sell even one machine in one county.  The cost of such a bond is normally 3 percent of the insured amount. In this case, that requires any vendor to pay $510,000 before they can compete.

Known: At that time, Director of Elections, Kim Strach, explained to the Legislature that the bond amount’s increase was to cover the cost of re-doing an entire statewide election. Strach’s explanation came before a  House committee meeting where the amendment was widely approved and Cooper’s veto of the measure (SL 2018-13) was overridden.

Known: During the discovery process, a Michigan lawsuit uncovered the presence of an embedded modem chip on the motherboard of that state’s ES&S DS 200 ballot scanners.

Known: When pressed by a lawmaker, Bell offered a puzzling response, “In fact, in North Carolina, there is not a single modem of any type in any DS200 tabulator, according to ES&S.” [Emphasis added.] Bell also said the motherboard’s modem chip was a) illegal in NC; and b) an “optional” feature to the DS200.

Known: In response to the unrest within their own party’s base, North Carolina’s Freedom Caucus called for an inspection of a few of the DS 200s. “We’re not trying to say there is a problem,” said Freedom Caucus Leader, Representative Keith Kidwell. “We just simply want the public to know there’s not.”

Known: The vast majority of NC counties use the DS200 at each of their precincts and those counties include Wake, Mecklenburg, Guildford, Forsyth, Buncombe, Cumberland, and Durham. (Click this link, or see image below.)

Known: ES&S has an extremely sketchy lineage that includes a convicted embezzler and currently has ownership that is shielded behind “private equity” laws, which means we don’t know who funds them.

.Known: Back in 2018, when our Tech Overlords still allowed NBC News to question such matters, the network obtained shipping records to confirm that certain ES&S equipment components are manufactured in China, a fact which ES&S did not deny during their interview for the story..

Known: International security analysts (see this Foreign Policy Magazine post) conclude that domestic Chinese law makes it impossible to know the extent of control the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has over the international corporations allowed to set up factories in China.

Known: China’s own party propaganda boasts 70% of China’s foreign-owned private companies had CCP bodies operating inside them.

Known: Last week, Director Bell told our lawmakers that she would not allow the Legislature to inspect any of the DS200s that the taxpayers funded and the Legislature authorized.

Known: An Arizona Judge affirmed their state’s Senate had the authority to subpoena evidence they needed in order to exercise their constitutional duties regarding the conduct of their elections.

Known: On September 12, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order, “imposing certain sanctions in the event of foreign interference in a United States election,” as he “declare[d] a national emergency to deal with this threat.”

That which is currently unknown . . .

Unknown: Whether the DS200 motherboards are made by a Chinese factory.

Unknown: Whether every single DS200 in North Carolina does not have the “optional” modem chip designed into its motherboard.

Unknown: The exact number of partically-Chinese DS200s currently being used in North Carolina.

Unknown: Under what possible scenario would malware in one machine, somewhere in the entire state, could possibly force that machine’s supplier to finance an entire statewide election.

Unknown: We’ve all heard their excuses and Bell’s latest smack down gives them yet another . . . but what’s really behind our Legislative leaders’ concerted efforts to avoid conducting a full audit of our 2020 elections?

And finally . . .  the most important Unknown: Without a full audit of our electoral process, how would anybody ever know if foreign state actors somehow attempted or succeeded at hacking our elections?

More than just the “civil rights crisis” we’ve been calling it for the past several years, election integrity is now a national security issue that cannot be ignored by any politicians who place their personal interests ahead of our Republic’s survival.


Note: There are lots of petition sites popping up that demand an audit of the 2020 elections and we applaud their efforts, but please keep this in mind: Ours petition widget is the only one we know if that actually triggers an email message both to NC General Assembly House Speaker Timmy Moore and Senate Pro Temp Leader, Phil Berger, from every voter who signs it.

You can join the effort to rattle their cages by clicking here.