Machines, modems, and madness…

Dec 8, 2021

Voter Integrity Project has discovered a State Board of Election legal opinion, which doubles down on their defiance to legislative requests for the agency to prove that none of the state’s roughly 2,700 election machines contain illegal modems.

Brazen Audacity

Imagine you’re the father of a 16-year-old son and you decide to buy him a brand new car for his birthday. A few weeks after that great occasion, imagine the boy starts acting strange. His grades start slipping and he acts like he has been smoking marijuana.

NC Election Director tells NCGA to pound sand…again.

In response, you, the dad, tell the spoiled brat that you’ll be inviting a local police detective over to the house and he has agreed to bring Astro with him. Astro is the police department’s drug-detection dog.

Imagine your surprise, when you son tells you, “no.” Patiently, you explain that you bought the car and provide the insurance for the lad. And, oh by the way, you also provide a roof over the head for this punk and ask very little in return.

He denied your request again, but this time he cites a policy that he and his friends have against letting parents inspect their vehicles.

Can we agree that such delusional “policies” would cause one to suspect the child had gone mad? Okay, maybe that’s too strong, but he has certainly lost his mind.

This is pretty much what’s going on in the fight between our North Carolina Legislature and the state agency with delegated authority over elections. . .  only in this case, the petulant child is that agency, the NC State Board of Elections.

The Legislature’s Constitutional Authority

Clearly, the US Constitution gives each state’s legislature the primary authority over the time, place, and manner of all federal elections.

Rather than handle all details of administering elections, the Legislature delegated that authority down to a state agency we call the NC State Board of Elections (NCSBE).

Amid public unrest after the 2020 elections, lawmakers are waking up to the election integrity movement.

We’re elated that such a large segment of our population now realizes the urgency of something we first noticed after the Bush-Gore presidential election: Elections are not held by an impartial government. Elections are held by people who work for the government and those people can have just as many biases as the rest of us.

Waking up to this system-design flaw. lawmakers are starting to dig into exactly how those people have done their job.

We’ve dealt with their bad behavior since 2012, but now Lawmakers are beginning to see how our election officials act like the a fore mentioned spoiled child.

The Sordid Vendor

Adding to the SBE’s troubles, they greatly depend on a certain Omaha-based election company called Electronic Systems & Software (ES&S), which has some reputation problems of their own.

At issue was the company’s habit of misrepresenting the certification of their mode-equipped machine, which is not approved by the Election Assistance Commission, as is required by many states, NC among them.

When you factor in their shady lineage, starting as Diebold and morphing into ES&S through a series of mergers and acquisitions, they’ve been caught taking security short cuts that resulted in massive fines in Maryland.

Since ES&S handles ballot tabulation for somewhere around 85 percent of the NC market, they need scrutiny.

At issue is the modems they have been known to provide in one version of NC’s most popular vote-tabulating machine, the DS 200.

A well-researched media report by Vice and later by NBC, noted the danger America faces with election machines being connected to the internet and a powered-up modem is all it would take for anybody in a polling location who has WI-fi hot spot enabled on their cell phone.

While modems in the machines are illegal in NC, election officials refuse to allow lawmakers to confirm the absence of presence of any such modems after we broke the story that some may have the contraband installed.

Instead, they reassured the Legislature that there are no modems in any of NC’s machines; but instead of owning the claim, they suspiciously added an easy out, “according to ES&S.”

The first time lawmakers broached the idea of inspecting the machines, the agency director simply told them, “no.”

The second time, our Legislature’s Freedom Caucus drew Durham County out of a hat and announced that they would be visiting that county’s election offices under the subpoena power they have, per NCGS §120-19.2 and the prosecution power they have per §120-19.4 and the Agency went nuts.

Desperate Defense

Since the Legislature didn’t foresee the need to investigate so serious a matter as state-owned election machines, the subpoena language only speaks in vague terms of testimony, but makes no mention of evidence.

According to an Oct 7 memo, the loophole our oh-so-slippery elections agency seeks to exploit involves the meaning of the words “information” and “data.”

Click image to see entire memo.

When asked about this memo, Freedom Caucus Chairman Keith Kidwell said they are aware of the response and that his caucus is “still pursuing access” along with some legislation that–if effective–is guaranteed to result in another Cooper veto.

Understandably, the lawmaker declined to elaborate on exactly how they will be pursuing access, but this should get interesting.


Click the image below to see today’s video podcast.

Does somebody at NCSBE need a spanking?