Trust without verification . . .

“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.”  Proverbs 11:1

July 14, 2021 (Raleigh) As the awakened public continues to hound election officials for answers about our April 13 report on modem chips embedded on the motherboard of the ES&S DS 200, the most widely used election tabulation machine in North Carolina, a recently obtained email from NCSBE Public Information Director Pat Gannon, suggests that opening the machines up for inspection would invalidate the warranty.

Is this the future of our elections?

Gannon called our April 13 story “misinformation,” and his boss, Karen Bell, wrote a deceptive response to our charges, reassuring busy lawmakers that “there is not a single modem of any type in any DS200 tabulator, according to ES&S.” [Emphasis added.]

We noted at the time that, rather than emphatically denying our allegation about modem chips on the motherboard, Bell simply parroted her master’s denial.

Technically, Karen Bell did not lie to the Legislature, but her artful dodge didn’t slip past our team.

Haywood County raconteur and web publisher, Monroe Miller, peppered Bell’s office with queries about modems in the machines and drew the response alluding to warranty violations.

Meanwhile, a former GOP Chairman in Henderson County, Glen Englram, asked a similar question to his County Election Board Chairman, Karen Hebb.

To her credit, Hebb did not equivocate in her reply: “Our machines do not have a modem.”

Ultimately, the issue is public trust of the electoral process.

Let’s review the facts:

First, on Election Day, we cast our votes and nice people feed our ballots into a machine.

Second, the people guarding the machine announce the election results.

Third, state law (§163-182.1(b)1) stipulates a hand-eye recount for exactly one contest on the ballot.

Fourth, the one contest is usually Presidential race, but in other elections, the same people guarding the machines get to decide which contest they will analyze. No other races on the ballot are audited.

Fifth, the same tabulation machines used in around 80 NC counties are discovered to have embedded modems on their motherboard.

Sixth, the top election official in the state, handpicked by the governor, denies the existence of the modems, “according to” the manufacturer.

Seventh, when people ask election officials to prove the chips are not on the motherboard, they claim that opening the machines for inspection would invalidate their warranties.

That’s what we know.

What we do not know is how the public can verify that the same nice people guarding the election machines and announcing the results . . . are being honest.