State and company officials dispute report claiming Antrim tabulators bungle results
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President Donald Trump said that he will leave the White House if the Electoral College formalizes President-Elect Joe Biden's victory - even as he insisted such a decision would be a “mistake.” (Nov. 27) AP Domestic
State officials are disputing a report on Antrim County's voting equipment — signed by a consultant who confused Michigan and Minnesota voting districts in an earlier election analysis — that says the county's equipment "is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results."
Michigan Elections Director Jonathan Brater said in a weekend court filing the report "makes a series of unsupported conclusions, ascribes motives of fraud and obfuscation to processes that are easily explained as routine election procedures or error corrections, and suggests without explanation that elements of election software not used in Michigan are somehow responsible for tabulation or reporting errors that are either nonexistent or easily explained."
And Dominion Voting Systems, the company whose equipment is used in Antrim, issued a statement saying it is the subject of a "continuing malicious and widespread disinformation campaign" intended to undermine confidence in the Nov. 3 election.
Judge Kevin Elsenheimer of Michigan's 13th Circuit Court ordered the release of the report Monday, following minor redactions of references to software coding that were agreed to by both sides.
The report is signed by Russell Ramsland of Allied Security Operations Group.
Ramsland, a cybersecurity analyst and former Republican congressional candidate, mistook voting jurisdictions in Minnesota for Michigan towns in one recent flawed analysis of voter turnout in the Nov. 3 election. In another, filed in support of a federal lawsuit filed in Michigan, he made wildly inaccurate claims about voter turnout in various Michigan municipalities claiming that Detroit, where turnout was 51%, had turnout of 139%, and that North Muskegon, which had turnout of 78%, had voter turnout of 782%.
Elsenheimer ordered "forensic imaging" of the Dominion Voting Systems voting tabulators and related software after Antrim County resident William Bailey filed a lawsuit that challenged the integrity of the election equipment, citing errors in how the county initially reported its unofficial results.
Elsenheimer, a former Republican lawmaker, did not base his order on unofficial results that showed Democrat Joe Biden got more votes than Republican President Donald Trump in the solidly GOP county — a mistake both county and state officials have attributed to an error the Republican clerk made when updating ballot information. Instead, the judge cited a closely decided village proposal to allow a marijuana dispensary.
On Dec. 6, a team from ASOG, a Dallas-area firm that has worked with lawyers for Trump and his allies on cases challenging election results in battleground states, inspected the voting equipment at county offices. Based on concerns related to election security and proprietary information, Elsenheimer had placed a protective order over the findings, "restricting use, distribution or manipulation of the forensic images and/or other information gleaned" without first getting his approval. The judge lifted that order Monday after state and county attorneys withdrew their objections.
The report concludes Antrim County's results should not have been certified, and because Dominion Voting Systems equipment is used in most Michigan counties, statewide results should not have been certified, either.
The report said an error in unofficial results released on election night showing Democrat Joe Biden winning the solidly GOP county over Republican Donald Trump were not the result of an error by the Republican clerk, as claimed, but "machine error built into the voting software designed to create error."
The report said a "staggering number" of county ballots cast were flagged as having errors. As a result, those ballots were adjudicated by election administrators, with "no oversight" and "no transparency or audit trail." Also, "this is caused by intentional errors in the system," the report says.
The report says election software was changed after Nov. 3, indicating an attempt to "obfuscate evidence of fraud and/or to correct program errors that would decertify the election."
The report also says the county failed to update its election system with security updates, as required.
In his court filing in the case, Brater said the report suggests it is improper to divert write-in ballots for adjudication, but that is the only way those ballots can be counted. Contrary to the suggestion in the report, this does not allow administrators to “change votes,” beyond determining for whom write-in votes should be counted, Brater wrote.
Brater said the report references system capabilities for ranked choice voting, which is used in some jurisdictions, but which is not used or authorized for use in Michigan elections.
"Because voting tabulators in Michigan use hand-marked, paper ballots, any alleged errors in tabulators can be caught during a hand recount, which any candidate could have requested in Antrim County," Brater said.
"This week the Michigan Bureau of Elections and Antrim County will also be conducting a hand tally of all ballots cast in the presidential election in Antrim County, which will provide further verification that the Antrim County results are accurate."
Dominion Voting Systems, whose equipment is used in jurisdictions around the nation, as well as in Michigan, issued a statement saying the company "has been the target of a continuing malicious and widespread disinformation campaign aimed at eroding confidence in the integrity of the 2020 presidential election."
The company's systems "have passed rigorous state and federal testing and certification protocols to prove they are accurate and reliable."
A top official of Dominion is set to testify before a legislative committee Tuesday.
Official results show Trump beat Biden in Antrim by about 4,000 votes, out of about 16,000 votes cast. In Michigan, Biden beat Trump by more than 154,000.