Saturday, December 07, 2019

WTF Is Going on at the NC Board of Elections?

Back on August 23rd, in a controversial 3-2 vote, the NC State Board of Elections (SBOE) certified electronic voting equipment made by Elections Systems and Software (ESandS) even though everyone agrees that a voter's ballot choices can't be audited. Not everyone agrees that the inability to audit the votes on those machines is any big deal, like the 3 on the SBOE in favor of certification -- two Republican members and Chair Damon Circosta.

NEW PROBLEMS WITH ESandS Electronic Machinery
A long investigative piece this week by Jordan Wilkie in the Carolina Public Press uncovers this:

Karen Brinson Bell,
Exec. Dir., SBOE
1. ESandS lobbyists -- and please note that word lobbyists -- informed the SBOE legal staff just before Thanksgiving that -- oops! -- the company can't fulfill its obligations to the state in 2020 for the voting machines certified on August 23rd. Only about 1/6th of the machines needed are available to meet the demand.

2. ESandS lobbyists suggest a different machine, an "upgrade," which was not tested and certified by the SBOE.

3. By waiting until last month to inform the SBOE that it can't meet its obligations, ESandS has effectively sandbagged the board. So the lobbyists -- the lobbyists -- suggested that since new testing and certification on the substitute machines couldn't be completed in time for use in 2020, why couldn't the administrative staff just go ahead and approve the new machinery, bypassing the appointed 5-member SBOE? Just "wave the new system through."

4. SBOE Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell recommended that the Board of Elections approve the ES&S request -- inaccurately describing, by the way, the technical changes in the new machines that raise legitimate concerns about ballot security. I mean, Brinson Bell seriously misrepresented the technical changes in the new machines in an apparent attempt to rush the SBOE into approving them, according to Jordan Wilkie's reporting.

Damon Circosta,
Chair, SBOE
5. "No way," said SBOE member Stella Anderson, who's been a consistent whistleblower about the safety of electronic voting machines. "Holding on to the information of an equipment shortage until the last minute, the irregular channel of communicating that information [lobbyists], inaccurately disclosing the location where the machines are manufactured and not notifying the board of problems with the current system until after it was certified are all part of a 'clear pattern of actions on the part of ESandS that represent a fundamental lack of candor in the certification process,' ” Anderson wrote her fellow board members in an email. Anderson's whistleblowing has prompted a special SBOE meeting next week to hash this out.

6. The big question for next week: Will SBOE Chair Damon Circosta continue his unaccountable soft spot for ESandS electronic equipment? Will he vote with the Republicans to certify new equipment that hasn't been adequately tested or hasn't gone through the normal mandated certification process?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will Circosta vote with Republicans? YES