Our group is a non-partisan organization focused on transparency, accuracy and accountability in elections. We want to ensure that every vote counts and that is counted accurately in our state. Our SC constitution in Article II Section 1 states that our votes should be cast in secret but not counted in secret.
Article II Section 1
“All elections by the people shall be by secret ballot, but the ballots shall not be counted in secret. The right of suffrage, as regulated in this Constitution, shall be protected by laws regulating elections and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influence from power, bribery, tumult, or improper conduct.”
After observing anomalies around the country, we decided to further investigate the election process in SC, particularly since we have new machines, poll pads (electronic), and processes, such as early voting, in our state. Our cyber experts have done a deep dive on the machines and found hundreds of vulnerabilities in the ES&S systems used in the 2020 election (ES&S Version 184.108.40.206) and our most recent primary (ES&S Version 220.127.116.11).
After canvassing in 8 major counties showed multiple disturbing anomalies, we wanted to request the cast vote records to look for any potential presence of a computer algorithm. This analysis has been done in several states and indicates that there is a pattern of frontloading and other anomalies that appear to be driven by an outside algorithm. We would like to be able to perform this simple analysis to confirm that our machines were not potentially compromised.
What is a cast vote record?
A cast vote record (CVR) is an electronic record of a voter’s ballot selections, and its primary purpose is to provide a record of voter selections that can be counted in an efficient manner to produce election results. CVRs need to be audited against their paper counterparts so that election results can be verified to be accurate.
These are common reports which have guidelines set forth via NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology):
CVRs may include other information besides voter choices, including:
• Information on all contests and contest options on the ballot in addition to those marked
• The ballot style associated with the CVR
• The precinct or location associated with the CVR
• The equipment that produced the CVR
• The political party associated with the ballot for partisan primaries
• Images of the entire ballot and images of write-in areas on the ballot
• An identifier that is also printed on the ballot as it is scanned
• Indications of how the scanner has interpreted various marks.
There is a precedent for Cast Vote records to be considered public records. Over 26 states have been issues these reports from their election officials as well as the District of Columbia. In addition, the Texas Attorney General recently held that the Cast Vote Record reports, scanned ballot images and paper ballots are also considered public record. Our votes are cast in secret but once they are counted, they are considered public record.
Why we are challenging this
We need to challenge this FOIA denial as they are using what we believe is a misguided opinion from the Attorney General’s office.
AG Wilson’s office’s opinion states the reason for not allowing them to be made public was that they can be tied back to a voter, but there is no evidence of that. Furthermore, they state in the opinion that, “It should be noted that this opinion assumes the facts presented in the request letter as this Office does not have the authority of a court to find facts in an opinion.”
In addition, they cite a case from 1939 to argue that there may have been a way to identify voters in a small race. This was prior to any computers, let alone electronic voting.
Once again, there is precedent for these being public records as the Texas AG has stated and roughly 26 states have issued this data to the public for independent analysis.
Status of the case
- We filed a complaint on August 26th in the following county board of election offices: AIKEN COUNTY, BEAUFORT COUNTY, CHARLESTON COUNTY, DORCHESTER COUNTY, GREENVILLE COUNTY, LEXINGTON COUNTY, SPARTANBURG COUNTY and YORK COUNTY as well as the SC Election Commission and the Executive director Howard Knapp. We also asked for a temporary restraining order on the cast vote records which was granted on August 31st.
- Note that we are not affiliated with any other groups who are also trying to secure the election records. We are working with lawyers and doing this in a professional manner.
- We have a hearing on the September 7th to confirm the TRO but if all the counties agree that may be cancelled and the next step will be to move to a hearing on the merits.
Our goal once we receive these records is to assess the integrity of the vote as the CVR report is very helpful for assessing if there is algorithmic presence in the tabulators and other equipment.
If we lose transparency of our vote and the ability for the public and others to audit our elections, we have no way of verifying our sacred right to elect our officials. We are being denied our constitutional right to free and fair elections and our votes not being counted in secret.
For more info and our update please watch the video and read the blogs below
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