Posts by Daniel Greer

Election Integrity Roundup 2.23.2020

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Here’s a look at election integrity news from around Texas and the country. Some of these stories may have already been shared via our social media accounts, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Barcodes DO NOT Contain VUIDs

Confusion in election administration is not good as it undermines trust in elections.

As changes are made to how elections are run rumors about new processes proliferate. Direct Action Texas researches questions and investigates concerning reports to educate voters and ensure trust in elections is maintained.

New machines that produce a paper ballot backup DO NOT have information about the voter casting the ballot contained within printed barcodes.

There have been rumors circulating that the barcode on the ballot contains the VUID of the voter casting the ballot or alternatively that the ballot would be traceable to the voter by reverse engineering.

Obviously, the former would betray the secrecy of the ballot, something that is ensured in the process of certifying election equipment.

Note, the machines on which votes are cast are separate from those that check voters in and assign ballot styles. This bifurcates identifying information about the voter casting the vote.

As for reverse engineering who cast which ballot, this is a process that can be attempted in any vote casting regime and is only reliable in a single voter precinct. Even with check-in times known, ballot casting times vary greatly from person to person.

If you have any questions about equipment or the execution of elections please drop us a line.

Illegal Voting

Ahead of 2020, there are increased concerns about balloting fraud in Texas. While ballot by mail schemes are difficult to pursue and prosecute, they aren’t impossible to crack as has been suggested.

Direct Action Texas has established itself as an expert in the election integrity space, specifically when it comes to cases involving ballot by mail fraud.

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Election Integrity Panel Confirms Needed Reforms

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On Thursday, an election integrity panel convened in Austin and outlined many needed reforms to secure elections.

Of course, the surface of election integrity can only be scratched in an hour but among the needed reforms addressed were ending mail-in ballot abuse, vigilance to expose illegal assistance at the polls, voter list maintenance, and civil remedies to pursue cases of voter fraud.

The was panel convened at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual conference and consisted of J. Christian Adams, Omar Escobar, Jr., Rep. Stephanie Klick and was moderated by Chuck DeVore.

The final word from the panel moderator DeVore was accurate and consistent with our analysis issued immediately after the legislative session, substantive and needed reforms passed out of the Senate but died in the House.

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Predictable Outcome to Midland Ballot Count

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Today, ballots discovered in a box that went uncounted during a recount of MISD’s November bond were counted and the election was shown to have failed.

The margin of defeat was the original margin of 25, plus one bringing the total to 26. That extra vote could be that of a stray ballot discovered in a voting machine after the election recount was certified by the MISD board.

This outcome was predictable which is good, but it’s also bad.

Good, because it validated the position of many, that new voting systems which rely on both electronic and paper ballots help ensure accurate recounts. Now, to have an accurate recount all of the ballots are necessary but barring missing ballot boxes and with a rock solid chain of custody, recounts are possible and predictable with paper ballot backups.

Bad, because we have an election that was certified when it should not have been at the direction of the Secretary of State’s office. Advice from the SoS to certify the election, is based on the interpretation of code by SoS staff and is not mandated, despite breathless claims to the contrary by MISD officials and their allies.

The validation of the faulty election could have resulted in an unconstitutional result standing had it not been for the work of Better Bond for Midland and Direct Action Texas to understand and challenge the results.

Originally, intervenors from Better Bond for Midland were seeking the election be voided but, following the count today, an agreed order nullifying the election will be submitted.

A Midland judge is expected to reverse the election result early next week.

MISD Bond Continues to Crawl Toward Death

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On Friday, a Midland County judge ordered ballots found in a misplaced box be manually counted on January 17. Previously, an inventory of the found ballots was conducted to ascertain the number of ballots only.

The manual recount, of yeas and nyes on Friday, will not alter the election result but may bring a modicum of clarity to an election contest that has been marred by confusion and novel election administration issues.

Regardless the outcome, what will be most interesting to witness is the posture MISD officials and allies take after the ballots are counted. Currently, more than 800 Midlanders have been disenfranchised and the election inaccurately certified. This won’t be rectified by Friday’s count.

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Midland ISD Bond Update

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The Midland ISD school bond election has had a dizzying number of missteps and information false starts since November. This has lead to quite a bit of confusion.

So, where are we now?

The simple, somewhat unfulfilling answer is, we’re getting closer to the definitive case against the handling of this election but are still in process.

Unease is understandable. For one, there’s a lot of money at stake but more importantly, there needs to be trust in the process.

Election Administrator Deborah Land and the MISD school board have shown time and again throughout that rushing and selective transparency don’t instill trust or lead to defendable results.

Data from the recount was delayed in being released last week after Land ran out of ink during a printing session she publicly requested. Now that the requisite ink has been acquired and data finally printed, comparisons can be made and a summation of the discrepancies compiled.

Based on what we already know, a case against not only the election but the individuals overseeing its execution is coming. And, until changes are made, Midland County elections will not enjoy the levels of trust they need and deserve.

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