From the Public Intelligence Blog, 12/10/15
Texas Election Lawsuit Uncovers Hart InterCivic Computer Corruption Errors: Plus Official Election Records Missing
Computerized electronic voting machines have been used in elections for over a decade and voters across America don’t trust them and now we know why. Dr. Laura Pressley, a Texas candidate, has filed an historic election contest which has uncovered electronic voting machine corruption errors, security breaches, and missing election data.
Pressley, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry and a background in semiconductor engineering management, noticed numerous election irregularities in her 2014 Austin City Council race such as more ballots than voter names as reported during early voting, and she identified repetitive mathematical patterns that called her election results into question. Texans certainly know how to stand up, come together and make things happen. Pressley is the first Texas candidate to file a lawsuit contesting election results citing electronic voting machine corruption errors and their inability to retain state mandated election records and she is getting support from all types of political groups across the state. Here is a summary of the legal details and evidence of Pressley’s case that is currently in the Third Court of Appeals in Texas.
Specifically, when Pressley asked Travis County to produce statutorily required “images of ballots cast” from the Hart InterCivic voting machines for a recount, they were unable to produce the ballot images that voters saw in the election booth. Instead, what she received were Cast Vote Records (CVRs), which are computer-generated templates of tabulated votes — not the statutorily required ballot images required for manual recounts of electronic voting machines in Texas. “CVRs do not contain the legal components of an official Texas ballot, such as the election name and date, each candidate’s name, voting squares, and a unique serial number as defined by the Texas Constitution,” Pressley said. “Without these voter-marked ballot records, how can we conduct a statutorily valid recount?” In addition, Court documents revealed numerous irregularities and problems with her election. When the Travis County Elections Division was asked to produce official backup records to validate the outcome of Dr. Pressley’s Austin City Council 2014 race in Texas, key election data came up missing. For example, computer audit logs registered systematic “corruption” errors that occurred when batches of votes were electronically counted. Second, deposition testimony revealed election officers were instructed not to retain backup tapes of the number of electronic votes each candidate received on election day. What she found is rather surprising and similar election issues are going on all across the state of Texas.
“What we discovered is that the very pillars of our Constitution – specifically voting rights and our system of checks and balances – were not being followed regarding electronic voting systems. As we attempted to verify the results, some official election records came up missing,” Pressley relayed. “The Texas Legislature put in place specific laws that were intended to help ensure the integrity of the electronic voting process, and Texans deserve to know that their votes are counted correctly,” said Pressley and her historic case is moving forward in the Third Court of Appeals in Texas. Pressley added, “Texans demand transparency in the democratic process, and we must be able to inspect and verify the official records in an election. This case is about ensuring our voting process is accurate, secure and reflects each voter’s intent.”
Which Texas laws are being violated? For over 10 years, Texas’ Secretary of State’s office and County Clerks appear to be violating numerous election laws since the start of electronic voting in Texas: Article VI, Chapter 128, Chapter 213, Chapter 52, and Chapter 66. Pressley is among a growing list of candidates and counties nationwide that are pressing for legally verifiable election records. While Pressley’s election contest and appeal are the first of such kind in Texas, similar cases have been heard in states including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. To date, about 26 states have shifted to voting equipment that uses verifiable paper records. “We must hold our system and officials accountable and correct these issues for the common good and betterment of Texas and our country,” she said.