Establishment politicians and press are outraged that Trump would question the integrity of their system.
They say it undermines public trust in political institutions.
Yet to see who is truly undermining public trust we need look no further than the people running the elections, who are shutting down election audit procedures, who stonewall and eject certified election monitors and who make any recording of malfunctioning voting machines a felony.
One such person is Texas Director of Elections, Keith Ingram.
This story is specific to Texas, but the same tactics are used nationwide by both parties to exploit vulnerabilities inherent in electronic voting.
I went to the Texas Secretary of State offices to ask Mr. Ingram about specific procedural changes he has made in his four-year tenure and the changes he attempted to make in August that would have gone into effect this November.
With camera & mic in hand, we told the reception desk we were with the press and would like to talk to the Director about the election.
We were told to wait in the lobby and Mr. Ingram would be down.
You can see for yourself what happened when he saw the mic flag showing we were with Infowars.
The man running the election bureaucracy runs from questions.
So much for transparency and candor.
This unelected bureaucrat is tasked with ensuring that counties adhere to election law.
What follows are the specific actions taken by his office that waive requirements and undermine election integrity in Texas.
But before we get to specifics about his actions & his connection to the Rose Law firm in Arkansas, there are some general questions that should concern voters nationwide:
• Why would standards required by our elected lawmakers for election integrity be bent to the capabilities of vendors rather than require vendors to perform to the standard?
• Why would election procedures be waived and honesty and transparency sacrificed for the convenience of election workers & officials?
Burning The Paper Trail
In August 2016, Ingram, Texas Director of Elections, attempted to make last minute rule changes for the upcoming November 8 election that would eliminate crucial paper backup records for electronic voting.
His office issued new rules that would:
• Eliminate printing of paper audit logs that poll watchers are entitled to monitor at main tabulation computers.
• Eliminate printing of Early Voting Results tapes.
• Eliminate printing of ballot images for recounts.
Fortunately activists and some elected representatives got the proposed rule changes postponed, with a formal public hearing scheduled after the November election.
State Senator Don Huffines said “The state’s chief election officers must reconsider and redraft their proposed election rules to pursue more real-time paper records and backups, not fewer…The comfort & convenience of election administrators should not take priority over voters’ confidence and election integrity.”
But even though these procedures have been postponed, Ingram’s previous rule changes are still a cause for concern in the November election and have caused repercussions in two election cases currently being litigated. Here are some of the problems…
1) Waiver of laws requiring a Partial Manual Recount audit
Ingram waived the requirement to conduct a manual count in 1% of the election precincts or 3 election precincts, whichever is greater. This was waived in all 254 counties the day after the March 2016 Primary.
The timing is significant because during the primary there were 1,743 move votes than voters in Hill County in the Republican Primary. The margin of victory was 225 in Texas House District 8 that contains Hill County.
In calling for a criminal investigation, Ingram noted that it appears “6 or 7 voters voted more than once in the election and one voter voted as many as four times.” Yet he waived the partial manual recount audit requirement statewide and he has waived other audit and monitoring procedures.
2) Waiver of laws requiring printing of paper backup results tapes
Ingram’s waivers issued in 2014, 2015, and 2016, appear to be in direct contradiction of state election laws 65.004, 65.014, 66.022, 66.023, 66.024 and the Judges Handbook. These rules require –
• “Three original tally lists shall be maintained at the polling place to record the number of votes received for the candidates”
• “On completion of the vote count, the presiding judge shall prepare the returns of the election for the precinct” with “total number of voters”, “total number of votes” with the presiding judge signing each of the 3 copies to certify.
Ingram also issued waivers for requirements that a “zero tape” be printed from the machines at the beginning of election day and a “tally tape” printed at the close of election. His letter states that “the process of printing of the zero tape and tally tape at each countywide precinct location could take hours in both the morning and the evening of election day.”
So expediency for election workers takes precedent over requirements enacted by the legislature for integrity of elections. And if a favored vendor can’t perform to the law, the law is waived.
If proper procedures had been followed to ensure that the machine was at a zero state, instead of waived by Ingram, the Hill County issue of 1,743 more voters than votes would not have happened. The vendor in Hill County, ES&S eventually identified the source of the extra votes saying “An audit of the log report from the central paper ballot scanner showed that the hard drive had not been properly cleared of all ballots cast before scanning Early Voting or Election Day ballots…There are established election protocols which should be followed to prevent this type of reporting error.”
But the Director of Elections is waiving those “established election protocols”. Ingram’s waver of legal requirements & his improvised solution of “printing a zero tape at the county warehouse prior to election day” opens the door for error and fraud.
3) Ignoring laws requiring printing of legally sufficient ballot images for recounts
The Secretary of State Election Division claims that “cast vote records” are equivalent to “ballot images”. As you can see, the cast vote records are very different from ballots and are not uniquely numbered.
The Texas Constitution, Article 6 – Suffrage, Section 4 says “In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot, and the Legislature shall provide for the numbering of tickets and make such other regulations as may be necessary to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box.”
Yet the machines by vendors Hart InterCivic and ES&S, certified by Ingram, do not provide uniquely numbered ballots per state recount laws and don’t provide other components of a legal Texas ballot.
4) Ignoring laws that allow poll watchers to monitor all election activities such as the printing of paper audit logs for computerized result tabultion
Texas Election Code, Sec 33.056 says a “watcher is entitled to observe any activity conducted at the location at which the watcher is serving.”
Affidavits from two official poll watchers for a candidate in Dallas County (with official Poll Watcher signed forms) detail how they were “repeatedly obstructed from monitoring multiple election activities at the Dallas County Central Counting Station such as ballot scanning, vote transfer, ballot transfer, computer activities, ballot tabulation, and viewing the elections computer line printer.” They state that they were “repeatedly treated disrespectfully, obstructed and blatantly ignored” by the election officials, and voting machine vendor before being thrown out after the officials spoke with the Texas Secretary of State Elections office.
Hostility to election monitors, like Ingram’s refusal to answer our questions, destroy the public’s confidence in the honesty of the process — and rightfully so.
Ingram’s Connections To Arkansas, Kutak Rock, Rose Law Firm & Hillary Clinton
According to a public information request of Ingram’s Secretary of State personnel file, Ingram left private practice and moved to Little Rock Arkansas, taking a job with the law firm, Kutak Rock, LL. At Kutak Rock, he worked under the managing partner, Gordon Miller Wilbourn who had been a partner with Hillary Clinton, Vince Foster and Webster Hubbell at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas in the 1990’s. The Wilbourn family is a large donor to the Clinton Foundation and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Ingram left Kutak Rock to return to Texas when he was hired by Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment office in 2008 to oversee statewide political appointments for various courts, boards & commissions.
Ingrams’s career moves are interesting. In just 10 months, his journey from private practice in Texas through Arkansas Clinton-cronies and back to Texas government resulted in pay cuts with each move and his salary being cut in half. In 2012, Ingram, was promoted to Director of the Election Division in the Texas Secretary of State’s Office where his salary was still 40% less than private practice.
Ingram’s determination to remove paper trails and auditing procedures for electronic voting is even more troubling when we look at his connections to big Clinton donors.
Establishment Of Both Parties Don’t Appear To Want Election Integrity
In one lawsuit contesting election results for Austin City Council, the County could not produce ANY ballot images as required by law to conduct a recount. Computer logs had multiple “corruption/invalid” errors. During discovery it was learned that the computer counted more votes than registered voters in 10 of the 12 precincts forming the district. One precinct had 100% voter turnout, another was just 2 registered voters shy of 100% in spite of only 32% and 17% county-wide turnout in the general and runoff elections.
The County Democrat Party has financed legal opposition to the lawsuit and a Republican judge claimed there was no evidence for election irregularities.
There are some positive developments, however. The Republican judge has now been voted off the bench of the solidly Republican County and state legislators have taken up the question of election integrity that has so far been ignored by Governor Abbott’s office.
State Senator Bob Hall said, “Due to an increasing number of complaints, it is time for the Texas Elections Division Office to take immediate and decisive action to rescind all waivers issued by that office…and instruct all Texas counties using electronic voting systems to consistently adhere to all election laws…”
Voters, regardless of political affiliation, should reject policies and personnel that compromise honest, transparent elections. For example, Chambers County in Texas recently announced electronic voting would be suspended until the glitches affecting voting machines could be corrected. It’s time to remove Keith Ingram as Texas Director of Elections and replace easily hacked electronic voting machines with paper ballots.