January 23, 2011
After Newt Gingrich’s stunning victory in the South Carolina Republican primaries on Saturday, there are now questions surrounding the vote counting process that took place Saturday night.
Indeed, some individuals who witnessed the actual certification of the vote are beginning to question whether or not the outcome is a result of clever campaigning, or that of voter fraud.
Although no one is pointing fingers at the Gingrich campaign, or any other campaign at this point, the anomalies that are arising from the accounts of eyewitnesses call into question the certainty and the credibility of the final count in South Carolina.
At this time, the most serious questions are centered around the precincts in Pickens County. It was in this precinct that Chris Lawton, representing the Paul campaign, came to the Pickens County elections office to witness the vote certification and noticed a series of situations that were either in direct opposition to State voting laws, or, at the very least, highly questionable.
Mr. Lawton stated to me that he arrived at the Pickens County elections office around 7:10 pm, where he was then ushered into the County Council chambers. Mr. Lawton claims he was told that he had to remain in this area and watch the vote tabulation on the projector in the council chambers, not in the room where the actual counting was taking place.
However, Lawton noticed that, even as he arrived, the projector was displaying 726 -746 votes which were broken down by candidates. He says he then inquired as to where these votes came from and was told that the votes were tabulated at 9:00 am that day and as mail came in. He claims he was then instructed that he could not be in a secure area.
Eventually, he stated, he gathered himself together and decided to assert himself as per his rights to witness the count personally under State law. He says, “[They were] very unfriendly and appeared agitated at my presence. When I got my wits I went back and declared State law allowed me to witness all aspects of this process. I was told there was little space and [to] stand out of the way and not be talking on the phone.”
Mr. Lawton then states that at 8:00 pm a precinct which he believes to be Prater’s Creek came into the office without the “zero” tape; the device that shows the voting machines were started at a vote count of zero. Without the “zero” tape, there is no certainty that the voting machines did not begin operation loaded with votes for specific candidates, a very serious issue to say the least.
Mr. Lawton states that, at 8:02 pm, the Paul campaign called the elections office and was hung up on and given no information regarding the vote-counting process.
At 8:05 pm, Mr. Lawton claims that a box of ballots arrived (Box 216) which he believes were also from Prater’s Creek. This box had a broken security seal. When Lawton asked for the serial number of the machine that these ballots came from, he says he was told to wait.
Yet these were not the only ballots to come back unsecured. According to Lawton, the discs containing the Powdersville District 2 ballots arrived being carried by a poll worker. These discs were not only missing a seal, but were being carried in a personal folder inside the worker’s left pocket.
Shortly after a Deputy from the Pickens County Sheriff’s office arrived (as a result of the campaign being hung up on) Lawton claims that around 8:55 pm, a lady from Clemson Precinct 1 stated that the boxes and machines for this precinct were actually dropped off at another precinct – Stone Church at University Baptist Church in Clemson.
Lawton says that he asked when the machines and ballots would arrive at the correct precinct and was told that the votes had already been tabulated and would be coming in later. He claims that he was then told, later on, that the machines and ballots would be stored at the church. Lawton says that he never found out where the ballots and machines ended up before he departed his precinct Saturday night.
At 9:10 pm, Lawton claims he was given the serial number for the first box of ballots that arrived with a broken seal – Box 216 (Serial # V5124783).
At 9:30 pm, Lawton says he left the precinct with the tabulations and names of the county poll workers.
Yet Pickens County is not the only location where the method of counting votes is questionable.
In Florence County, for instance, a confidential source informed me that the vote certification was seriously flawed and essentially conducted in secret. Those individuals who came to witness the certification were not allowed into the room where the votes were being tallied and could only view the process through a glass window.
The process itself was conducted behind closed doors and witnesses could only view individuals working on computers (there were no paper ballots) – but they were unable to actually see what was on the computers themselves. Because the vote counting took place in a closed room, there was no sound available to any of the witnesses either. Only a computer screen tacked onto the wall was available for witnesses in order to view what was allegedly happening on the computers in the next room.
This is particularly concerning since the South Carolina State Constitution states that, while votes are to be cast in secret, they are to be counted in public.
It is important to note that, at no time, did the witnesses have access to the room in which the ballots were being counted to either corroborate or contest the process in Florence. There was no way for them to even ask questions regarding the vote counting.
As the source stated, “The system is designed so that just a few people have access to the votes and only a few people know what those votes actually are.”
The issue of lack of access granted to vote count witnesses seems to be a trend all across South Carolina.
In addition, Florence County also reported some rather strange voting machine failure as well. Within the first hour of voting, some of the machines in the Florence 35 District began to experience technical failures, forcing the precinct to move to paper ballots. The technical failures were related to the PEB (Personal Electronic Ballot), an external memory device that activates the voting machine and summarizes data from the machine for tabulation at the end of the day.
Interestingly enough, in South Carolina, all election results are transmitted through a Spanish owned company, Scytl/SOE Software, before they are reported to the public. This company’s software has been implicated in voter fraud in the past when, in Broward County, Florida, a candidate who had been winning the election was entirely vaporized in mid-count. Hillsborough County, Florida and Dallas County, Texas also had votes disappear as a result of the Scytl/SOE Software.
Of course, the software is not the only issue with South Carolina vote counting that could point to fraud. As Bev Harris, an elections and vote fraud expert, writes on her website BlackBoxVoting.com,
Well, you have to put an asterisk alongside “the right results” because in South Carolina you get a two-fer. Results could be incorrect at either end of the pipeline – – from the ES&S iVotronic paperless touchscreen voting machines, which have a history of incorrect totals, or from the private results reporting firm Scytl/SOE Software, which has centralized control over what gets reported.
She also writes “There is only one way to immediately find out whether Scytl/SOE reported the right results*, and that is for members of the public to capture evidence of reported precinct results when polls close tonight.” Essentially, Harris is echoing the sentiment of the source quoted earlier who stated that the system is not geared toward transparency in vote counting.
Neverthless, the ES&S iVotronic vote machines have had quite a history of fraud themselves, even being the subject of a special report by Dan Rather in 2001.
Yet, even putting aside the Scytl/SOE Software and ES&S voting machines, vote fraud would still be a major issue in South Carolina.
For instance, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice which was dated Thursday, January 19, 2012, and contained details of voter fraud in South Carolina. The analysis of the fraud was conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles and was sent to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.
As reported by the Associated Press and FOX News, “In a letter dated Thursday, Wilson says the analysis found 953 ballots cast by voters listed as dead. In 71 percent of those cases, ballots were cast between two months and 76 months after the people died. That means they ‘voted’ up to 6 1/3 years after their death.”
Even on the day of the primary itself, fraud was documented by the State Attorney General’s office. It was reported by WTOC Channel 11 on January 21st 2012, that at least 953 votes had been cast by people who were listed as dead. SLED has been asked to investigate.
It is an unfortunate reality that election fraud has become commonplace in every state in the Union and South Carolina is no exception. Although, at this time, it is unknown to what extent fraud has been committed in South Carolina or which campaign was hurt the most, one thing is for sure – whenever there is vote fraud, the inevitable losers will always be the voters.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University where he earned the Pee Dee Electric Scholar’s Award as an undergraduate. He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He also the author of Codex Alimentarius – The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies and Five Sense Solutions. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at [email protected]