Linda Lee Tarver, president of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan and former election integrity liaison in the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, said Thursday that Dominion chief John Poulos’s recent testimony left more questions unanswered than it clarified.
Tarver, who testified at a Michigan election integrity hearing on Dec. 2, said Poulos’s Dec. 15 testimony to lawmakers boiled down to reiterating that “human error” was to blame for an initial Election Day vote discrepancy in Michigan’s Antrim County, where Dominion products were used.
She said some of the questions that Poulos did not address include whether poll workers received proper training on the Dominion system, concerns about whether vote tabulators could use a USB stick to add votes to a candidate, and how prone Dominion systems are to hacking. Tarver also said chain-of-custody questions remained unanswered, and raised concerns about the ability of Dominion machines to connect to the Internet. Poulos confirmed that a small percentage of Dominion machines have Internet connectivity.
The context for Tarver’s concerns was that preliminary results in Antrim County first put Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump by around 3,000 votes, with the discrepancy corrected several days later, putting Trump ahead by around 2,500 votes. On Nov. 21, final certified results showed Trump won the county by nearly 4,000 votes.
The controversy centered on the notion that Dominion’s products were somehow responsible for the switch, while elections officials and Dominion insisted it was due to human error.
Poulos told legislators in Michigan via video link on Dec. 15 that his company’s machines and software were not involved in any “switched or deleted votes.”
(L-R) President and CEO of Election Systems & Software Tom Burt, President and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems John Poulos, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic Julie Mathis testify during a hearing before the House Administration Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Jan. 9, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
He said that because of a rule change, the machine programming needed to be updated in October. But Antrim County officials failed to update all 18 tabulators, meaning some had new programming while some still had the old programming.
Officials then forgot to conduct the logic and accuracy tests on the programming, he said. A third error took place when a contracting firm in October programmed the tabulators in a way that allowed memory cards with both the old and new programming to count votes.
“If all of the tabulators had been updated as per procedure, there wouldn’t have been any error in the unofficial reporting,” he said.
Poulos also said any discrepancies with the counts from its machines can be investigated by referencing paper ballots and insisted that all audits and recounts of Dominion technology used in the 2020 election have “validated the accuracy and reliability” of the election results.
“No one has produced credible evidence of vote fraud or vote switching on Dominion systems because these things have not occurred,” he insisted.
His testimony followed a recent forensics report based on an examination of Dominion products in Antrim County, Michigan, which claimed on Dec. 14 that the software was “intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results.”
Russell Ramsland Jr., co-founder of Allied Security Operations Group, which conducted the audit, said in the report that Dominion’s system “intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors.”
“The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail. This leads to voter or election fraud,” he stated.
President and CEO of Election Systems & Software Tom Burt, President and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems John Poulos, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic Julie Mathis testify during a hearing before the House Administration Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Jan. 9, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Poulos disputed the findings, calling the report “severely flawed” and accusing the Allied Security Operations Group, which conducted the audit, “a biased, non-independent investigation.” He claimed that it is “impossible” to switch votes using Dominion’s machines.
In a Dec. 18 statement, Dominion claimed Ramsland’s audit “further contributes to the continuing malicious and widespread disinformation campaign aimed at eroding confidence in the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, in a Dec. 14 statement, also disputed the validity of Ramsland’s audit, saying that Allied Security Operation Group “has no apparent expertise in election administration and technology” and called the report “critically flawed, filled with dramatic conclusions without any evidence to support them.”
Benson announced earlier this month that a “zero margin risk-limiting audit,” which would involve a hand recount of paper ballots, would be performed in Antrim County.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 18, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)
The results of the hand-tally recount were announced on Thursday, essentially confirming the machine tallies, yielding a net gain of 12 votes for Trump.
“This is very typical of what we find in a hand-count of ballots,” said Lori Bourbonais, with the Michigan Department of State, according to The Detroit News. “It is normal to find one or two votes in a precinct that differ between a hand tally and machine count.”
Benson, in a statement on Twitter, wrote: “The #AntrimAudit confirmed the truth & affirmed the facts: Dominion’s voting machines accurately tabulated votes cast for President. Now it’s time for the disinformation campaigns to end, and for all leaders to unequivocally affirm the Nov election was secure, accurate & fair.”
Following claims that a Dominion employee used a USB drive to manipulate and steal voting data in Georgia, a spokesperson for Gwinnett County and Georgia’s voting system implementation manager said that the person in question was a technician who was transferring a data report to another computer for processing, while a Dominion spokesperson said it is not physically possible for vote tabulators to use a USB stick to add votes for a candidate.
A statewide risk-limiting audit in Georgia, which involved a hand recount, saw a net gain of 285 votes for Trump in Gwinnett County, essentially in line with the machine tallies.
Attorney Sidney Powell has claimed that Dominion systems were exploited to sway the election in Biden’s favor and she has called for every single voting machine used in this year’s election to be impounded and reviewed for forensic analysis.
Powell has made claims of Dominion’s ties to Venezuela and late strongman Hugo Chavez, as well as claims that Dominion injected “massive quantities of votes into the system.”
Dominion, via a law firm, has demanded Powell retract her statements and accused her of engaging in a “reckless disinformation campaign.”