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Forensic Report in Michigan Lawsuit Shows Major Procedural and Security Flaws With Dominion Voting Systems

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: December 18, 2020
A scanned ballot on a computer screen at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office in Lawrenceville, Ga., on Nov. 8, 2020. (Jessica McGowan / Getty Images)

On Dec. 14, attorney Matthew DePerno released preliminary findings of a forensic audit in Antrim County on Michigan’s Dominion voting machines. 

DePerno represents the Plaintiff in Bailey v Antrim County, a suit filed in the Circuit Court for the County of Antrim between a private Plaintiff and Antrim County. The suit seeks injunctions in the county’s election on the basis of an allegation that Dominion Voting Systems (DVS) miscounted “votes cast for President Donald Trump and instead counted them for Presidential Candidate Joe Biden.”

The Revised Preliminary Summary is authored by Russell Ramsland, Jr., of Allied Security Operations Group (ASOG). The Group offers various cyber security services, including forensic investigation and training. Ramsland, Jr. notes his qualifications as an MBA from Harvard, a political sciences degree from Duke, and work experience with NASA and MIT. 

While the preamble to the Summary claims Dominion “intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors,” causing them to be rejected and sent for bulk adjudication with no oversight, thus leading to vote fraud; no evidence is provided in the Summary to show that the errors are intentionally generated by Dominion’s suite of hardware and software. 

High adjudication rate

The report does shed light on a Dominion adjudication process that allows staff to manually override the contents of a rejected ballot at the click of a mouse: “All reversed ballots are sent to adjudication for a decision by election personnel.” Ballots sent to adjudication can be altered by administrators, and adjudication files can be moved between different terminals with no audit trail of which administrator actually adjudicates (i.e., votes) the ballot batch.

The rate of adjudication can be high, as in Central Lake Township, where 81.96 percent of the ballots were rejected. 

The report clearly shows a number of very concerning security practices used on the computers the DVS software suite was installed on. 

Ramsland’s team collected one of the Antrim County Election Management Servers and found that the thumb drive (USB stick) used for the initial setup of Dominion Democracy Suite “was not secured in the vault with the CF cards and other thumb drives.” After an extensive search, it was eventually found “in an unsecured and unlocked desk drawer along with multiple other random thumb drives.”

After extensive analysis, auditors found that the machine did not meet minimum security standards. “These minimum-security standards are outlined in the 2002 HAVA, and FEC Voting System Standards — it did not even meet the minimum standards required of a government desktop computer.”

Multiple vulnerabilities

The investigators found that the computer server software was old, the Windows and antivirus programs had not been updated in approximately 4 years, and the server was not password protected. The forensic audit also revealed that the servers’ security logs were missing, including all security logs for the day before, during, and after the election. “Other server logs before Nov. 4, 2020 are present; therefore, there is no reasonable explanation for [these] security logs to be missing.”

Perhaps the most suspect example is the vote on authorizing a marijuana retailer in the Village of Central Lake. On Election night, 524 total votes were cast, resulting in a dead draw at 262 for and 262 against. When the results were re-counted with a newly updated version of software on Nov. 6, one vote was removed from the “No” side of the ballot, resulting in a 262-261 win for the marijuana retailer. 

The summary points out that software updates are prohibited under the Help America Vote Act, Safe Harbor, noting the Act “provides a 90-day period prior to elections where no changes can be made to election systems. To make changes would require recertification of the entire system for use in the election.” According to the report, Microsoft released approximately 58 security patches across more than 10 of its products on Nov. 8.

The forensic audit also revealed that the servers’ security logs were missing, including all security logs for the day before, during, and after the election. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

One of the key claims in the report’s preamble revolves around a 68 percent error rate in calculating ballots, while the allowable election error rate established by the Federal Election Commission guidelines is 1 in 250,000 ballots (.0008 percent). The 68 percent error rate is later clarified as being generated from a total of events in an event log, most being configuration errors, rather than erroneously processed ballots themselves. “The election log for Antrim County consists of 15,676 total lines or events. Of the 15,676 there were a total of 10,667 critical errors/warnings or 68.05% error rate.” 

While “most of the errors were related to configuration errors that could result in overall tabulation errors or adjudication,” this is still far outside of the acceptable standards for total error rate set by Michigan law, which requires a report total error rate of no more than one in 125,000.”

The investigation also illustrates a difference in two different versions of the “paper totals tape” provided by Judith Kosloski, Clerk of Central Lake Township. On Nov. 5, Connie Wing asked Ms. Kosloski to bring the tabulator and ballots to the County Clerk’s office for re-tabulation. They ran the ballots and printed “Roll 2.”  While Kosloski noticed a “difference in the votes and brought it up to [Wing],” the tabulation continued and her concerns were “not addressed.” This event revolved around two school board member votes, a state proposal vote, and a marijuana retailer vote.

The only evidence submitted regarding the presidential election appears to show Donald Trump actually gained a lead over Joe Biden in a Nov. 5 and Nov. 21 recount in Antrim County. Still, the bulk of evidence collected shows glaring inconsistencies in Dominion’s ability to accurately count even a small group of ballots, calling into question the wisdom in using Dominion’s systems.

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