UPDATE: New Circuit Justice assignments have come out at the Supreme Court, coincidentally creating a much friendlier environment.
Let me get right to it.
We need a real audit of this election, and that looks nothing like the farce that was just concluded in Georgia, which did not involve any attempt to identify fraudulent votes or verify any of the election records, including something as basic as matching signatures on absentee ballot envelopes or even just making sure precinct registers tally with their vote counts.
Given the numbers and forensic skills involved, this would be a huge undertaking, and, unfortunately, it's clear this is not part of the Trump team's strategy.
Then it occurred to me; why does it have to be done by Trump or his team? Why do we have to wait for Trump to act?
Why can't we have a Citizens' Audit of this election? An organized effort, outside of the Trump Campaign to audit the vote, validate the records, and forensically examine the machines and the ballots themselves?
Benjamin Franklin's response to the question of what had been wrought by the Framers at the end of the Constitutional Convention was; "A Republic, if you can keep it!" It made no mention of politicians; it recognized that the citizen is ultimately responsible for safeguarding America's democracy - and nothing threatens democracy more than election fraud, and worse, acquiescence to it.
At this point, there's more than enough circumstantial evidence, enough statistical/data red flags, enough documented irregularities, and more than enough sworn witness testimony to justify an in-depth audit of the election.
Because, ultimately, this isn't about Trump, this is about legitimate voters being disenfranchised by fraudulent ballots and crooked counters at the ballot box. This is about the 70 million Americans who have very good reason to question the events in a small number of urban counties in the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona.
This is about protecting the continued credibility and legitimacy of American democracy.
So, can a real, proper audit be done? Within the timeframe?
Yes. I think so. Barely.
First - the requirements; Organization, Access, Funding, Manpower, Equipment and Security.
- Organization: This is a project that requires significant coordination to manage the necessary material and human resources, minimize duplication of effort and verify the end product. Real logistics and time management skills are needed here. Luckily, software exists to help, and the leadership/management role can be split along county and state lines.
Access: Meaning access to the election system and materials, i.e. precinct poll registers, voter registration records, ballot box custody sign-offs, the actual ballots themselves, the tabulation machines and network logs. There is precedent for this. In the aftermath of the 2000 recount saga, a consortium of Left-Wing media outlets gathered together and sponsored a review of the ballots in Florida.
However, this is where this endeavor will suffer the most trouble. Even though some of these items, like voter registration and voter participation records, are public, local Democrat officials will do everything possible to prevent or delay the provision of these materials in their original forms. They will offer selected samples, copies, or even try to extract legally binding commitments before releasing them. In many jurisdictions, they will suddenly go "missing" or be damaged by fire or water.
This is where the lawyers and news organizations like Newsmax and OANN come in. And the first request to the bench should be for an order to secure and impound the originals of these materials meaning everything from precinct poll books, registers, list of mailed ballots, the tabulation machines and network equipment to the actual ballots themselves, before requesting that they be handed over for audit. It would help immensely if there is support, in the form of amici curae, from GOP State Legislators.
The recommendation, given the time constraints, is for the lawyers to take their petitions directly to the relevant Circuit Justice overseeing the affected states, i.e. Alito (3rd Circuit) for Pennsylvania, Thomas (11th Circuit) for Georgia, and
KavanaughBarrett (7th Circuit) for Wisconsin. To cover all bases, petitions should also be submitted to the less-friendly chambers of Sotomayor andKagan, who respectivelyoversee Circuits covering the states of Michigan (6th), andNevada and Arizona (9th).
Funding: This project would primarily rely on volunteers, but money, and a large amount of it, would be necessary to rent and equip venues, set up security, buy some important forensic machines, computers, stationery, and even just water, snacks and coffee.
I have no doubt that the President's 70 million voters would be able to donate a substantial amount toward a real and proper audit of this election, so I'm less concerned about reaching the amount required than the possibility of Left-Wing executives at the major banks and payment processors shutting down any way of the donations reaching the project.
But, like I pointed out before, multiple legacy media outlets were only too happy to sponsor the Florida Ballot Project - obstensibly in the public interest. That's a precedent.
So outfits like Newsmax and OANN should therefore have no questions to answer for sponsoring the Citizens' Audit. What could be of greater public interest?
Manpower: This must be a crowdsourced operation if it is to be carried out within the required timeframe. The more people showing up to volunteer, the better. There is precedent for this; in 2011, the legacy media, still seething with hatred for Sarah Palin, gleefully launched a crowdsourcing campaign to go through her official emails, with scores of journalists sent to Juneau to scan/digitize all 24,000 pages, again claiming to be acting in the public interest.
Well, this is of even greater public interest; Palin had already been forced to resign from office two years before the crowdsourcing trawl through her emails. This is where #StopTheSteal either proves to be a movement with teeth, that can mobilize a multitude to do more than just march, or not.
To be clear, certain skills are essential for this project; data analytics, record reconciliation, computer and networking forensics, document forensics, etc. Other than that, the ability to count and sort, to use mapping applications, to use the internet to cross-check against public records, and the willingness to drive around, ask questions and take pictures and notes is all that is needed.
We need people to count and sort the ballots out according to precinct (or group of precincts) as identified by some identifying marker or simply the down ballot races. They'll also sort by type (absentee, mail-in, in-person), and questionability (only voting for President or President and Senate, pristine and uncreased, neat mechanical filling of option spaces i.e. as if printed, etc.). Instruction would be provided to identify what to look for.
We need people to carry out verifications against public records based on findings from the counting and sorting, data analysis and document reconciliation efforts. These folks would be primarily online and would also be using public data and mapping tools to verify biodata (e.g. birth dates), and match addresses against the poll books and scans of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes against the voters' file.
Working with these people would be those volunteers tasked with physically verifying addresses and persons; it wouldn't be the first time a voter's address was discovered to be a parking lot, Apt #15 in a 12 apartment building, or #10 Nosuchstreet Boulevard.
People with records reconciliation skills, e.g. process and compliance auditors, would be assigned to reconcile the election's supporting records and documentation. For example, a precinct poll register with multiple witness entries made with the same handwriting, gaps in ballot boxes' chain of custody from the precinct to the city counting center, a precinct polling register reporting that 700 people voted, while the count reveals that the precinct delivered 1200 ballots to the city.
Computer and networking forensics folks would be assigned to go through the tabulation machines' software and logs with a fine tooth comb, as well as the network traffic at the LAN/router level in the counting facility. Provided these materials were not tampered with, this would reveal if the tabulation machines were ever connected to the internet during the counts, software updates both prior and after election day, whether the machines recorded votes at odd hours, and numerous other indicators of carelessness, malfeasance, or not. Testing would include test-running pre-counted ballots on the counting machines to confirm accuracy, and checking whether the same ballots can be run multiple times, whether users can directly alter counts on the machines, and numerous other vulnerabilities.
Much of the data analysts' work is already done - most of the red flag locales showing up with anomalous data, e.g. precincts with ~95% turnout, incredible vote swings from previous cycles, impossible margins, spikes in real-time election data feeds that defy explanation, etc. have already been identified by folks like Scott Hounsell and others online. However, the information from the count, information from the record reconciliation team, and from the computer forensics team would not only enable corellation of timelines with events and other elements to firm up the picture of what happened, it might also help identify other areas with problematic data for investigation.
Finally, the document forensics experts will be tasked to run tests on identified suspect ballots - particularly on the inks used to mark them. Scientific techniques such as Raman Spectroscopy, and equipment (i.e. spectrophotometers) already exist that enable forensic document examiners (and computers) to very quickly identify ink specific properties in a way similar to fingerprints. The Secret Service maintains a digital ink library for just this purpose, and unknown to many, pen and ink manufacturers have, for years, included chemical markers in their products that indicate the date of manufacture. In addition, even inks by the same manufacturer from the same batch could end up being very different under the microscope depending on factors like age before use and storage conditions.
In other words, thousands of people using chemically identical pens in multiple jurisdictions with different races to mark their absentee ballots for Biden is improbable on an astronomical scale. So, the document folks will be checking to see, for example; if the same pen or set of pens was used to mark more than one absentee (or mail-in) ballot, if a set of ballots were marked with ink from a printer, if a precinct's in-person ballot paper-printouts were marked by inks from too many different printer cartridges, etc.
Equipment: Meaning laptops, servers, firewalls, WiFi, dozens of spectrophotometers, coffee makers, tables, chairs, etc.
Some venues, especially given their locations, may not want to rent to an operation that could very well overturn a favored election result or draw political retaliation from local Democrat authorities.
Due to this, one can easily imagine having to set up a marquee in a public park, football pitch, or some other space, and needing to install security cameras on ladder racks, conduits, wiring, generators, heaters, port-a-potties, etc. for the duration of the audit. So equipment could also include the venue itself.
Of course, this means manpower must include people willing to help pro bono or get paid to set things up, but security as well.
Security: An important thing to keep in mind is that the legacy media would be 100% against this project, and will label it a "Right-Wing" effort to overturn a "free and fair" election. This means Antifa, Black Lives Matter and other Left-Wing groups (with the knowing and full backing of the media) will employ everything, including assaults, arson attempts, road blockages, hacking, doxxing, etc. to ensure that this effort fails.
Worse, Democrat Mayors and Governors will do their very best to deny police protection to the venues and participants, and some local politicians would likely attempt to help protestors gain entry into the venue to vandalize equipment and attack people. Given the amount of support the President got from law enforcement, this may not work entirely in the way the local Democrat machine may expect, but still, there must be a budget for security, and, as mentioned before, citizen volunteers may have to be asked to stand guard to protect the project, which adds another category of folks to our manpower requirements . And that's just physical security.
Cybersecurity will be another issue; a significant amount of attention will need to be paid to that, and also the very strong possibility that any online assets of the project will be subject to attacks and sabotage by Big Tech. So wherever possible, systems that can be used offline should be preferred over systems that require communications with any Google or Facebook properties.
Infiltrators and bad actors in the room are another concern; these include not just people who come in under false pretenses to sabotage the effort but also people who may think that they will be "helping" the President by cutting corners.
This is why extra measures like cameras positioned and recording over all work spaces are essential. Everything must be above-board and provably so, and this may require the engagement of a security outfit charged to handle the logistics and security of the materials, monitor events, conduct spot checks and ultimately serve as witnesses on the conduct of the exercise.
This is important because everyone employed by the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, the Associated Press, etc. will be doing everything they can to stop or sabotage the project, and, failing that, cast doubt and calumny on whatever is produced by the audit, which is very unlikely to be positive for the Democrats.
Again, the question is if this can be done within the short period of time left.
Factor 1; Can court orders be obtained and the materials secured against Democrat sabotage by law enforcement? Will the Trump Administration send in the Marshals?
Factor 2; The response to the call for volunteers in the various states, with a facility to enable individuals using the web, texts or USSD to identify themselves as having the specialized auditing, analytics and forensic skills, while enabling other volunteers to indicate what they are able/willing to do between counting and sorting, online data matching and physical verification.
With factors 1 and 2 addressed, with enough people volunteering, and if the counting and sorting is done over a continuous 24 hour shift and concurrencies are maximized, it is very possible that this can be completed in less than 10 days.
The aim, and this is where the data analysts and statisticians come in again, is to produce an audit report, backed by data, documentary and physical evidence, of not only election/ballot fraud (if indeed that's what happened), but also a scientifically defensible measure of its impact on this election, to be presented to the courts and the State Legislatures before (or even after) the Electoral College meets.
I'm sure better and perhaps more realistic ideas exist out there, but here it is, warts and all; the Citizens' Audit.