I Call BS on This Call for a 'Rigorous' Audit of the CA Recall Election

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

More and more, we are seeing the ways that Governor Gavin Newsom, House Speaker and San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and the elite San Francisco Cabal intent on keeping Newsom in office are trying to destroy the integrity and momentum of the California Recall.

I will say this: Radio Host, Political Pundit, and Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Elder has done us no favors by inserting himself into the Recall gubernatorial race at the last minute, and making himself an easy target with his views, as opposed to actual policy points or a record. Elder’s latest flip-flop on abortion, after the Texas heartbeat law was punted by SCOTUS, has only served to foment the California Democrats and given them a talking point that has nothing to do with this Recall.

This Recall is all about Gavin Newsom and his failure to govern. Now, Newsom has been given a gift in being able to paint the Recall everything else but that. Recall proponents are working double-time to undo this damage and put the focus back where it belongs.

Thank goodness Dementia Joe is still coming out to campaign and “Stop The Republican Recall.” It’s a sign that despite Newsom’s messaging and bright, shiny objects, and questionable new polls that show Newsom is advantaged in this Recall, he is still in trouble.

As AD46 GOP candidate Roxanne Hoge said,

I get that it’s an uphill climb, but so was getting the recall qualified in the first place. Mike Netter, and the Recall Gavin 2020 team did it, though, because millions of people are motivated.

It will continue to be an uphill battle to get rid of this governor, and that needs to remain the focus. We have not lost our motivation.

And neither have they. The latest wrench in the system is a group of cyber security and election integrity “experts” urging a “rigorous” audit of the Recall election, due to concerns about the security of the California machine voting systems.

When a Democrat governor is on the line, suddenly election integrity gets center stage in California.

You truly cannot make this stuff up.

From the Associated Press:

A group of election security experts on Thursday called for a rigorous audit of the upcoming recall election for California’s governor after copies of systems used to run elections across the country were released publicly.

Their letter sent to the secretary of state’s office urges the state to conduct a type of post-election audit that can help detect malicious attempts to interfere.

The statewide recall targeting Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, set for Sept. 14, is the first election since copies of Dominion Voting Systems’ election management system were distributed last month at an event organized by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump who has made unsubstantiated claims about last year’s election. Election offices across 30 states use the Dominion system, including 40 counties in California.

Translation: They want to delay certifying the Recall election results so the Secretary of State can either pad the results or find some reason to toss “YES” ballots out. We saw this from a mile off.

Election security experts have said the breaches, from a county in Colorado and another in Michigan, pose a heightened risk to elections because the system is used for a number of administrative functions — from designing ballots and configuring voting machines to tallying results. In the letter, the experts said they do not have evidence that anyone plans to attempt a hack of the systems used in California and are not casting blame on Dominion.

“However, it is critical to recognize that the release of the Dominion software into the wild has increased the risk to the security of California elections to the point that emergency action is warranted,” the experts wrote in their letter, which was shared with The Associated Press.

Emergency action? Seriously, these people are hair on fire about this. In a cursory Internet search (I don’t use Google, so…), many of these experts have been interviewed everywhere from local Fox news stations to the U.K. Guardian, and have consistently downplayed any discrepancies, fraud, or malfeasance in the 2020 Presidential election. Some have made it their mission to target My Pillow CEO, Mike Lindell. Some have also dismissed the audits in certain of the battleground states. Notice how the AP downplays that they are blaming Dominion? Apparently, these experts are skating a line. The question is, toward what end?

This is from the letter these experts sent to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber:

As you know, about three weeks ago, binary images of the Dominion election management system (EMS) were made public. While the software versions are not identical to those used in California, differences are relatively minor: the release materially elevates threats to the trustworthiness of the ongoing California recall election and to public trust in the election. We urge you to address the issue by taking one critical action–a statewide risk-limiting audit (RLA) of trustworthy paper ballots –which can substantially mitigate these threats.

Risk-limiting audit is the brainchild of one of the letter’s signatories, University of California Berkeley Professor Philip B. Stark. This is the explanation of this audit method from a Congressional research study:

“Risk-limiting audit procedures themselves start with selection of an initial random sample of paper records, based on factors such as margin of victory. Those paper records are manually reviewed to check for any discrepancies with voting system outputs. Statistical calculations are then run on the results to determine whether they provide a prespecified level of confidence— which might be set in statute or chosen by election officials—that the election outcomes reported by the voting system are the outcomes officials would get if they conducted a full hand count of the paper records of votes. If the prespecified confidence threshold is met, the audit can stop there. If not, the size of the sample is increased until either the threshold is met or all of the paper records have been manually reviewed.”

Had this been factored into the Recall election-counting process from the start, there would be no questions. But it is obvious that this is a ploy to give Newsom and his SOS an opportunity to delay or doctor.

The report continues,

“The election outcomes revealed by the full hand count would stand in the latter case, if the reported and hand-counted outcomes were to differ. Paired with a trustworthy paper trail, risk-limiting audits are designed to provide either (a) a quantifiable level of confidence that the election outcomes reported by the voting system are right or (b) a way to correct the reported outcomes—through a full hand count—if they are wrong. Traditional post-election audits that review a fixed share of paper records, by contrast, might review too few records to provide confidence in the reported outcomes, and preventative measures might not catch all potential issues.”

Here is the play: Delay certifying the Recall election results further and work to get ballots added or tossed. This type of audit can also be an evidence-gathering tool for a court battle. My take: They are setting things up in order to mount a legal challenge.

The letter to SOS Weber talks about the “expertise” of the signatories.

The undersigned are all experts in election cybersecurity. Each of us has well over a decade of continuous experience in that field and a long history of conducting technical studies of voting systems or voting-related cybersecurity, as well as writing, speaking, testifying, making media appearances on many aspects of election integrity. Several of us have served on special panels and task forces appointed by previous California Secretaries of State and have worked closely with local election officials in California.

The background on a few of these undersigned people bears some scrutiny.

Harri Hursti is the co-founder of Nordic Innovation Labs and Voting Village at DEFCON. Hursti was all over the media between 2017 and 2019, proclaiming the vulnerabilities and brokenness in the machine voting systems, and alluding to how this could have led to a victory for Donald J. Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.

I’m old enough to remember that CNN was obsessed with the Russian collusion hoax, so they were determined to get to the bottom of it and continue to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.

Listen to what Hursti proclaims in an HBO documentary called Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections:

“America has been very successful at exporting everything, including exporting election technology, which is broken. So, U.S. actually, by their actions, or the actions of the companies, have made their allies vulnerable. And that scares the living shit out of me.”

But now, Hursti is on a campaign to debunk not only Lindell’s discoveries, but any findings that the 2020 Election might have been compromised. Before he signed this letter, he took to The Guardian to warn about the dire consequences that could result from the distribution of Dominion voting machine infrastructure:

Harri Hursti, an election security pioneer who attended Lindell’s event, told The Guardian that the software copies could give would-be election hackers a “practice environment” to search for vulnerabilities. However, the hackers would still need physical access to the systems as voting machines are not connected to the internet.

“The door is now wide open,” Hursti told The Guardian. “The only question is, how do you sneak in the door?”

So, if the system was broken back in 2016, and the U.S. companies who make these machines have been exporting vulnerabilities that compromise the election of its allies, how is Mike Lindell pointing this out in 2020 making anything more vulnerable? Hursti already said the system was vulnerable over four years ago—so why wasn’t Hursti in a rush back then to protect the integrity of the 2020 election?

It’s very suspect, but what isn’t with Newsom and his affirmative action Secretary of State?

Then there is Professor Philip B. Stark and his risk-limited audit method. Stark runs the Department of Statistics at UC Berkeley, and his reputation has been built on his audit procedure and his knowledge of election data and election software. Stark was selected to be a part of the audit team for the New Hampshire forensic audit of their 2020 election. Know who else was on this team?

Harri Hursti, along with Mark Lindeman, the director of science and technology policy for an organization called Verified Voting. Both Hursti and Stark used to be part of the advisory board for Verified Voting, but Stark resigned in 2019 over VV’s push for machine voting with Ballot-Marked Devices, and VV’s using his risk-limited audit method to validate the results.

Stark and other critics say that the cards produced by a so-called ballot-marking device (BMD) may not be accurate because potentially insecure software sits between a voter’s fingers and the printout. Thus, Stark contends that his audit tool cannot assess if the reported result is correct.

Fair enough. So, why did Stark choose to work with one of the heads of this organization if he feels their methodology is suspect? Inquiring minds would really like to know.

The same with Hursti, who also was a part of this organization, and resigned with similar concerns.

The story behind how these three handled the NH audit raises more questions. As researched by Uncover DC and RedState here and here, Stark and Lindeman all but disappeared in the last days of that audit, and Hursti worked alone to come to the audit’s conclusions. What were those conclusions? Even though there were some discrepancies found, and extra votes issued to the local Democrat candidate (who lost), there was no fraud or bias evidenced.

The New Hampshire grassroots who called for the audit were not happy with the way the audit was performed or about Hursti’s conclusions. It does appear more than a bit sketch; but, we have experts who performed the audit, and the experts know what is best. <insert *eyeroll* emoji>

Prof. Stark was also part of the advisory team for the machine voting system used in Los Angeles County. The machine creators, Smartmatic, refused to release their source code for scrutiny, and Stark expressed these concerns to POLITICO:

The failure to release the source code belies the county’s assurances about the system’s transparency and trustworthiness, said election security expert Philip Stark, a statistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The whole idea of building a publicly disclosed voting system was that the transparency would increase trust,” he told POLITICO. “I think the failure to disclose the source … is an inexplicable lack of transparency.”

So in March of 2020, Stark decried the lack of transparency on the part of Smartmatic in not releasing their source code, but in September of 2021, Stark is expressing concern about source code and infrastructure being released as a point of transparency in order to greater scrutinize the 2020 election results?

It makes no sense.

Stark was interviewed for the AP article, and,

likened it to the difference between a bank robber having a blueprint of a vault and having an exact replica of the vault to practice attacks.

“That’s what this is,” he said. “They basically have an exact copy of the thing they’re trying to break into.”

The SOS’s spokesperson was also interviewed by the AP, and reiterated the security measures already in place for all elections in California:

Jenna Dresner, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Shirley Weber, said the 40 counties in California using Dominion employ a different version of the election management system that meets various state-specific requirements. She outlined numerous security measures in place to protect voting systems across the state. That includes regular testing for vulnerabilities, strict controls on who has access, physical security rules and pre-election testing to ensure that no part of the system has been modified.

“California has the strictest and most comprehensive voting system testing, use, and requirements in the country, and it was designed to withstand potential threats,” Dresner said in a statement to the AP.

No doubt many of these experts, especially Prof. Stark, already knew these protocols were in effect. California is the leader of a pilot program that already uses his risk-limiting audit method in certain counties. So why the need to write this urgent letter? What exactly are these experts attempting to do?

Besides giving fodder for a Newsom lawsuit, these experts are also absolving Newsom and the SOS of any wrongdoing, should cries of fraud or tampering come from the Recall proponents. Look at all the protocols we had in place already. Look! We called for extra security through a risk-limited audit. See, there’s no dirty-dealing here!

And the beat goes on.

Here’s my recommendation to the SOS: Skip the risk-limited audit altogether and the machines, and let’s count all those mail-in ballots the old-fashioned way: by hand.

However, no union goons from SEIU should be allowed. Only private citizens who have been vetted by the Election Integrity Project of California and Fix California. These citizens should be from every party affiliation: Democrat, Republican, Independent, and No Party Preference. And video cameras and smartphone photographic documentation should be fully allowed.

We have plenty of time in 10 days to set this up; many of these people are already trained and prepared to monitor the in-person voting centers that are scheduled to open this week through the September 14 date of the Special Recall Election. So, I am quite sure they will be more than happy to take on this additional task to ensure our Recall election is secure and safe throughout the counting of every vote.

Because election integrity is so important in California. When we win this Recall election and get rid of this governor, that will become true.