Elections in Dallas County, Texas are once again the subject of scrutiny as another E-pollbook error has captured attention.

A video reveals that the incident recurred in Dallas County. As polls were preparing to close on November 7, 2023, poll workers observed their ES&S ExpressPoll E-Pollbooks exhibiting nearly the same behavior as in 2022: hundreds of ballots were added within fifteen to twenty minutes as the polls were preparing to close.

Just watch what happens:

The poll book featured in the video was intended to contain 182 voters; nevertheless, the machine began to arbitrarily add an increasing number of voters until it displayed “1,377 voters checked in,” which is 1,195 voters in excess of what should have been displayed.

Additionally, the Dallas County GOP documented “extensive issues with the internet connectivity of the electronic pollbooks…from the start of early voting on the first day, 20-30% of the polling centers were offline for a duration ranging from two hours to half a day.” They claimed that “many polling centers reported that the electronic pollbooks were offline” on Election Day, with one location remaining offline until mid-afternoon.

On Tuesday, electronic pollbooks reportedly failed at several polling locations throughout Dallas County, according to the Dallas Express.

Jennifer Stoddard-Hajdu, chair of the Dallas Republican Party, discussed the incident with The Dallas Express, noting that election workers have been unable to check in electors.

This issue, according to her, permits voters to cast ballots at multiple locations across the county. She asserts that 26 pollbooks were impacted, with some remaining inactive for the duration of the day.

Stoddard-Hajdu told The Dallas Express the issue has “been going on all throughout early voting.”

Election officials allegedly told her that faulty equipment was to blame. As reported by the Dallas Express, “The pollbooks in question were provided by the Omaha-based commercial tech firm Election Systems & Software.”

“What I’ve been told by the elections administrator is that he thinks the problem is that they’ve got really old equipment and it needs to be updated,” Stoddard-Hajdu told The Dallas Express.

A polling location in Dallas County in November 2022 initiated the random incremental addition of voters’ names on the ES&S ExpressPoll pollbooks.

A voter at one polling location indicated “voted” on one pollbook and “eligible” on the adjacent pollbook.

Lead Stories cites the following from the Dallas County “Rumor Control” page in an attempt to downplay any scrutiny of the election polls:

“During the voting period, a qualified voter is accepted for voting at the e-pollbook and the transaction is recorded locally on the e-pollbook. The transaction is also uploaded to a central server hosted by ES&S through an encrypted connection. The central server receives the information, updates the database, and then allows all the other e-pollbooks in the system to download the transaction.

On Election Day, Dallas County processed over 200,000 voters on the e-pollbooks, which uploaded the transactions to the central server in a timely fashion. However, Dallas County noticed that there appeared to be some delay in the downloading of those transactions to the other e-pollbooks.

Once the polls closed at 7 pm on Election Day, the upload traffic on the network decreased and, as a result, the downloads appeared to have sped up significantly. Poll workers at many locations noticed the increased speed and continued downloads on their e-pollbooks after the close of the polls and reported those transactions to Dallas County and other entities.”

LeadStories “fact-checked” the system as “state-certified” in that “fact-check”; however, the Texas Secretary of State website did not list any current certifications for the ES&S E-Pollbooks as of the 2022 election. The Wayback Machine indicates that the last update occurred in January 2023, which is accompanied by a certification date of May 31, 2022.

They then cite ES&S’s then-senior manager of public relations Katina Granger as saying the following:

“During Election Day, any activity on the pollbook – including the check-in of a voter – is recorded as a transaction. These transactions are regularly synced through the day with the central database – with each pollbook uploading and downloading transactions. In locations where connectivity is slow or when there is a high amount of volume being shared by the secure network, these transactions may see delays uploading, downloading, and syncing. As connections improve or network volume eases, the pollbooks upload and download transactions which may have been previously delayed – updating data across all pollbooks. This transactional data may continue to update even after the close of polls, as long as pollbooks are connected to the central server, until all data is accurately reflected on each pollbook.”

Lastly, Lead Stories was informed by Sam Taylor, assistant secretary of state for communications for the Texas Secretary of State:

“Generally speaking, ePollbooks are required to communicate with each other and update in real time throughout the county, showing who has checked in at other polling places so that no voter can try to cast a ballot twice.”

This is how the system is supposed to work: A qualified citizen submits a vote, it is responsible for updating the central server, establishing communication with all other E-Pollbooks, and verifying that a voter who logs in has not previously done so at another location.

Moreover, the justification that their delays are due to “sluggish connectivity” in their locations is implausible, given that these devices are “critical infrastructure” and require priority internet access via CradlePoint and FirstNet.

Generally, poll workers maintain a physical copy of the electors they register on paper as a precautionary measure against potential damage to the internet-connected devices. A paper backup would be pointless if the E-Pollbook at a particular polling station reflected every voter in Dallas County, or even in that precinct. The paper backup would indicate that 182 voters had signed in at that station, whereas the E-Pollbook would reflect approximately 200,000 for the entire county or the entirety of the E-Pollbooks for that specific precinct.

The Dallas County GOP gave its report on what allegedly happened at the polls:

Here we go again . . .   You may recall my December 9, 2022, blog titled “It Is Time to Get Rid of Black Box Voting” (click to read). You may also recall the issues we had on the November 8, 2022, Election Day voting with the E-Pollbooks surging at the close of the voting polls – far in excess of the number of voters who checked in at the locations.  History is repeating itself.  During this Constitutional Election on November 7, 2023, we experienced widespread problems with the E-Pollbooks’ connectivity to the internet.  The E-Pollbooks require a network connection to keep them all synchronized for county-wide voting. It began the first day of early voting with 20-30% of the Voting Centers being offline for anywhere from two hours to half a day.  The issues continued on Election Day with many Voting Centers reporting that the E-Pollbooks were offline. In fact, University Park United Methodist was offline until mid-afternoon. During the outages, the Voting Centers continued to check voters in and give them ballots. None of us want E-Pollbooks connected to the Internet, so why do we care if the E-Pollbooks are offline?  Because it could enable a voter to vote multiple times.  In county-wide voting, if a voter checks into an E-Pollbook when it is offline, the other E-Pollbooks throughout the County do not have a record of the check-in and that a ballot was issued, so if the voter checked into a different location, he or she would be allowed to vote even though he or she had already voted.  Then, because of the sanctity of the secret ballot process, how does one remove that illegal second ballot from the pool and the count once cast in this situation? See the danger?

In fact, we had multiple locations on Election Day that had multiple E-Pollbooks that were not synchronizing with each other in the same Voting Center.  One E-Pollbook in a voting center showed Voter A as “Voted” and the E-Pollbook sitting right next to it showed Voter A as “Eligible.”  This is obviously unacceptable.  We requested an explanation from the Elections Department.  Here we go again … “the Cradlepoint (a brand name) cellular modems are old” or “the Cradlepoint cellular modems are not compatible with our 5G system.”  This is an excuse that some are questioning.

Like last year, we are again offered excuses, but there is no excuse. Excuses do not remove the danger to election integrity.

The Preliminary Election Reconciliation audit tape run and posted publicly after the preliminary election results were initially counted reflected the problem.  The audit showed 3,076 more ballots cast than checked-in voters were reported by the E-Pollbooks!  In section four of the Preliminary Election Reconciliation, the report notes: “Discrepancy attributed to E-Pollbooks not synching, to be resolved during the canvass.” Again, unacceptable.  We should not have to wait or need to rely on a reconciliation days after Election Day to find out the number of people who voted and the number of ballots cast. Both numbers should match!


Plus, the story gets worse.

In November 2022, my election integrity team and I learned that the E-Pollbooks are connected to a server that is managed by our elections vendor, Election Systems & Software – aka “ES&S,” not Dallas County or the Elections Department.  While I understand that there are logistical issues to the Elections Department or even the County hosting its own election server or even its own cloud-based server instance, those issues do not outweigh the serious lack of transparency that is clearly created by a third-party, for-profit corporate entity being so deeply involved in our elections! 

How can we rid ourselves of E-Pollbooks and a third party being involved in our elections? We must end county-wide voting and go back to regionally combined precinct voting.  I believe abolishing the E-Pollbook system is the first step to hand counting paper ballots in regional precinct centers again.  But, to do that, we must change the State laws because our Dallas County Commissioner’s Court will never agree to end county-wide voting.   What am I doing about it? Everything I can.  I gave an interview to The Dallas Express calling out the unreliability of the E-Pollbook system. I have asked all poll workers who experienced connectivity issues to draft and sign an affidavit to that effect.  I have reached out to the Secretary of State’s office.  I am working with RPT election integrity officials.  I am coordinating with many of our strong election integrity groups in Dallas County and around the State.  And, I am working directly with our State Senators to try to get the lawmakers and the Secretary of State’s attention. I have testified in Austin about the evils of county-wide voting in the past and welcome the opportunity to do so again.  What can you do?  You can contact your State Representative and State Senator and demand that they address this issue. One thing I know from working with our lawmakers is that there truly is strength in numbers.  If we bombard their offices with emails and phone calls about the E-Pollbooks, they will listen.  This is the second election in less than a year where we have experienced serious E-Pollbook issues.  We need to strike while the iron is hot.  Please do your part.  Call your legislators.   

Postscript: This blog posting is just a quick beginning of a much deeper story that will grow over the next weeks. These are complex issues operationally, technically, economically, legally, and politically. Also, we are still investigating the facts about “what happened and why” and gathering more data that we can use to make our case. This will take several weeks BUT we are working on it already! Also, fixing the problem will require an equally VERY COMPLEX solution. There is no simple silver bullet to fix all the problems. To fully surface all the problems, the facts, and a roadmap to getting rid of black box voting, we’re going to write a series of blog postings over the next weeks. This is only Part 1, but additional episodes will be forthcoming on a weekly basis. Part 2 of this series will be published next Friday and will continue every Friday until we fully cover the complete story and get an executable fix started.

I have been assured that I will have a meeting with the Secretary of State and personnel from the Attorney General’s office very soon.  I will let you know what comes of those meetings as soon as possible.

A full audit of all the voting machines and E-Pollbooks is an imperative ahead of the 2024 election. No voter wants a repeat of the highly fractious 2020 elections.


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