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Michigan warns voters about 'group' involved in Antrim County audit of Dominion machines

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 12/9/2020 Daniel Chaitin
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Michigan officials are warning of a disinformation campaign surrounding the use of Dominion voting equipment in a small northern county that has become the subject of national attention.

With President Trump's legal team drawing attention to a weekend forensic audit in Antrim County, which stems from a lawsuit focused on a marijuana proposal and not the presidential contest, the Michigan Department of State issued a statement saying the group that conducted the analysis seeks only to discredit the integrity of the election, which has been defended by state and federal elections officials alike.

“It is disappointing, though not surprising, that the primary goal of this group is to continue spreading false information designed to erode the public’s confidence in the election. By doing so they injure our democracy and dishonor the 5.5. million Michigan citizens who cast ballots,” Michigan Department of State spokesman Jake Rollow said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner.

A judge ordered that Central Lake Township resident William Bailey, who is challenging a local marijuana retailer proposal that passed by a slim margin following a retabulation that didn't factor in three damaged ballots, be allowed to take "forensic images" of 22 tabulators. The forensic audit took place on Sunday, and Antrim County Deputy Administrator and Spokesman Jeremy Scott said several members of the Allied Security Operations Group, a cybersecurity firm that has assisted the Trump legal effort, were present.

The Washington Examiner left a voicemail and emailed the Allied Security Operations Group, but did not immediately receive a response.

The statement from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's office urged voters to be wary of a "misinformation campaign" and said "individuals with no apparent technical expertise in election technology" were permitted to gather images of Dominion voting equipment in Antrim County. The statement did not specify who comprises the group but did say its members "have previously made false statements, shared fake documents and made baseless claims about the election that have been widely debunked and rejected in multiple courts."

Rudy Giuliani, who is leading the Trump legal fight, said Dec. 4 that it was a "big win" when the judge issued the order.

"This is really important ... because we have an independent team that is there that has gotten all of this imaging, and they spent about eight hours yesterday doing that forensic audit. We anticipate having the results by tomorrow," Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser for the Trump 2020 campaign and an attorney to Trump, told Fox Business on Monday.

"This is incredibly important to the election integrity effort as a whole because this isn't just the Trump campaign that's interested in having answers to these machines," Ellis said on Monday. "Were they connected to Wi-Fi? Why did these so-called glitches happen? What really is the system that is behind all of this?"

As of press time, there has been no update as touted by Ellis. But the Washington Examiner obtained an email sent on Tuesday to Bailey's lawyers from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office saying Benson is "considering intervening in this case as a party defendant," raising concerns about "security issues" and "legal questions" regarding audits.

The information gathered in the audit is subject to a court-issued protective order, but the email from the attorney general's team mentioned that the secretary of state was concerned about there being a "lack of a comprehensive protective order in this case."

Matthew DePerno, a Michigan attorney representing Bailey, did not return the Washington Examiner's request for comment on whether he would approve of the intervention. However, DePerno did talk to Gateway Pundit, a far-right news website, which published a report on Tuesday with a "Behind the Scenes Update on the IT Inspection of the Antrim County Dominion Machines." The report said DePerno has been reaching out to Michigan state lawmakers to discuss Dominion voting machines, but have yet to return his calls.

Antrim drew national headlines a couple weeks ago after votes were found to be incorrectly counted in unofficial results in the Republican-leaning county. Officials found it was human error, in particular a failure to update software, that resulted in 6,000 votes erroneously being tabulated for President-elect Joe Biden rather than Trump.

Dominion Voting Systems, whose machines were used in Antrim and in other places across the country, has been the target of claims by Trump and his allies about being involved in a massive voter fraud scheme, but the company has vociferously denied the claims, billing them as being part of a "disinformation" effort.

Trump refuses to concede the race to Biden. He needs multiple states to flip if his long-shot bid of overturning the election in his favor becomes a reality, but so far Trump's and his allies' efforts to challenge the results on allegations of widespread voter fraud and other irregularities have not borne out in court nor has any state legislature selected their own slates of presidential electors. Top officials and agencies in Trump's own government have also said they have not seen proof to back up the president's claims of a "rigged" election.

"As Attorney General William Barr, the FBI and CISA have found that this was the most secure election in our nation’s history and despite unprecedented scrutiny there has been no evidence of widespread fraud identified whatsoever," Rollow said.

Tags: News, Michigan, Election Lawsuits, 2020 Elections, Campaign 2020

Original Author: Daniel Chaitin

Original Location: Michigan warns voters about 'group' involved in Antrim County audit of Dominion machines

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