McCarthy Misses the Point in the Michigan Election Audit

I have admired Andrew McCarthy since I was a diplomat in the Middle East, and he filed the indictment against Sheikh Omar for the 1994 bombing of the World Trade Center. He has been right, and courageous, about many things in the years since then. But he is wrong about the massive election fraud in November, and especially about the Allied Security Operations Group report signed by Russ Ramsland that focuses on the role of the Dominion Voting Systems machines in Antrim County, Michigan.

In “A Whopper of An Election Rigging Claim,” McCarthy clarifies the misunderstanding about the reported 68 percent error rate. But he goes on to accuse Ramsland, wrongly, of many other errors. It seems as though McCarthy is basing his criticism on reporting in the Detroit Free Press, and he fails to understand several important matters. Let me point them out in no particular order.

Error Rates

McCarthy clarifies that the “68 percent error rate” means 68 percent of events in the log are reports of errors. It does not mean that 68 percent of the votes were put in an error category, and then adjudicated. The ASOG report, however, never made the erroneous claim: it was a misinterpretation that went viral.

I reached out to Ramsland and asked him to comment on the reported error rates. 

“We simply reported the facts that of approximately 15,000 lines of event reports, approximately 68 percent of them are reported errors and this is not acceptable,” Ramsland told me. “It does not mean that 68 percent of the votes are incorrect. There could be one to even as many as four errors reported in connection with every vote that goes to adjudication.”

“But if even four errors correspond to every vote going to adjudication, this has 17 percent of the votes going into a bucket where the operator or the machine itself gets to decide how that ballot is to be voted,” he added. “That’s ridiculous.” 

Ramsland pointed to online videos showing how votes can be tampered with in adjudication. “According to Dominion’s own Democracy Suite User Manual in section 8, the vote at adjudication can even be exported to a remote location, downloaded there into an Excel spreadsheet, voted en masse, and then re-uploaded,” he explained.

No Bipartisan Review of Paper Ballots

McCarthy says the paper ballots in Antrim County have been subject to bipartisan review. Not true. They’ve been locked away since Election Day, except in one small township where ballots were unlocked for a short time on November 6. That was not a bipartisan review, it was just a re-feeding of the ballots into the same machine. 

There was no hand review even of those ballots, bipartisan or otherwise. But the vote discrepancies in the retabulation gave rise to a lawsuit by William Bailey, a realtor and county planning commissioner. McCarthy mentions a discrepancy of one vote in a marijuana initiative (still important because it was the difference between the initiative failing and passing), but he completely ignores much larger discrepancies.

Examination of the tabulation tapes revealed transfers of around 600 votes from one candidate to another between the first vote and the recount in some local races that had only a few hundred voters. 

That wild inaccuracy and similar one in a different Antrim County township provided the evidence that prompted Judge Kevin Elsenheimer to order the forensic audit of all Antrim County voting machines. McCarthy has completely ignored the meat of the problem with the voting machines.

Ramsland highlighted the problem with the hand count. 

“If one were to do a real hand audit, it would start with a scan of the paper ballots to find which ones are real, and which ones are fake,” he said. “Non-official paper and/or ballots that were marked using the same commercial inks that printed them would be found used in this election. Mail-in ballots that were inadequately creased, or missing from the postal and/or printing company records, would be found and discarded as fakes as well. And only then could someone sit down and hand count the actual real ballots and compare them to the results.” 

Ramsland noted how some of the error messages were for “wrong sized paper used for the ballot and incorrect formatting of paper ballots. Why would this occur in such volume?”

The Odd Behavior of the County Clerk

Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy is acting like someone with something to hide. I don’t know why. But she resisted repeated requests for forensic audits of the faulty tabulation machines. 

The forensic audit had to be ordered by a judge. Why would Guy prefer to accept that a human error, presumably hers, was responsible for the wild discrepancies in voting tabulation results rather than prove it was machine error? And why did her deputy resign the moment the investigation started?

And why didn’t McCarthy ask these questions?

The Infamous Mixup of Michigan and Minnesota Counties

McCarthy scorns Ramsland’s error in an earlier report, confusing counties in Michigan with counties in Minnesota and other errors of turnout comparison with registration. Yet, given the obvious qualifications of Ramsland and his team, those errors are easily explainable. Voter registration and turnout statistics are sometimes available on a statewide basis, others require looking up by county, others by ZIP code.

Adding results for registration and turnout from a patchwork of nine-digit ZIP codes, counties, and cities, opens the door to simple error, especially when done at 3 or 4 a.m. This error was corrected immediately once it was identified. The turnout numbers in many Michigan precincts were still suspiciously high, however, and should give rise to investigation.

Qualifications of ASOG

McCarthy focuses on Ramsland’s qualifications, ignoring Ramsland’s own statement that he is the spokesman and administrator for a group of top-notch cybersecurity experts, including white-hat hackers. Quoting from the second paragraph of the ASOG report:

I am part of the management team of Allied Security Operations Group, LLC, (ASOG). ASOG is a group of globally engaged professionals who come from various disciplines to include the Department of Defense, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, and the Central Intelligence Agency. It provides a range of security services, but has a particular emphasis on cybersecurity, open-source investigation, and penetration testing of networks. We employ a wide variety of cyber and cyber forensic analysts. We have patents pending in a variety of applications from novel network security applications to SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) protection and safe browsing solutions for the dark and deep web. For this report, I have relied on these experts and resources.

Why the Fear of a Forensic Audit?

There’s a very easy way to resolve all of this. It’s what all of the Trump and Republican lawsuits have been requesting since November 4. We need full forensic audits of all the machines used in the six metropolitan areas where counting was stopped and ballots were dumped. We also need a full bipartisan examination of the paper ballots and machine reports of those votes. 

Every American should want to know that our voting system is secure. But the Democrats, the elected officials who approved the voting machine contracts and who conducted the questionable ballot counts, and the owners of Dominion voting systems and other voting machines have fought furiously to prevent it. 

“What are they so afraid of?” Ramsland asked. ”What is this fanatical effort to avoid real audit or transparency?”

 We would never allow a publicly traded security to go without a third-party audit, substituting that with a ‘trust us, these are the numbers’ approach,” he added. “Why are we to accept this in our most sacred right to vote and have it recorded accurately? And clearly, the public is now awakening to the fact the voting system, and the people in charge of safeguarding it, cannot be trusted without audit and transparency.”

Why won’t Democrats just allow audits? You would think it’s in their collective interest to prove that their hands are clean and that the elections were clean. You would think that they would want an investigation because it would exonerate them. But they don’t. What are they hiding?

And why have the media neglected to ask these questions?

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About Bart Marcois

Bart Marcois was the principal deputy assistant secretary of energy for international affairs during the George W. Bush administration. Marcois also served as a career foreign service officer with the State Department.

Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images