A Gwinnett County, Georgia elections official confirmed that Dominion Voting Systems (Dominion) representatives use USB drives to upload vote count data to laptops for external processing. The USB drives are also known as “memory sticks,” “thumb drives,” or “flash drives.” It is standard protocol for Dominion, as well as for most electronic voting systems.
The county official issued the statement in an emailed response to a viral video claiming that a Dominion representative manipulated vote data. In the film, a Dominion technician appears to load vote count data from county monitors onto a USB. Then, he proceeded to plug the USB into a separate laptop.
“To clarify, the USB drive was not inserted into a scanner, the scanners are connected to the server through cables. This would be a Dominion tech producing a data report on the server and saving the report to a Dominion USB thumb drive and then using a laptop to filter requested information,” the company said. “The Dominion servers are not equipped with Excel and counties are not authorized to install any hardware or software on these systems[.]”
Past examinations of USB drives have revealed that they are vulnerable to malware and hacking, connectable to wireless networks, and accessible to the web. Each county is responsible for providing their own USB drives, according to the secretary of state’s office. The secretary of state’s office also maintained that the USB drive is a safety feature – it is unclear what processes the counties undertake to secure these USBs.
Additionally, the secretary of state’s office asserted that the entire election process is auditable through its paper trail, and that tabulation records aren’t based solely on software.
Former 8kun administrator Ron Watkins shared the county’s response to the video on his Twitter page. 8kun, previously called 8chan, is a website that hosts user-created message boards with minimal administrative interference for content – similarly to Reddit. 8chan has become recently associated as the origins of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Watkins questioned the necessity of a vulnerable method of transferring vote data.
“BOOM!!!! Gwinnett County Official admits to taking data from the Election Management System, plugging it into a laptop, then filtering it with excel [sic]. This circumvents the rules that external software isn’t allowed on election machines,” wrote Watkins. “Can someone explain why Gwinnett County is filtering election results from the airgapped [sic] Election Management System by transferring results with USB & utilizing an external laptop setup running an online version of Excel and an internet connection with remote viewing enabled?”
Air-gapped refers to controlled systems not accessible to outside connections. Another whistleblowers claimed confirmation of Watkin’s claims through pictures that the video in the laptop ran an online version of Excel with an internet connection with remote viewing enabled. The pictured laptop presented a webpage of an Excel spreadsheet labeled as a copy of a ballot manifest.
In September, a laptop and several USB drives were stolen from Philadelphia’s city warehouse. Officials later stated that the theft wasn’t motivated by the presidential election – rather, it was an “attempted property offense.” Following the theft, an investigative reporter entered the warehouse, revealing the ease of gaining access to the election equipment.
Philadelphia elections relied on Elections Systems and Software LLC (ES&S), a system that also uses USB drives and laptops to transmit vote data.
In the second of two press conferences on Tuesday, Voting Systems Manager Gabriel Sterling stated that the man depicted in the video has since received death threats and accusations of committing treason. Sterling asserted that he was doing his job as assigned.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asserted during another press conference Wednesday that there exists no widespread evidence of voter fraud. He also stated that Democratic candidate Joe Biden is President-elect.
Dominion published a statement that they wouldn’t comment further about their personnel out of safety concerns. They categorically denied all accusations of vote switching, vote deletion, hacks, software updates, and glitches.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Dominion Voter Fraud Allegation” by Neon Revolt.