North Carolina’s State Board of Elections Executive Director Lauren Brinson Bell has found herself at the center of a problem she never would have guessed just a few years ago. The state’s House Freedom Caucus has been waging a battle to inspect the voting machines for “possible irregularities.”
Chair of the Freedom Caucus Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort) spoke at a press conference on July 15, according to his Facebook page. The Carolina Journal reported that he said:
‘What we actually seek to show the public is that the equipment in North Carolina is not a problem. We seek transparency in the election process. The Freedom Caucus believes that every legal vote should be counted but not a single illegal vote should be counted.’
The 25-member caucus has wanted to do random checks on the voting machines looking for modems that could be tampered with remotely.
Brinson Bell told The Beaufort Republican “no.” Her staff contacted every county board of elections excluding Freedom Caucus members. They were checking to see whether inspecting voting equipment had been compromised:
‘The State Board has received no credible evidence that the certified results are not accurate, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have stated that the 2020 general election in North Carolina was conducted fairly. We will not allow misinformation about voting systems or any other aspect of elections to dictate our priorities in administering elections.’
‘The request for inspection of field systems was to show the public that our State Board of Elections had cooperated with the Freedom Caucus and had nothing to hide. Now we have been denied access to these systems, and a wall with a threat of lawyers has been placed in our way by.’
Kidwell claimed that he would have the machines inspected. He was adamant. Then, he referred to loosely held statutes that directed state agencies and departments to provide:
‘[A]ll information and all data within their possession, or ascertainable from their records’
The Chair of the Freedom Caucus indicated that ES&S manufactured the majority of North Carolina’s voting machines and had cooperated with them:
‘When we started this project, we were impressed by the cooperation of the State Board of Elections and its staff. Now, we’ve hit a wall. That wall they are seemingly hiding behind. Ms. Bell, tear down that wall — unless you have something to hide.’
Spokesman for the Board of Elections, Noah Grant, sent the Carolina Journal an email that read in part:
‘Election officials across North Carolina have full confidence in the election systems used in this state, and full confidence in the 2020 general election results. A series of audits and a statewide recount after the election confirmed the totals.’
‘There is no evidence that the certified results are not accurate, and election officials from both sides of the aisle have stated that North Carolina’s election was conducted fairly.’
Director for the Civitas Center for Public Integrity Dr. Andy Jackson said that the legislators had oversight of the state entities. That included the Board of Elections:
‘Brinson Bell’s letter states concern about ‘unknown, unauthorized, or inexpert actors’ having access to election equipment.’
‘Legislation are certainly not ‘unknown’ or ‘unauthorized.’ If her concern is protecting voting equipment, Brinson Bell shouldn’t obfuscate. Instead, the State Board could allow handling of election equipment to be done by state or county election officials while legislators observe and ask questions. Cooler heads should prevail so that we can have legislative oversight without compromising election security.’
Legislators have several election integrity bills in the works, The Carolina Coast Online reported.
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.