Did Artificial Intelligence Alter Colorado's 2020 Election?
We now know that AI was used in Arizona's ballot counting systems. Database experts have documented that Colorado votes were manipulated with an algorithm that carries hallmarks of AI.
Colorado's top election officials and political leaders are awfully quiet these days after two computer science experts recently demonstrated evidence of vote manipulation in the election databases of Mesa County and Grand Junction in the state's 2020 and 2021 elections.
In the case of the Colorado databases, the outcome is akin to a business keeping a second set of "books" — only these were votes and an "adjudication" file, where ballots that the machine can’t read are parked for a human to decide the voter's intent.
The March 19 report by database expert Jeff O'Donnell, and Prof. Walter Daugherity, who teaches computer science at Texas A&M, documents how the database enabled “potentially unauthorized and illegal manipulation of tabulated vote data during the 2020 General Election and 2021 Grand Junction Municipal Election."
As a result of their six-month review of the forensic copies of the database, the "totals for those elections are impossible to verify," and call into question "the results and integrity of Mesa County’s 2020 General Election and the 2021 Grand Junction Municipal Election."
The review documents a digital reloading of 20,346 ballot records into the new election databases. A time stamp shows that thousands upon thousands of those votes were copied within seconds. It would have taken more than mere seconds to re-align hand-scanned ballots in the system (rough estimate: 5 seconds each).
Not all of the ballot records from the batch were copied over. Over 5,000 were left out.
The findings carry hallmarks of AI techniques, whereby a "trained" algorithm pursues outcomes such as parsing out votes and creating a new vote database, amid the votes coming into the system. The discovery evokes concepts behind "Machine Learning," one of the core principles in the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data.
The findings practically beg the question: Did Artificial Intelligence alter votes in the two Colorado vote databases? If so, the revelation raises major ethical questions, and would be one more bill of indictment against Big Tech's role in the 2020 election – from censoring information about the Biden family's business dealings that go straight to the public trust, to Mark Zuckerberg shoveling over $400 million into the election to influence and even take over the actual counting of ballots.
The election software vendor Dominion did not respond to extensive queries about whether machine learning techniques are at play in its code base and whether it would open it up for review.
The question has become even more relevant amid an ongoing criminal investigation of Arizona's 2020 election in Maricopa County following its forensic audit.
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich has said in media interviews that attorneys representing county election officials have, for the first time, admitted they used AI to check absentee ballots for signatures. This raises ethical questions as well as legal ones. The forensic review shows that workers were feeding the ballots into scanners without checking the signatures late into the night on Nov. 3rd.
Now we’re told they used AI?
Out of 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona’s Maricopa County, in what is considered the most extensive election audit in American history, two of the four firms found some 20,000 ballots did not have proper signatures in a state that Joe Biden won by just over 10,000 votes. AG Brnovich's letter also notes that over 200,000 ballots were counted with zero chain of custody. Did they come from a ballot trafficking operation?
Maricopa County also uses Dominion software in its election network. Dominion refused to cooperate with subpoenas as part of the forensic audit.
Brnovich's April 6th letter to Senate President Karen Fann says the AG's investigation is pursuing criminal charges in "various election crimes."
The investigation has "reached the conclusion that the 2020 election in Maricopa County revealed serious vulnerabilities that must be addressed and raises questions about the 2020 election in Arizona."
As to the Colorado report, whoever or whatever triggered the new voter files might have screwed up, thanks to an election clerk who noticed that ballots she had already adjudicated had appeared in an adjudication file — again.
The clerk called Dominion's software support to explain the problem. Dominion reportedly told her it "could not replicate the issue." And then, just like that, ballots that had already been processed stopped re-appearing in the adjudication files.
What's going on here? Dominion, whose U.S. headquarters are in Denver (other offices are offshore), did not respond to extensive queries about the findings.
Dominion’s installation of its "Trusted Build" update on its [election management network] began in in May of 2021. The Colorado Secretary of State ordered all counties that use the software to install the update. O'Donnell and Daugherity also note, as many other software experts did at the time, that the upgrade wiped out records of the 2020 and 2021 election.
The timing of the "Trusted Build" is notable. It was pushed out around the same time that Arizona's Senate was launching its forensic review of Maricopa County's 2020 election.
Colorado's Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, did not respond to queries about why it was so important to force all the Colorado counties that use Dominion's voting software (62 out of 64), to over-write their election logs with the "Trusted Build."
Statutes are clear about voting records: they must be preserved. For example, 52 U.S. code § 2108 requires that voting systems used in elections for federal office produce a record with an audit capacity.
It also lays out penalties for "destroying, removing, or delaying delivery of election records."
52 U.S. Code § 10307 prohibits any person acting under color of law to “...willfully fail or refuse to tabulate, count, and report...” the vote of any person entitled to vote.
The 88-page report lays out in detail how the "Trusted Build" update – a major change to the system's code and log files which traditionally should happen before, not after, elections – "destroyed all data on the EMS hard drive, including the batch and ballot records that evidenced the creation of new databases and reprocessing of ballot records."
The Colorado attorney general's office did not respond to queries about the legality of the “Trusted Build” update.
The findings call into question whether Mesa County’s Clerk, Tina Peters, should be the one facing charges of tampering with Mesa County's election files; her job is to preserve election documents, which is what she did.
Had Peters not succeeded in making a forensic copy of the Mesa County hard drive, for which she was attacked, targeted, and is now facing criminal charges, none of this would have come to light.
Griswold, a highly partisan Democrat with no prior experience in state-level election oversight before she was elected Secretary of State, has confirmed the Mesa County database Peters backed up was a perfect forensic copy. This was among the files that O'Donnell reviewed for about six months, and Prof. Daugherity then reviewed to confirm O'Donnell's findings.
What else could have sparked the vote manipulation in the database?
Another theory is that it might have been a so-called "closed loop" controller. The reviewers, and other experts looking at the files, have observed that the database carries hallmarks of a "proportional–integral–derivative" (PID) controller algorithm of the sort used to help a pilot fly though fog, or to program cruise control.
The scenario might work like this: If it looks like a selected candidate might win or lose by a chosen final percentage, the data inputs would be to keep counting votes – or inject ballots, say, from an extra database it just created.
Until experts get a look at the base code, the scenario is speculation. But the confirmed outcomes – two sets of vote "books," deserve an answer, as well as why state officials stood by while elections records were wiped out across the state.
Machine learning (ML) is considered a subset of AI.
Of all the major trends in software development today – across critical industries such as banking and finance, utilities, and defense systems, ML techniques are raising some of the loudest alarm bells among policy makers.
The simple reason is that ML techniques help software teach itself. Depending on the datasets to “train it,” the software could then do something other than what it was programmed to do, such as count paper ballots accurately.
A sub-chapter to the story of millions of American citizens getting involved with electoral integrity, who demand that elections officers and legislatures follow the law, is this: more tech experts are stepping up to monitor voting databases.
In many precincts in battleground states where the results are still in question, they have discovered management practices that are incompetent, if not sloppy by design.
In Arizona's Maricopa County, for example, county elections supervisors did not have administrative-level access to the voting database of the state's largest county. That means Dominion Voting Systems was managing the election results. The company refused to hand over system-level passwords so a forensic auditor could review the voting logs and confirm best practices were deployed.
Pennsylvania's voting database called SURE was quietly scrapped last year without much, if any, public notice. That appears to be as close an answer the public has received from Pennsylvania's Secretary of State over an estimated 100,000-vote variance in the 2020 election results, where Biden won by 80,000 votes.
In Georgia, Dominion Voting Systems software is used statewide and relies on touchscreen voting without any paper ballot to compare the results to in a full audit, which a federal judge ruled violates its statutes. The state is also now investigating a ballot trafficking operation during 2020, and reportedly received some $45 million in Zuckerberg’s grants that helped turn government offices into “get out the vote” operations — mainly benefiting Democrat precincts.
The issues O'Donnell and Daugherity document in Colorado raise questions about whether algorithms were pre-loaded, or activated, to manipulate how votes were managed in the database.
"Without both cyber and database management system expertise, and unfettered access to database records and computer log files (many of which were destroyed by the actions of the Secretary of State) from the EMS server, the manipulation would be undetectable," their report says.
The report also says the absence of secure hash algorithm (.sha) files for each digital ballot image makes the authenticity of each digital ballot image, and the ballot-level record for those ballots, impossible to verify.
"Regardless of whether the voting system was connected to an external network or device, even momentarily, or whether a pre-installed software or algorithm was triggered by an external command or complex set of variable conditions, the execution of manipulating software or algorithm could plausibly be responsible for the results described in our findings."
As a result of the "unauthorized creation of new election databases during early voting in the 2020 General Election on October 21, 2020, followed by the digital reloading of 20,346 ballot records into the new election databases," there is no way to tell "the original voter intent recorded from the ballots," the report says.
Dominion's April 4th statement and updated April 9th statement ignores these findings. It instead links to statements from Griswold and a Republican elected official who were quoted as saying Colorado’s voting system is considered the “nation’s gold standard."
Prof. Daugherity says if any students in his database course configured the database this way, they would have flunked his course.
Election-tech expert Prof. J. Alex Halderman of University of Michigan told Scientific American in 2018: “As paperless computer voting machines were being introduced, there were many computer scientists who—before anyone had even studied one of these machines directly—were saying, 'This just isn’t a good idea to have elections be conducted by, essentially, black box technology.'"
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has not confirmed whether it actually approved Dominion's base code as part of its "Logic and Accuracy" testing that goes into the certification it hands out to promote confidence in election integrity.
Big Tech's thumbs were all over the 2020 election to help the Biden campaign. Social media platforms suppressed and censored The New York Post's reporting on Hunter Biden's laptop that raised serious questions about Biden family influence peddling with Chinese and Russian government officials.
Tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg's $400 million that he donated to governments in 2020 are documented in the new movie about it (www.rigged2020.com). It shows that the funds went to 92% Democrat-heavy districts under the excuse of "Covid relief." The Republican districts that did not receive grants were, apparently, not so "Covid relief" lucky.
The Colorado report raises new questions about the whether Big Tech also had its thumbs in the code base with ML and AI to manipulate results. A full examination of the code base would answer the question.
If the algorithm was written by a very angry, Trump-hating, progressive Big Tech type of programmer opposed to President Trump’s re-election, that would describe at least one top Dominion product executive. It also raises questions about Colorado’s "Trusted Build” rollout. Dominion has refused to explain why it should be trusted.#