Election 2020

Michigan Legislature to Convene Joint Oversight Hearing After Votes Switched from Trump to Biden

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Earlier Friday news broke that a failure to update the vote-counting software used by 48 Michigan counties allegedly produced a very significant problem in one county.

In Antrim County, 6,000 votes were switched from Republicans, including President Trump, to Democrats. The county clerk, a Democrat, caught the issue and it has been corrected in that county. Antrim County uses Dominion Voting Systems, according to WLNS.

In Oakland County, another problem temporarily toppled an incumbent Republican. County Commissioner Adam Kochenderfer narrowly lost in the initial count, only to have a problem discovered Thursday that had switched over 1,200 Republican votes to Democrat. Once the votes were properly attributed, Commissioner Kochenderfer went from loser by about 100 votes to winner by over 1,100. According to the Royal Oak Tribune, Oakland County uses election software from Hart Intercivic. Hart uses a proprietary system called Verity. Eleven Michigan counties use Hart’s systems.

It’s troubling that both counties switched Republican votes to Democrat despite apparently occurring in different underlying systems.

The Michigan Legislature late Friday announced it will be holding a joint oversight hearing to “ensure the integrity of our state elections.”

“The ongoing turmoil surrounding the recent general election underscores my fervent desire, and our state’s need, for a fair and honest result,” state Sen. Ed McBroom (R) said in a statement posted to Twitter. McBroom called for calm and for people to stop spreading doubt, and also stated that “ignoring troubling reports and dismissing out of hand anecdotal evidence that problems may exist” is unacceptable.

In 2019, the AP reported that voting systems in several states were nearing end-of-life for their operating systems, which would leave them vulnerable to manipulation if not addressed. Several swing states including Michigan were among those states named in the report.

The AP surveyed all 50 states, the District of Columbia and territories, and found multiple battleground states affected by the end of Windows 7 support, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina. Also affected are Michigan, which recently acquired a new system, and Georgia, which will announce its new system soon.

States or the counties that own the systems would have to pay large fees to stay updated and protected against hacking, according to the report.

The election technology industry is dominated by three titans : Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software LLC; Denver, Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems Inc.; and Austin, Texas-based Hart InterCivic Inc. They make up about 92% of election systems used nationwide, according to a 2017 study . All three have worked to win over states newly infused with federal funds and eager for an update.

Systems manufactured by two of the three — Dominion and Hart — reportedly glitched in Antrim and Oakland Counties, respectively, both handing Republican votes to Democrats.

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