Election Truthers Are Spilling Sensitive Data Everywhere, And They’re Not Sorry

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 1: The optical scanning machine at the Millwood High School Field House on Super Tuesday March 1, 2016 in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma voters head to the polls for the 2016 Presidential Primary.... OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 1: The optical scanning machine at the Millwood High School Field House on Super Tuesday March 1, 2016 in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma voters head to the polls for the 2016 Presidential Primary. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 1, 2021 6:09 p.m.

In May, a federal judge dismissed a Trumpy lawsuit over the 2020 election results in Antrim County, Michigan, where a clerk’s error had briefly resulted in a miscount of the vote. “Expert” witnesses in the suit had seized on the discrepancy, which they claimed was the result of Dominion voting machine technology “purposefully designed” to tamper with vote totals.

Crucially, while the judge had decided to allow the plaintiffs to make and analyze digital copies of the county’s election equipment, that material was put under a protective order — sealed behind a judicial decree, away from the public’s eyes. 

That is, until last month. 

The data surfaced at pillow magnate Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium,” where some attendees were shown the digital image of the Antrim machines. 

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Not everyone took organizers up on the offer. “I said, ‘I haven’t seen the Antrim image because I didn’t sign a protective court order to obtain a copy of the image, but I bet they have stolen court evidence here,’” recalled Harri Hursti, a cybersecurity expert who focuses on voting equipment, and who attended the event. 

Hursti opted not to evaluate the Antrim County image itself, but he did take a look at what’s known as “metadata” — logistical details including when the image was made, and by whom. It lined up, Hursti said, with the document that ought to be under seal: Created Dec. 6 by Greg Freemyer, one of several people listed in the Antrim lawsuit, in Freemyer’s case for his digital forensic imaging expertise. 

The apparent leak of a sensitive digital image from Antrim County is just one of a wave of such leaks in recent weeks, as Trump supporters intent on proving that the 2020 election was stolen have increasingly taken things into their own hands. 

The clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado is now under investigation for another leak — in this case, of her own machines’ software. Clerk Tina Peters has acknowledged taking digital images both before and after a recent software update, carried out in person by employees from her office, the Colorado secretary of state’s office as well as Dominion. But Peters hasn’t been able to explain how those images ended up online — and shown to members of Lindell’s symposium, which Peters attended.

The Colorado secretary of state’s office says an “unauthorized individual” was in the room when the software update happened, aided by staffers from Peters’ office. 

The true believers in Trumpland haven’t tried to hide their enthusiasm.

“This is going to be like a training book on how to look at server logs,” Phil Waldron, one of the speakers at Lindell’s symposium and one of the “expert witnesses” in the Antrim County case, said after noting that people in the cybersecurity-focused breakout rooms at the symposium were getting access to the Antrim County and Mesa County data.

Another speaker at the symposium, Doug Frank, hinted separately at the Mesa County information by referring to “sympathetic clerks” around the country who’d enabled “full forensic imaging” of election machines. 

The staffers in Peters’ office, accused by the state of facilitating a serious leak, have nonetheless continued to rally in support of her in recent days as she remains out of the public eye, as has Sherronna Bishop, an ally of Peters’ who was on stage with her at Lindell’s symposium, and who previously served as Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) campaign manager.

At a public meeting Wednesday, Bishop denied personally sharing any passwords to county election equipment, then went on the offensive.

“This is appalling to see the script being flipped on citizens, and on a duly-elected clerk and recorder who was investigating on behalf of her people, and it was not criminal what she did,” Bishop said. 

“You may not like how everything has played out now, that’s fine, but there’s no criminality here, except for Dominion voting machines — at least a suspicion of — and the secretary of state and her actions.” 

Later, someone pointed out that surveillance cameras in Peters’ office had been turned off just before the digital images were captured.

“That does not mean that she’s guilty of anything,” Bishop insisted. 

She urged those in attendance to see the light — soon. 

“We’ve shown you the insecurities of the machine and, obviously, more is going to come out as they’re going through those images.”

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