Redactions. Elections. Obfuscation.


I was trolling through the NC state board of elections web site — at the encouragement of a well-placed friend, of course — and came across this information. 

At the bottom of the linked page, you will see a table with the title:  “Certification Status: Voting Systems.”   Three suppliers of election equipment are listed (with documentation):  Hart,  ES&S,  and Clear Ballot.  The products of these three companies — according to the state website — are approved for use in North Carolina elections.  (According to the web site, only Hart and ES&S products were used during the 2020 voting in North Carolina.)


If you look again at the table at the bottom of the page — and click on the “product overview” link — you may notice something interesting in the linked files.  First,  Clear Ballot’s product overview   is only 19 pages long and contains NO REDACTIONS.

Second,  Hart’s product overview contains only eight pages and has NO REDACTIONS.

And now for the interesting part.  ES&S submitted a product overview that is 99 pages long.  The overview IS prefaced with THIS warning:

The troubling part about ES&S’s submission?  A good chunk of its review features redacted full or partial pages. If you review the ES&S document, you’ll see this on the following pages: 5-6, 15-25, 35-57, 63, 65-69, 71-78,80-85, 87-92, and 94-99.   By my count, that’s 47 out of 99 pages either partially or fully redacted.  

How is it that the other two companies were able to submit satisfactory reports with significantly fewer pages and NO REDACTIONS?   Hart got work from the NCSBE without ANY redactions.   Who specifically did the redactions on the ES&S documents, and why? What’s being hidden from us AND our legislators on those 47 pages?

A 2019 NBC News report explored concerns about the possible use of Chinese-produced  components in the production of ES&S products.  Given the shaky status of our relationship with China,  that could be cause for worry.

An April 12 report by the Raleigh-based Voter Integrity Project stated that modems were found embedded in ES&S-produced voting machines in Michigan. That got VIP and state Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow) asking NC state board of elections executive director Karen Brinson Bell some tough questions about modems and North Carolina’s voting machines. 

In case you didn’t know, modems can make it rather easy for an outsider to tap into that modem remotely and access anything connected to said modem.

Republicans on Jones Street sure are dragging their feet on election reform — all while stuff like THIS goes on unabated.  This looks like something that ought to draw a little more interest or concern from the people’s representatives.