Voting Machines Breaches
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, at least 8 locales experienced efforts to illegally breach election equipment. Election equipment can and often does store confidential and private information. Elections offices across the country use approved, proven methods for having authorized personnel test the accuracy of their elections equipment and ensure that vote tallies are correct and accurately reported after an election.
Private citizens are not allowed to access, tamper with, or otherwise breach election equipment in the United States. It is illegal to tamper with or breach voting machine systems without proper access.
The efforts by Trump supporters to impermissibly breach these machines – including those that took place in Georgia, Michigan, and Colorado – were direct attacks on the election integrity and security of our voting systems. Criminal indictments against those who are alleged to have undertaken these crimes have already been issued in Georgia and Michigan.
The Fulton Indictment against Donald Trump and his allies includes detailed allegations that 4 of his co-defendants – Sidney Powell, Cathy Latham, Scott Hall, and Misty Howard – collaborated on a scheme to breach voting machines in Coffee County, Georgia. These individuals, along with the support of outside hired consultants, engaged in impermissible and dangerous forensic collection and analytics.
As a result of these acts, 4 of Trump’s co-defendants have been indicted with 7 separate crimes related to their efforts in Coffee County - including Racketeering under Georgia’s RICO statue, as well as conspiracy to commit election fraud, computer theft and trespass, invasion of privacy, and a conspiracy to defraud the state when they impermissibly hacked into in Coffee County, Georgia.
Evidence disclosed in the Fulton County investigation and indictment indicates that Donald Trump’s advisors held meetings in the weeks before the January 7, 2021 Coffee County, Georgia voting machine breach. In these meetings, these advisors, including Rudy Giuliani, discussed how they believed Trump would be able to seize voting machines in the weeks after the 2020 election, including in Georgia. Other Trump allies also sent text messages about attempts to gain access to voting machines in Georgia and elsewhere. Subsequently, Sidney Powell coordinated an effort in which Coffee County’s elections equipment was impermissibly accessed and imaged, including personal voter information and proprietary software.
There have been similar efforts in at least 3 other states – Colorado, Michigan, and Nevada.
Three Trump Allies – former GOP attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, attorney Stefanie Lambert, and former GOP state Representative Daire Rendon – have been indicted for tampering with election equipment in Michigan in recent weeks. In Michigan, it is a felony to take election equipment without a court order or direct permission from the Secretary of State’s office.
The Michigan Attorney General has said that they “orchestrated a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators.”
They are alleged to have taken five vote tabulators (the machines that allow ballots to be counted after a voter has indicated who they are voting for) from three different Michigan counties.
Once they removed the tabulators, the indictment states that DePerno, Lambert, and Rendon took them to a hotel room and broke into them to perform “tests” and “experiments” on them.
They also hired a private investigator and had a professional videographer film their efforts to tamper with one machine in the investigator’s personal condo.
These individuals kept the election equipment for months, taking the first pieces in March 2021 and not returning the last of it until September of that same year.
Jim Penrose, a former intelligence official and Trump Supporter, also contacted SullivanStrickler and flew to Nevada for an “urgent” forensics engagement with the company. Communicating and working with Sidney Powell and others on the Trump Campaign, the group signed an engagement letter with SullivanStrickler for work in Las Vegas, Nevada. The team obtained sensitive voting data from election equipment in Clark County, Nevada.
At least two counties in Colorado have had lay-people breach their voting machine systems.
Mesa County clerk Tina Peters, a Trump supporter, has been indicted for allowing non-authorized laypeople to tamper with elections equipment during an election system software update. She allowed these individuals to make a “forensic image” of the equipment. She has been charged with several felony counts including criminal impersonation, identity theft, and misdemeanor violation of duty.
The top election official in Elbert County, Colorado also permitted a participant in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to copy sensitive voter information. In August of 2021, the individual made a “forensic image of everything on the election server.”
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina all suffered instances of conspiracy-theory-led elections equipment breaches in 2021. A Reuters report details these additional attempts to compromise the integrity and security of our elections.