Lee County voting machine integrity questioned by Republican Executive Committee member

Published: September 14, 2022 4:07 PM EDT
Updated: September 14, 2022 4:27 PM EDT

A member of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee is questioning the integrity of the county’s voting machines.

Chris Quackenbush says the machines are connected to the internet and have the potential to be hacked, leaving voter information at risk. Quackenbush wants the state to go back to the days when votes were counted, not by machine, but by people.

She has to convince the Republican Party of Lee County first, though.

Your vote is your right as a U.S. citizen, so making sure it’s counted accurately and fairly is important, but Quackenbush said she doesn’t have trust in our current voting system.

“There’s probably over 100 ways to steal your vote. And I’m sure all of them are being utilized currently because it’s so easy. These machines are manufactured, sometimes in China. We don’t know what’s inside them because the companies have leased them to us, and they will not allow us to look inside the machines. But we know that they have Bluetooth connections. We know they have SQL, relational database software embedded in them,” said Quackenbush.

The machines she is talking about are the election systems and software, or ‘ES and S’ for short. That is the voting machine used throughout Lee County.

Quackenbush is concerned they are being hacked into.

WINK News asked Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle if there is any way someone could hack into them.

“This is a virtual private network. Not only is the network private, it also won’t accept outside IP addresses from other areas. There is three different patches that it has to go through to even get to our election night results server. So there’s so many safeguards, it’s literally impossible to hack,” said Doyle.

That wasn’t enough for Quackenbush, so she proposed an election integrity resolution that attacks the voting machines and proposes going back to a manual counting system to eliminate potential cyber-attacks and fraud.

“By hand has been proven to be more accurate than these machines. They can’t be manipulated. And there may be an error or two. That’s what we’re talking about. Less than 1% error. That’s the experience that other countries have had with counting manually, and we had long ago when we did the same,” said Quackenbush.

“We’re talking weeks and weeks of counting. In this day and age, people are not going to allow that. The citizens, the population, are expecting results in 30 minutes after the election closes. Also, I believe less humans touching those ballots, the better. Because now you bring in chaos, you bring in bias, and how do you verify it,” said Doyle.

Doyle said they do verify that the machines are working properly by doing a post-election audit, randomly choosing a precinct and race to hand-count.