Ben Cotton conducted and investigation of Michigan voting information for the 2020 election. He found the primary electronic record of the election has not been preserved in a forensically admissible manner.
The EPB USB is original evidence. The basic principle governing the preservation of electronic data and ensuring that digital evidence is the best evidence. Preserving a digital device in an original state ensures that the evidence is reliable, dates and times are factual, and that the data has not been altered. Failure to preserve digital evidence in a digitally sound manner can result in charges of spoliation and the inadmissibility of that evidence in court. Based on Cotton's review of the Hart InterCivic voting machine manuals and the Secretary of State's instructions to the municipality election officials, he does not see any method or procedure to forensically preserve the voting systems or the digital media used in Michigan election. The Electronic Poll Book thumb drive is the device of record for the election. The ebp is generated on the voting machine and stored on the thumb drive and contains the Qualified Voter Record and the poll books. The voting data is stored in a Microsoft Access database on the thumb drive. There is no process in the State of Michigan for preserving the original files of the EPB on the thumb drive or the election systems. There are missing data elements in the machine generated election reports that should be preserved under federal statutes. Failure to forensically preserve the EPB USB would have effectively deleted and wiped these elements of information as they are not present or preserved on any other component of the voting system.
Cotton reviewed data from voting for the Adams Township, MI election. The official state count of total voters is 30 votes short of the machine USB poll book tally. There is a difference of 79 names of people who reportedly voted at the county level and at the report for the same area at the state level. The combination of different names voting/not voting is 11.5% of the total vote cast. Since the EPB USB has not been preserved in a state admissible in court, there is no way by which these discrepancies can be investigated or reconciled.
Adams County shows people that voted but who did not register to vote until up to seven months after the election. Again the lack of a useable ESB USB prevents reconciliation of these discrepancies.
The Michigan November 2020 election data does not appear to be certifiable as required by law.
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