By Ronald Lawson
The Nebraska Voter Accuracy Project (“NVAP”) has gained the attention of Bob Evnen, Nebraska’s Secretary of State (“SOS”), whose duties include overseeing elections in Nebraska. The NVAP made several claims about the integrity of Nebraska’s elections that Secretary Evnen has addressed in a PowerPoint presentation that he sent to all the Nebraska Senators and has posted on the SOS’s homepage. He also talked about it in a series of interviews with Paul Hammel, who writes for progressive non-profit media outlet Nebraska Examiner.
The PowerPoint Rebuttal
The Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office produced a 19-page PowerPoint dated February 5, 2022, titled Fake vs. Fact. The presentation goes through a number of the claims made by the NVAP alleging with graphs and counter claims, that the following are inaccurate, including:
- Showing the claim that identical percentages of 30 and 40-year-olds voted in every county in Nebraska is not true (3 slides)
- Countering the claim that the State reported a reduction in the vote count for President Trump, by stating that the State didn’t report a reduction in the vote count, but that “Edison Research, a third party vendor to the New York Times misreported public data from the SOS’s website.” Secretary Evnen’s report compared the Edison reporting graph to the SOS’s office public results. The Edison results, which show the drop in Trump votes, covered a 3-minute period within the reporting refresh interval of the SOS’s website. According to Secretary Evnen, the Edison Research reporting of a drop in Trump votes was never published on the SOS website. (3 slides)
- Reporting that the SOS’s office has not received a single one of the “hundreds of affidavits” that the NVAP says have been collected. (1 slide)
- Countering a claim by the NVAP that “Nebraska votes are stored by ES&S using software from a company called Crowdstrike” by stating that the SOS’s office doesn’t use Crowdstrike and that Crowdstrike was not installed on any voting tabulators or hardened computers purchased from ES&S. They did acknowledge that Lancaster County does have an agreement with Crowdstrike. (1slide)
- Counters NVAP claim that Nebraska Election officials do not have ballot images, “which violates state and federal law[,]” by stating that there is no such requirement, that election officials do not create or keep ballot images, though they do, “keep ballots for 22 months, as required by law” (1 slide)
- Countering the claim that 10 Nebraska counties have more registered voters than vote eligible voters, by stating that there are 5 small counties that “have slightly more registered voters than census data (cumulatively, 21 voters).” They explain this can be accounted for by voters who can’t be legally removed yet, or students out of state but counted at home in the census. (1 slide)
- Countering the claim that Registration rolls were “inflated with 56,000 fake registrations since 2016, and 26,000 of those fake registrations were removed after the election to clean up evidence after the fact.” by stating that many people wait until the last minute to update voter registration information, as is common each election cycle, and that 26,039 registrations were removed after the 2020 election per federal law, as the voters didn’t vote and failed to respond to inquiries about their address and did not update their information. (1 slide)
- Countered the NVAP claim that Nebraska doesn’t test its voting equipment by detailing that the State conducts two mock elections prior to elections, and that each “machine undergoes 3 separate, independent tests with different ballots” They also stated that 2-3% of precincts in Nebraska are hand counted after each election to “ensure ballots match official results.”
- Rebutting the claim that ditching machine counts and going back to hand counts will remove fraud and provide more accurate results, by stating that hand counting is statistically less accurate, adds weeks or months to the process, and may encourage bad actors to bribe, coerce or infiltrate poll workers counting the ballots. (1 slide)
- Countering the NVAP claim: “We don’t know who the voters were for 4,001 votes that were counted.” The Secretary’s report stated that it’s not an “apples-to-apple” comparison because it compares Election Day with January 1, 2021, registrations. The SOS’s office writes: “We know who these voters are, and they could be found through a thorough examination of the poll books, early voter rolls, and provisional ballots – such an examination is not warranted.” (1 slide)
- Countering NVAP criticism of the ES&S contract with the State, the SOS’s office says the contract requires “penetration and vulnerability scans through an independent tester (the Department of Homeland Security or other agreed upon third party expert)” and that the reports “can be reviewed by employees of the State with a need to know.”
- NVAP says the SOS has the authority to order a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election and the authority to order hand counting of the almost 1 million ballots cast in 2020. The SOS’s office says the legislature would have to give them that authority and pay for it, and it might cost millions of dollars and take up to two years to complete.
The PowerPoint concludes by stating the SOS’s office is “fully informed of the concerns and claims that have been raised and has carefully investigated them.” It adds that the office would fully cooperate if the legislature directed them to do a “full forensic audit” or hand count of the ballots. They also noted that the legal requirement to keep the 2020 election ballots secure for 22 months expires on Sept 3, 2022.
Spreading the News
Secretary Evnen has been interviewed by Paul Hammel, a veteran political and sports journalist who works for the Nebraska Examiner, regarding claims about the lack of election integrity in Nebraska put forth by the NVAP and others. Through this article and in testimony before the Nebraska Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee, Evnen has reinforced some of the major points his Office made in the PowerPoint.
Nebraska Examiner articles are published to the public domain under a Creative Commons license and are often picked up by other news organizations and have been republished by multiple online and print publications, from The Omaha Daily Record to the Panhandle Post, and is referenced by groups such as Civic Nebraska, who are applauding the SOS’s Office for “holding baseless insinuations of fraud to the light.”
Many others, however, attended the recent hearings on various election related bills before the legislature and cried “not so fast,” calling the SOS’s PowerPoint and testimony more propaganda than real answers.
The Cornhusker Guardian will publish any response by the NVAP to Secretary Evnen’s report.