Who is Jeff Maurer?
Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State says we have to count votes like we count cash, auditing all 92 counties after every election and giving voters a receipt.
The Indiana Secretary of State’s race took a strange turn in early October, with Republican Diego Morales not showing up at the only official debate, organized by the League of Women Voters, with the moderator saying Morales “did not respond to multiple efforts to contact him and his campaign.”
This left two candidates to debate one another – Jeff Maurer, the Libertarian, and Destiny Wells, the Democrat.
Maurer said if elected, his top priority would be election integrity and fixing what’s wrong with Indiana’s elections.
“At the end of the day, when we count votes like we count cash, we’ll finally get the elections we deserve,” he said.
What does he want?
“Receipts and audits.”
What does that mean?
One, Maurer wants voters to leave the polling place with a receipt that will allow them to verify later that their vote was counted, and counted correctly.
He describes it as being like a receipt you get from the ATM machine – a simple paper record of the transaction.
Two, he wants audits.
“We need an audit of all 92 counties before the results are certified,” he said in the debate.
Audits are considered the “gold standard” of election integrity – but only if they’re done right. In a risk-limiting audit, paper ballots from a randomly selected 10 percent of all precincts are recounted by hand and the results checked against the read-outs from the voting machines. If the numbers match, then and only then does the clerk certify the county election results and send them to the state.
If the numbers don’t match, you widen the audit and count more precincts by hand.
Indiana doesn’t do this.
County clerks in Indiana certify the vote a few days after the election without doing any sort of audit.
A few years ago, former Secretary of State Connie Lawson started a pilot program to do audits in some select counties, and current Secretary of State Holli Sullivan doubled the number of audits done.
But Sullivan’s office has refused to release the results of those audits from 2020 in response to a public records request. So we don’t know what they show.
Also, most counties in Indiana can’t be audited because they use voting machines that have no paper back-ups. There are no paper ballots to count. All you have at the end of Election Day is the count that the machines give you.
The state of elections in Indiana is appalling, with more than half of all counties in the state using voting machines that are essentially computers with no paper ballots involved and no paper trail that can be audited.
Starting with this week’s election, counties using these machines, made by the Indianapolis-based company MicroVote, have to have printers for at least 10 percent of them –- but those printers don’t produce paper ballots: They print voters’ selections on a roll of thermal paper that remains inside the machine, and will not likely qualify as providing a real paper audit trail.
It’s a mess the new Secretary of State will have to untangle.
What to do with the MicroVote machines?
But a better question might be: What to do with the county clerks who chose them in the first place – who didn’t understand enough about technology to realize that computers can be programmed to cheat, and for that reason, you have to have paper backup?
Voting machines that are computers can be programmed to flip one-out-of-every-30 votes from one candidate to another – only on Election Day, and not on the testing days.
Without any audit system in place, whereby paper ballots are compared to machine tallies, no one would never know.
The 57 counties in Indiana that use the MicroVote machines include Lake, Allen, Hamilton, Johnson and Boone. These are some of the most populous counties in the state.
But back to the election…
Jeff Maurer is right. Votes should be counted like cash – like every restaurant and retail store in the country counts cash, which is to count every dollar by hand and compare the total to the register tape – the machine tally.
Clerks will balk that they don’t have staff, that there is not enough time, that there’s no way.
We must find away.
What is more important than securing our elections and making absolutely, 100 percent sure, that the declared winners of the election are truly the candidates the people chose?
And machines are not truly necessary. If small counties don’t have enough money to purchase new machines, they should not purchase them. It would be better to use only hand-marked paper ballots than to use machines built to be able to cheat.
WHERE IS DIEGO?
Where is Diego Morales on this?
We don’t precisely know.
He has not returned my phone call from a couple of weeks ago.
A campaign staffer told me he instructed Morales to not participate in the Oct. 11 debate.
Anyone who’s been following this race can understand why he’s lying low.
Ever since Morales defeated Secretary of State Holli Sullivan at the Republican state convention in June, winning the nomination, he’s had a target on his back.
The Democrats, the media, and some Establishment Republicans are out to take him down.
But some of the stories are concerning.
The most recent story, in the Indy Star, is about Morales voting from a condo in Hendricks County that he didn’t own when he was running for Congress in 2018, while his real residence appears to have been in Indianapolis:
Like many of these types of Indy Star stories targeting Republicans, the reporter quotes a left-wing Indiana University law professor on Indiana election law instead of calling Jim Bopp, one of the top Republican election lawyers in the United States, who lives here in Indiana.
Morales issued a short statement in response to the Indy Star story here: https://fox59.com/indianapolitics/morales-responds-to-questions-over-voting-residency-records/
But he didn’t respond to the allegation. Was he in fact living at the condo in Hendricks County in 2018?
I’m uneasy about Diego Morales for the above reason and because I met him and was able to talk with him at length in Bloomington more than a year ago.
His personal history seemed strange to me. I couldn’t understand how he arrived in southern Indiana as a teenager from Guatemala and was enrolling at Purdue University just a few years later, while still struggling to learn English.
He told me that he traveled all over the world as an adviser to Gov. Mike Pence, which also seemed odd. I tried to find out more, but details were not forthcoming.
I also couldn’t understand what Morales did for a living. When I asked him he told me he was working for former Congressman Mike Sodrel, for Sodrel’s trucking company. But then what was he doing at lunch on a weekday in another part of the state, and how could he spend so much of his time traveling around the state, campaigning?
Was it a no-show job? A part-time job? I’m not sure.
I also noticed that when he talked about election integrity, he kept it very general, and didn’t go into any detail.
I’ve been heartened to hear him say that he will work to require proof of citizenship for people to vote, require a photo ID to vote absentee and limit absentee and early voting (Indiana law now allows 11 different reasons to vote absentee and the early-voting period is 28 days, making it Election MONTH, instead of Election Day).
But Morales’ campaign website now is extremely general on the topic of elections, saying only that Morales will “stand firm in support of protecting the right to VOTE” and “will be vigilant in defending the sanctity of each ballot and election integrity.”
“I will register eligible Hoosiers to participate in the election process,” it says.
What about the MicroVote machines? What will he do about them? There’s nothing on the website.
What about Indiana’s voter rolls, so badly maintained that the state has been sued at least twice? The website doesn’t say.
Does Indiana really need to give voters 11 different reasons to vote absentee, when the commission co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter found that the absolute best way to make voting secure is to have people vote in-person?
What does Morales think? We don’t know.
He initially talked about limiting early voting and absentee voting, but appeared to reverse course on this.
If he’s elected this week, I guess we’ll just have to watch and see what he does.
URGENT: Election integrity group urges Indiana voters to vote by provisional ballot if turned away at the polls on Tuesday
Indiana First Action, a grassroots, citizen-run election-integrity group, is urging people to request to vote by provisional ballot if by chance they show up to the polling place on Election Day and are told they already voted or requested an absentee ballot when they hadn’t.
“A last resort voting method, provisional ballots are legal placeholder documents used to resolve disputes about vote legality,” they write in a press release sent out on Sunday.
“If you try to vote in person and are prevented from voting in person due to a legal concern raised by election officials, you might be entitled to cast a provisional ballot so that the dispute can be correctly settled at a later time.”
Here’s what to expect if you ask for a provisional ballot:
You’ll first be asked to complete an affidavit. Do it.
The affidavit will require the following information:
1) your name
2) your date of birth
3) a statement that you have not voted and will not vote in any other precinct in this election
4) your current address
6) a statement that you registered to vote during the allowed registration period (which ends 29 days before the election) and where you believe you registered to vote
After completing the affidavit, you should be allowed to complete a provisional ballot.
The legal instructions for casting a provisional ballot are as follows:
1) sign the poll list
2) mark the ballot with a pen or a lead pencil in the presence of no other person (unless you request help as prescribed by Indiana law)
3) fold each ballot separately so that the marks are concealed
4) enclose each ballot together with any unused ballot in the envelope provided
5) securely seal the envelope.
After completing these steps to cast a provisional ballot, the precinct election officer should give you written and oral instructions describing the actions you must take to have your provisional ballot counted.
If you are prevented from voting because the polling system shows that you already cast your ballot, you may be a victim of identity theft. If you are certain that you did not cast your ballot, please ask the election officials to call the county sheriff or call the county sheriff yourself to report the crime of identity theft.
An incident report with a sworn statement should be filed with the corporate vendor of the election equipment. You will need a sheriff’s department officer to help you do this. After properly reporting the crime of identity theft, you should complete a provisional ballot as described above. Within three calendar days after Election Day, the circuit court clerk shall “provide notice” to all voters who cast provisional ballots by 1) first class US mail or by 2) simply posting the notice in a circuit court clerk’s office.
Accordingly, if you do not receive the expected notice by US mail within two calendar days after Election Day, you should call your circuit court clerk’s office to inquire about your notice on the third day after Election Day. The notice should tell you the deadlines by which you must complete specific actions to insure that your provisional ballot is counted. If you are required to attend a provisional board meeting and fail to do so, your provisional ballot will not be counted.
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