Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Rep. McNerney explains his vote to impeach President Trump

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Official photos.

Stockton, CA (Jan. 13, 2021) – In response to Wednesday’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Trump on claims of inciting a violent and deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D, CA-09) issued the following statement:

“Today, I voted to impeach President Trump for the second time to protect our nation and our democracy against a would-be tyrant. This is a moment that will define our nation for generations to come. One year ago, the House took up articles of impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to seriously consider these charges and voted against impeaching the President. As a result, there were no repercussions for the President’s actions, which only served to further embolden him. He is a threat to our democracy, and yet Republicans in Congress have repeatedly excused and ignored his dangerous behavior and rhetoric.

“President Trump began his presidency speaking of American carnage, and as he ends his time in the White House, he has led his followers to lay siege at the seat of our government, directly inciting and provoking that carnage. In order to preserve our democracy, there must be consequences for sedition, and the rule of law must be upheld.”

McNerney represents a portion of Antioch in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

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Rep. DeSaulnier to host Town Hall Tuesday on 25th Amendment, impeaching Pres. Trump

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Official photos.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will host a virtual town hall on Tuesday, January 12th at 2:00 p.m. PT to discuss the attack on the United States Capitol and provide an update on what Congress is doing to hold President Trump accountable, remove him from office and prevent him from running again. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Members of Congress are proposing using the 25th Amendment process, in which the president’s cabinet members must vote unanimously to remove him. If not, the House will pursue impeachment, for which DeSaulnier has announced his support. (See related article)

However, should House members vote to impeach the president, which requires only a simple majority, the Senate must hold a trial before a vote to remove the president from office. That requires the approval of two-thirds of the Senators.

The Town Hall will be held live on Zoom and will also be viewable through DeSaulnier’s Facebook page. This will be DeSaulnier’s 121st town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress. Contra Costa residents will have an opportunity to submit questions before the event and live during the town hall.

Virtual Town Hall on Impeachment and 25th Amendment
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PT

This event is open to the public and press.

To RSVP, submit a question, or request special accommodations, visit: https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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DeSaulnier, McNerney, Thompson support immediate removal of Trump using 25th Amendment following U.S. Capitol attack

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Reps. DeSaulnier, McNerney, and Thompson, and Pres. Trump. Official photos.

Washington, DC – Today, with 13 days remaining in President Trump’s term in office, and following the lead of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blaming him for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) issued the following statement about the attack and calling for Trump to be immediately removed from office.

“Yesterday, the United States Capitol was invaded by a mob that was quite deliberately incited by the current President of the United States. It is a miracle that there was not greater carnage and loss of life. Donald Trump should not be in office for one moment longer, and should never again be allowed to hold office. He has defiled his sacred oath.

The 25th Amendment should be immediately invoked to remove the President from control. If the Vice President and Cabinet refuse to take action, Donald Trump should be impeached as rapidly as possible. What we have seen from him over the last four years and beyond is a clear disrespect for rule of law and the Constitution except as it suits him. We cannot let this go. History will not forgive him, and if we are silent it will not forgive us.”

According to an NBC Bay Area report, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D, CA-9) and Mike Thompson (D, CA-5) who also represent portions of Contra Costa County, support removing Trump immediately, as well.

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

Section 1 – In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2 – Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3 – Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4 – Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

DeSaulnier’s and McNerney’s districts include portions of Antioch.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

 

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Supervisors OK election software contract extension with controversial Scytl over citizen protests

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian/Bicycle Project contract approved 

By Daniel Borsuk

With threats streaming from several citizens hanging over Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors that they would be “voted out of office” unless the elected officials either rejected or further studied a request from Contra Costa County Recorder and Registrar of Voters Debbie Cooper to award a third contract extension to Barcelona, Spain-based Scytl at an additional price tag of $200,000, supervisors moved ahead and unanimously approved the contract extension at Tuesday’s meeting.

Moments earlier supervisors, who had elevated District 3 Supervisor Dianne Burgis of Brentwood to chairperson and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg to vice chairperson for 2021, were unmoved by the threats. Several unidentified speakers requested supervisors to either pull the consent item for further consideration or to disapprove Registrar of Voters Cooper’s request to extend the contract of Scytl, formerly called SOE Clarity Suite when it was acquired by Scytl in 2012.

The contract with Contra Costa County has been in effect since 2015. The supervisors’ action boosted the payment to Scytl by $200,00 to a new total contract payment of $590,000.

Scytle, whose SOE Software division was founded in 2002 in Tampa Bay, Florida, filed for bankruptcy, last May. According to an October 22, 2020 article on Scytle’s website, “Service Point Solutions, part of Paragon Group, announces the acquisition of Scytl, the Barcelona based company leader in digital voting and electoral modernization.” Service Point Solutions is also based in Barcelona.

The article further states, the “acquisition unveils Paragon’s group strategy to position Service Point Solutions as a pan-european platform for high-growth digital business.”

Scytle has been accused of being part of the effort to change votes in the November elections from President Trump to President-Elect Biden, in coordination with Dominion Voters Systems machines, which have also been used in Contra Costa County since 2018. (See related article)

“You are not providing proper oversight concerning this contractor,” said one disgruntled caller. “If you don’t improve, we’ll vote you out of office.”

Supervisors were not bullied by the threat or appeals from other anonymous speakers.  Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said, “I will not let those promoting the election conspiracy line since 2015 to sway me.”

“We need to start to post these contracts,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, who is reportedly serving the last two years of her final term in office.  “The public needs to see these requests for proposals.”

Supervisor Mitchoff reacted to one unidentified speaker’s complaint that this contract lacked adequate public notice.

In response to questions about Scytle software, Supervisor Candace Andersen wrote that she had her staff research it and that “It appears to be a non-issue. We’re not purchasing equipment – it is renewing contract for website software. European company bought an American company that we have been doing business with them from 2007. Web hosting and election night reporting. Software where we upload our results and changes to pretty graphics seen on the website.  It does not have any impact on election integrity.”

Contra Costa County Clerk/Recorder and Registrar of Voters Debi Cooper also responded, “SOE (Scytl) does not provide any direct election services and is not connected to systems involved with tallying our election results. SOE provides our web hosting and election night reporting graphical support. Our election tally process is done separately on a system that is not connected to the internet. We take information from our tally system to upload information to the website. We originally contracted with SOE in 2007 after conducting an RFP process. SOE was the only respondent that met our needs for election night reporting. SOE was acquired by Scytl in 2014 while we were under contract with SOE. They continue to provide services to many state and local jurisdictions across this country.”

Some speakers charged the county is illegally doing business with a foreign-based company, allegedly operating out of Frankfurt, Germany, although according to Scytl’s website, “Scytl has no presence in Frankfurt, Germany.”

In response to the allegations against the company during the 2020 elections, Scytl posted information on their website stating the following: “The technologies implemented by Scytl in the US are both hosted and managed within the US, by a local subsidiary, SOE Software, based in Tampa, Florida.”

In addition, the Scytl website explains that the election data reporting company has “no political affiliations of any kind.”  The statement further rebukes statements that it provides any electronic voting machines in the U.S. and “does not tabulate, tally or count votes in U.S public elections.”

Burgis Becomes Chair, Glover Vice Chair

Earlier Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D.- Concord) remotely administered the oath of office to District 3 Supervisor Burgis, who was sworn into office as Chair of the Board for 2021, and District 5 Supervisor Glover, who was re-elected to his sixth four-year term and will serve as vice chair.

Burgis and Glover, who commences his sixth four-year term of office, along with three other supervisors will oversee the disbursement of the county’s $3.98 billion budget in 2021.

Upon succeeding District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville as Chair, Burgis said, “I want to bring the Northern Waterfront Plan home.

I want to see the benefits coming from it,” Burgis said as one of her key platform issues along with development of the Byron and Buchanan airports, fire department consolidation, and countywide economic recovery during the upcoming post COVID-19 era.

In a prepared statement, Burgis said:

“I appreciate Supervisor Andersen’s unwavering commitment to keeping our residents safe and keeping the county moving forward while addressing the impacts of COVID-19.  As chair, I intend to work with my colleagues to support our county health officer to get the coronavirus under control, move the county toward economic recovery for all residents and businesses, enhance mental health crisis response, reform our juvenile justice system, address racial injustice and inequality, protect the Delta, and proactively fight climate change, and, at long last, provide sustainable fire protection services to all areas of the county.  I’m excited about our year ahead and ready to get to work.”

Glover said, “Dianne, I appreciate being your wingman, even though my chief boss is Janice Glover (Glover’s wife).”  The veteran office holder said 2020 was a year where county workers, especially those in public health and first responders, had to learn on the go.  “None of this is written in a book,” said Glover.

Outgoing chair Andersen, who was given a photography book by the Mt. Diablo photographer Steven Joseph, said 2020 was “a year unlike any other” marked by citizens sickened or killed during COVID-19 pandemic, left homeless, having to shutter small businesses, and a host of economic medical and social issues fanned by COVID-19.

Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian/Bicycle Project Contract Approved 

In a consent action, Supervisors approved a $3.7 million contract with Bay Cities Paving and Grading Inc. to construct the Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project.  Bay Cities Paving and Grading submitted the lowest and most responsible bid from a field of six other construction companies competing for the federally funded project.

The Bay Cities Paving and Grading submission beat submissions from Granite Rock Co, $3,859,608; Ghilotti Construction Co., Inc., $3,930,295.50; Ghilotti Bros. Inc., $3,972,887; O.C. Jones & Sons Inc., $3,996,733; Gordon N. Ball, Inc., $4,123,732; and Granite Construction Co., $4,864,644.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Supervisor install Burgis as Chair, Glover as Vice Chair

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

By Susan Shiu, Director, Contra Costa County Office of Communications and Media

Supervisor Diane Burgis. Herald file photo.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors held a swearing-in ceremony for Supervisor Diane Burgis as Board Chair and Supervisor Federal Glover as Vice Chair at its January 5, 2021 Board meeting.

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has served Contra Costa County since she was first elected in 2016, including serving the prior year as Vice Chair, takes the leadership role from outgoing Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen of District 2.

Supervisor Burgis expressed her thanks to Supervisor Andersen as well as her readiness to tackle our County’s issues. “I appreciate Supervisor Andersen’s unwavering commitment to keeping our residents safe and keeping the County moving forward while addressing the impacts of COVID-19. As Chair, I intend to work with my colleagues to support our county health officer to get the coronavirus under control, move the County toward economic recovery for all residents and businesses, enhance mental health crisis response, reform our juvenile justice system, address racial justice and inequality, protect the Delta and proactively fight climate change, and at long last, provide sustainable fire protection services to all areas of the County.  I’m excited about the year ahead and ready to get to work,” said Supervisor Burgis.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover will serve as Vice Chair in 2021. He has served on the Board of Supervisors since 2000, representing a district that includes the County’s northern waterfront.

Supervisor Burgis is in her second term, and Supervisor Glover is serving his sixth term. They will lead the five-member elected body that sets the direction of county government and oversees its $3.98 billion budget to serve this large and diverse East Bay County.

For more information about Contra Costa County and its Board of Supervisors, visit the County’s website at www.contracosta.ca.gov or the webpage: www.contracosta.ca.gov/7283/Board-of-Supervisors.

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Antioch School Board elects new leadership, splits on board president, unveils plans to reopen in April

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

New Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder and Vice President Dr. Clyde Lewis. Herald file photos.

Householder elected president on 3-2 vote, Lewis elected vice president unanimously

By Anthony Dorado

During the Antioch School Board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16, Antonio Hernandez and Dr. Clyde Lewis took ceremonial oaths of office as the two newly elected trustees on the AUSD Board of Education. In addition, the board elected Trustee Ellie Householder as the new board president, Lewis as vice president, and Hernandez as liaison to the Contra Costa County School Boards Association. The Board also discussed plans to reopen schools in the fourth quarter of the current school year.

New Trustees Sworn In, Again

Hernandez and Lewis both took ceremonial oaths of office, as they were both sworn in formally in previous ceremonies. Hernandez stated that he is, “very excited to be here and to get to work.” He also expressed confidence in the diverse backgrounds of work and education that this Board brings to the community. Lewis thanked those who helped shape his educational development, his family, and expressed a similar enthusiasm about the work that lay ahead of them.

Members Elected to Board Positions

The Board also voted on the election of members to the assignments of President, Vice President, and Board Member Liaison to the Contra Costa County School Boards Association. While the election of Hernandez and Lewis to their respective assignments were straightforward and non-controversial, the election of Householder to Board President was not as smooth. Two public comments preceded the vote, both urging the Board to not consider Householder for the position

The first member of the public to comment complained that Householder had, “repeatedly used bullying tactics to get her way…,” and that she had, “violated numerous board policies, exhibited unacceptable behavior, and has verbally attacked other board members in meetings with her hateful remarks.” The speaker went on to express how Householder had used multiple social media accounts to encourage hate and violence and how she has encouraged students to act in like manner. Lastly, the speaker sought to reinforce her view by looking back to the protest Householder had engaged in outside of former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Joy Mott’s residence in an effort to influence her vote on the acceptance of a DOJ COPS grant for additional School Resource Officers.

The second public speaker offered a sort of apology as they confessed that they had encouraged their family to vote Householder for Antioch City Clerk under the assumption that the appointment would disqualify her for participation on the board. The speaker went on to explain how they felt it was a total conflict of interest to see her as both the city clerk and a trustee on the school board as the Antioch City Council voted to rescind the DOJ grant for additional SROs. Householder had previously been censured by the Board in September on account of her not holding herself to the “highest standards of ethical conduct” for comments on social media.

Nevertheless, as the Board cast their votes, Householder was elected to president on a 3-2 vote, with Trustees Mary Rocha and Gary Hack voting against. In making his motion to elect Householder as board president, Hernandez mentioned her experience in distance learning and how that experience would be vital to the Board moving forward through this pandemic. Neither Rocha nor Hack voiced their reasoning behind the dissenting votes.

Plans to Reopen Schools

Trustee Anello brought forward a resolution to remain in distance learning through the end of the third quarter (April 16, 2021). While the Board unanimously voted in the affirmative on the resolution, it was not without concerns. Lewis expressed his concern with the mental health of students affected by the social isolation that has come about as an inevitable result of distance learning. Superintendent Stephanie Anello ensured the Board that training was underway district wide to provide emotional support for struggling students.

Associate Superintendent Christine Ibarra explained how all the secondary administrators partnered and were trained by the Sandy Hook Promise Initiative in the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System. This system would allow students or teachers to report signs and symptoms of depression and suicide and empower the teachers and police to partner together with the parents and students to give support. She also stated that surveys were being drafted and ready to be sent out to students, teachers, and parents inquiring into the success of distance learning and how they might improve.

A number of public comments were received and voiced in support of the decision to postpone reopening until April 16. Antioch citizen Amy Law said that she, “100% supports Anello’s plan to reopen schools in April.”

Other Matters

In other action, the Board approved the first interim report and the 2020-2021 budget overview for parents as well. The Antioch Education Association’s (AEA) initial contract proposal to AUSD and the initial proposal to the AEA were also approved.

 

 

 

 

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Hernandez, Lewis take their oaths of office as new Antioch School Board trustees

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Video screenshot (left) of Antonio Hernandez taking his oath of office administered by Mayor Lamar Thorpe during an online ceremony on Friday, Dec. 11. Dr. Clyde Lewis (right) takes his oath of office outside the school district offices on Tuesday morning, Dec. 15 administered by Superintendent Stephanie Anello. Photo by Allen Payton

But Hernandez’s probably requires a do over

New Antioch School Board Trustee Lewis with Superintendent Anello in front of the quote by Nelson Mandela inside the school board chambers, following his oath of office, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

By Allen Payton

On Friday, Dec. 11 during an online ceremony, Antonio Hernandez too his oath of office administered by Mayor Lamar Thorpe, to become a new Antioch School Board Trustee representing Area 1. (See Facebook video, beginning at 1:04:30) On Tuesday morning, December 15, in front of the Antioch School District offices and sign, Dr. Clyde Lewis took his oath, administered by Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

Following his oath, Hernandez said, “I’m so excited to be here and so excited the voters have given me this opportunity. I could not have imagined this is where I would be, today.” He then thanked his family who helped his campaign, as well as his campaign manager.

After the brief ceremony on Tuesday, Lewis said, “I want to thank the citizens of Antioch for electing me and I look forward to serving and supporting the students and community of Antioch in reaching it’s potential.”

One hiccup in the process is, according to former Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen who explained the need for last Tuesday afternoon’s oaths of office by the seven city officials, oaths of office must be done in person. In addition, Government Code Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 2, Article 4, Section 1362 reads “the oath may be taken before any officer authorized to administer oaths.” The question is the definition of “before” and if that requires in-person.

Assistant Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Scott Konopasek was asked if oaths of office are required to be in person or are allowed online, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Contra Costa Elections Division oversees Antioch School Board elections. He responded, “The code anticipates oaths being administered in-person but that doesn’t take the pandemic into consideration.”

So, it appears Hernandez’ oath that Thorpe administered to him online during Friday’s Zoom event, does not qualify and Hernandez must get sworn in officially in person before Wednesday night’s school board meeting if he wants to participate in it.

An email to Hernandez, Thorpe and Anello was sent Tuesday evening asking if they can provide anything that shows online oaths of office are allowed. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Special Report: Controversial Dominion Voting Systems technology used in Contra Costa elections since 2018

Saturday, December 12th, 2020

From Dominion’s Democracy Suite brochure.

“There haven’t been ‘glitches’ anywhere in the county.  It’s fake news.” – Assistant Registrar of Voters Scott Konopasek

Soros connections to Dominion and Contra Costa DA Becton

Contra Costa Machines not connected to internet, but flash drives used

Clause allowing altering of votes included in Contra Costa’s contract

By Allen Payton

It was rumored, recently that controversial Dominion Voting Systems technology was used for elections in Contra Costa County. The election services company, their software and equipment have come under scrutiny, following a variety of challenges in other parts of the country with elections offices using the technology, and accusations of votes being switched from President Trump to former Vice President Biden. That rumor proved true.

When asked if Dominion technology is used in Contra Costa elections and if so, how can the voting public in our county trust that there haven’t been any problems or “glitches” as there have been elsewhere in the country with those using Dominion products, Contra Costa County Assistant Registrar of Voters Scott Konopasek responded, “There haven’t been ‘glitches’ anywhere in the county. Its (sic) fake news.” Asked, again if the county uses Dominion technology, he responded simply, “Yes.”

In light of all the recent testimony during hearings on the elections where Dominion technology was used in other states and the problems and controversies associated with it, the following questions were sent to Konopasek and County Clerk-Registrar of Voters Deborah Cooper.

Dominion’s ImageCast X equipment purchase and used by Contra Costa Elections. From company brochure.

First Purchased in 2018, Software & Hardware Used

Asked when did the purchase of the Dominion technology by our county first occur/how long has our county been using their technology, Konopasek responded “the system was purchased in 2018 and used in all elections that year, including the statewide Primary and General elections.”

Asked which software and hardware of Dominion’s is used in our elections he shared, “Software – Dominion Democracy Suite 5.10a, Remote Accessible Vote By Mail (RAVBM) 5.10a. Hardware – ICE Optical Scanner, ICX (Imagecast X) Ballot Marking Device, Canon G1130 Scanner, InoTec H12 Hipro Scanner.”

Use of Dominion’s ImageCast-X. From 2020 brochure.

Asked if any of the Dominion equipment is connected to the internet or accessible by computers in the county or elsewhere and could that equipment be hacked and votes switched either in the county elections office or remotely, Konopasek responded, “No devices in the voting system network are connected to the internet or any county computer.  Votes cannot be ‘switched’ remotely. Layers of physical security, cyber hygiene, internal and public audit processes exist to prevent or discover ‘hacking’ or ‘tampering’ with result totals.”

He further explained, “RAVBM is a hosted website that military, civilian overseas, and voters that need an accessible ballot can access to mark and print their own ballot (similar to a ballot on a ballot marking device).  The printed ballot is returned in an envelope the same as all other vote by mail ballots.  Election staff access this site to set it up and maintain it through the county network and not through the voting system network.”

Dr Shiva, Phil Evans & Bennie Smith who discovered a weighted algorithm in the Dominion software. Video screenshot.

Weighted Race Algorithm That Transfer Votes from One Candidate to Another

Konopasek was asked if there is a weighted race feature in the software that Contra Costa County uses, as has been discovered in the Dominion software, elsewhere. He responded simply, “We do not know what you are referring to with this question.”

Additional information was shared with him, as explained by MIT educated Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, as well as software engineer, data analyst and elections commissioner Bennie Smith and Phil Evans, an inventor, engineer and data analyst. They claim their analysis of the Michigan election results show “a computer algorithm that linearly transferred the votes from Trump to Biden.” It’s the same pattern found in Pennsylvania, according to a report by the Gateway Pundit.

Results from Dr. Ayyadurai’s analysis. Video screenshot.

In addition, a report by The Spectator claims,All major voting machine vendors, including Dominion, have this feature. This system breaks votes down into fractions and then weights them for some reason. Dominion said the feature was built in for their condo or land ownership customers who may want to tabulate votes based on the amount of land each participant may own.”

Asked if the machines Contra Costa County use save images of all ballots that are inserted and run through the machines, Konopasek responded, “Yes, all scanned ballot images and audit records are saved and stored.”

County’s Agreement Allows Staff to Adjust Tally, More

Santa Clara County Elections also uses the Dominion Voting Systems technology. According to a report on NTD news, a 2019 agreement between Santa Clara County and Dominion shows the system allows staff to adjust the vote tally based on a review of scanned ballot images.

Konopasek was asked if that clause is also in the Contra Costa County’s contract with Dominion. He responded, “Yes, the clause is in our contract as well.  This is in reference to the adjudication process, wherein ballots that are flagged by the scanners with an issue (blank ballots, overvotes, write-ins, voting positions with marks falling below a certain filled threshold) are sent to be reviewed by election staff.  After review of the ballot the staff member makes a determination as to the voters’ intent and informs the system how to count the flagged vote.  The decisions are added to the audit log of each ballot image along with a user and date/time stamp.”

Copies of Agreements Provided

A copy of the complete Contra Costa County has with Dominion Voting Systems was requested on Thursday, Dec. 3. Cooper’s executive secretary, Melissa Hickok provided both a copy of  the 2018 contract and 2020 extension on Wednesday, Dec. 9 before the 10-day requirement for public records requests. They can be viewed here Dominion Contract_030118 and here Dominion_2ndAmendment_022520

Approved by Canciamilla and Supervisors, Contract Increased This Year

An extension to the contract with Dominion for an $183,000 to the original contract and $348,700 more for two additional machines, was signed by Konopasek on Feb. 25, of this year. It was countersigned by a staff member of the County Counsel’s office. Konopasek’s signatures raised the question of why he signed the contracts and not then-County Clerk/Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla in 2018 and the current Clerk/Registrar Cooper, who was appointed to fill the position in January, following Canciamilla’s resignation.

Konopasek responded, “I signed the contracts because I am one of the Clerk-Recorder’s authorized designees.”

Asked who approved the contracts, he responded, “The contract was approved by Joe, the CAO (County Auditor-Controller), County Counsel, and the Board of Supervisors in a public meeting.  Joe and I presented the proposal to the Board, took their questions and responded to public comments before they approved it.  All public record, in plain view and according to the book.”

Another question asked of Konopasek was will the county consider purchasing equipment from an American-based company to avoid concerns about using equipment from a foreign-owned company in U.S. elections and something different with all the flaws discovered with the Dominion technology. Rather than answer the question, he responded, “Dominion is a US Delaware Corporation headquartered in Denver.  Where are you getting your information?” (In response, the information below was provided to him).

Foreign Company

Although its headquarters is in Denver, Colorado, according to a form filed with the State of California in 2014, Dominion was first formed in 2003 in Toronto and then in 2009 in Denver. The company’s principal officers and mailing address, in 2014 were CEO John Poulos, CFO Ian MacVicar, and VP of Product Line Management James Hoover at 215 Spadina Avenue in Toronto.

Purchased in 2018 the Year Soros-Backed Becton Elected DA

The first contract for over $4.1 million was signed by Konopasek on March 1, 2018 and Contra Costa purchased the Dominion technology and used it in the elections, that year. That’s when current District Attorney Diana Becton was elected with the backing through contributions to her campaign by organizations connected to billionaire George Soros, including Real Justice PAC, which endorsed her.

According to a May 2018 L.A. Times report, “Soros, whose spending as of this week in California topped $2.7 million, is the most visible part of the national movement to sway county prosecutor races.” His efforts focused on nine candidates for District Attorney in the state, that year, and primarily targeting four, including Becton.

According to a January 2020 analysis on the Washington Times website, “In the last few years, Soros has taken to trying to take over local law enforcement agencies by pumping massive amounts of money into candidates he favors in key district attorney races.”

An August 2016 Politico report entitled, “George Soros’ quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system” claims “Progressives have zeroed in on electing prosecutors as an avenue for criminal justice reform, and the billionaire financier is providing the cash to make it happen.”

In June 2019, the Washington Post reported that a “A political action committee funded by Democratic mega­donor George Soros has spent nearly $1 million to promote progressive challengers in the Democratic primary races for prosecutor in Arlington and Fairfax (Virginia) counties.” That report also reiterated previous reports that, “Soros-funded PACs have donated heavily to prosecutors’ ­races in counties and cities across the country in recent years as part of a strategy to push liberal criminal justice policies.”

Soros’ Connection to Dominion

According to a Nov. 17, 2020 investigative report by Heavy.com, Dominion has connections to Soros.

Heavy reported, “Since the 2016 election especially, Dominion and other large voting firms have faced increasing Congressional scrutiny. Dominion has ties to the Clinton Foundation. The company has used lobbying firms that employ lobbyists with ties to major figures like Georgia’s Republican governor and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…it has also worked with firms tied to George Soros and Robert Mueller and gets some components from China. A former ambassador named by former President Barack Obama sits on the board of a company that acquired it in 2018.”

Further, the Heavy article reports, “The State of Texas rejected the company’s machines and problems arose with contracted company in the Philippines that has ties to George Soros.”

Ties Between Dominion and China

A Dec. 5 article on the New York-based NTD news website reported, “A $400 million SEC filing links Dominion, UBS and China.

The article reads in part, “Attorney Lin Wood claimed on December 1st that Communist China purchased Dominion Voting for $400 million dollars. Wood published a link to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, showing Dominion Voting Systems’ parent company receiving $400 million dollars from a Swiss bank subsidiary. The transaction itself does not directly show what the attorney alleges it to be. However, it does show ties between the voting software company and the Chinese regime.”

Furthermore, NTD’s article reports, “…a closer look into the (UBS) New York subsidiary shows that among four of its board members, who are appointed by shareholders, three appear to be Chinese. One of them is Ye Xiang, a Chinese national who also served as a board member of Beijing’s based UBS subsidiary.

The person worked at the Chinese regime’s central bank, the state-owned Bank of China, as well as the Hong Kong government’s financial regulatory agencies.

UBS is the first foreign bank that’s allowed to have a fully-licensed securities joint venture in China’s very restricted financial market.”

Penn Wharton study chart on election systems companies’ share of U.S. market. By Penn Wharton.

40% of U.S. Market

According to a 2017 Penn Wharton study, three companies reach over 92% of U.S. voters and Dominion serves 40% of them, second only to Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software. The third largest provider of election systems technology is Austin, Texas-based Hart InterCivic, which has a regional office in Sacramento.

Concerns of Democrat Senators, 2018 Vote Switching Incidents

The concerns are mainly being expressed, this year by Republican officials and attorneys, But according to an MSN news report just last month, “Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar… co-signed letters sent to investors of the three major voting systems used in the U.S. last December, including a Dominion investor…did raise concerns about how investors might be influencing the funding and security of Dominion.”

“The letter drew attention to a handful of incidents during the 2018 midterm elections in which voters reported that the machines they used switched their votes, raising concerns about the machines’ security and the importance of updating voting machine technology whenever possible.”

Video Shows System Flaws Revealed in Georgia

In a two-part video on YouTube entitled “Dominion Voting Machine Flaws — 2020 Election Coffee County, Georgia” it shows how the same ballots can be run through the system multiple times, and that elections office workers can add or change votes on ballots inside the system. (Video Part 1 and Video Part 2)

Douglas Now, the newspaper and website based in Coffee County, GA, which posted the videos, commented on the test of the system, “The Dominion voting machines that Georgia and several other states use are unsecure and open to manipulation during the counting process. This first of two videos shows the weaknesses of the system and the ways in which an unscrupulous election official may alter ballots with virtually no chance of being caught.”

Asked if that is also possible in our county Konopasek responded,I watched most of the videos.  The characterization of ‘changing’ votes is wrong and misleading.  The adjudication process interprets marks the voter made but the scanners could not decipher.”

Contra Costa Machines Not Connected to Internet, But Flash Drives Used

While the machines used by Contra Costa County are not connected to the internet it was learned by the Herald that flash drives are inserted and removed from the voting tabulation machines. New questions about the use of the flash drives were also asked, including how they are used and where do they and the data on them go before, during and after the ballot/vote count.

Konopasek responded with an explanation of the ballot and vote counting process in Contra Costa County.

“The ICE Scanner uses a Compact Flash Card (“CF card”) that contains the parameters for the election and polling site, it also stores the scanned ballot images from voting. Prior to the election two CF cards are formatted and programmed with the election definition and inserted into an ICE Scanner.  The scanner, and cards, are tested and the test results are reset. The cards are sealed inside the scanner with a serialized tamper evident seal.  Election day poll workers verify this seal is unbroken prior to voting.

After voting is completed the poll workers break the seal on one of the two CF cards, put the primary CF card into a transport container and seal the container.  The container is returned to the Elections Division on election night, the CF card is removed and the results and logs from that CF card are uploaded to the voting system.  The secondary card remains sealed in the scanner in case the primary card is damaged or will not properly upload.

After election night the ballot images from the CF cards are transferred to the voting system and stored along with the results and logs.  The secondary card is retrieved from all scanners.

After all images, logs, and results are in the voting system the CF cards are then reformatted for future use.”

Dominion Denies Allegations

In response to the accusations against their technology in last month’s elections, Dominion issued a lengthy statement on their website, updated December 7, 2020, denying any allegations of fraud. In addition, an opinion piece by the co-founder, president and CEO of Dominion, John Poulos, was published in the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 30, further responding to and denying the various accusations against his company’s technology.

Assistant Registrar of Voters Calls Reporting “Baseless Hoax, to Retire Dec. 31

Konopasek who announced, last week, his retirement at the end of the month, offered a comment in response to the questions from the Herald.

“From my perspective you are investigating and reporting on a baseless hoax intended to undermine confidence in our electoral institutions for the benefit of sore losers,” he said. “Bi-partisan experts, Federal, State and local election officials as well as the US the Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security announced the most secure election in recent history.”

National Lawsuits Continue

Additional lawsuits against the results in other states continue in the courts and as of Friday, Dec. 11 at least three have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

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