Thursday, August 8, 2019

"Lost thumb drive changes [Mississippi] Coast Senate race"

With all precincts in Tuesday night, incumbent Rep. Scott DeLano held a 33-vote lead over Biloxi City Councilwoman Dixie Newman. That lead was without the affidavit votes, but DeLano declared the victory late Tuesday evening.

“We look at these elections and see how many affidavits that are out there. It’s very unusual to make a really big difference in the outcome,” told the Sun Herald Tuesday night. “Even though it’s razor-thin, we expect it to fall in line with what the vote came out of those individual precincts.”

It wasn’t the affidavits, but a thumb drive that changed the race Wednesday afternoon.

“There was a drive that was left out from the D’Iberville Civic Center,” Newman’s campaign manager Holly Gibbes said. “Those numbers were never counted. (Harrison County Circuit Clerk) Connie Ladner‘s office produced that thumb drive today and added it in.

“The thumb drive and all the affidavits, absentees and what could be counted is what put Dixie up by one vote.”
Ten precincts throughout the county had two ballot scanning machines. The information from each scanner ends up on a thumb drive, and that info is read off the drive to get the master vote total election night.

Though the bags that carry all of the election materials from the precincts to the courthouse for tallying were marked if they had two thumb drives, someone failed to remove one of the two North Bay precinct drives from the bag Tuesday night. That mistake was discovered Wednesday afternoon as the election commission verified the affidavits and reconciled the election books and other materials.
Related, from Motherboard today:
For years, U.S. election officials and voting machine vendors have insisted that critical election systems are never connected to the internet and therefore can’t be hacked.

But a group of election security experts have found what they believe to be nearly three dozen backend election systems in 10 states connected to the internet over the last year, including some in critical swing states. These include systems in nine Wisconsin counties, in four Michigan counties, and in seven Florida counties—all states that are perennial battlegrounds in presidential elections.