‘That did not happen’: Alabama’s GOP secretary of state pours cold water on MyPillow guy’s voter fraud claims
Alabama’s Secretary of State says there have been “zero” altered votes in his state’s 2020 presidential election results. It’s a sharp rebuke to recent claims from MyPillow CEO and Trump backer Mike Lindell that hackers may have “flipped” 100,000 votes in the state using Bluetooth technology.
“That did not happen,” Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican, told The Independent on Wednesday. “I know that there were no inconsistencies, no irregularities, there were no probes that occurred that resulted in any of our systems being violated that would’ve resulted in the manipulation of numbers in our system. I’m confident in that.”
On Sunday, Mr Lindell, a key Trump ally and one of the country’s most vocal boosters of unfounded election conspiracies, posted a video which praised Alabama as a “role model” in election security, but nonetheless alleged its systems had been “hacked … just like every other state.”
“This was the one time we’re going to have to do a little bit of a deeper dive here. On the surface you can’t see where it happened,” Mr Lindell said in the video. “What I guarantee they’ve had to do in Alabama is the bad people … went deeper into the well. Very deep into the well of how they did the flips.”
Last week, Mr Lindell visited top Alabama officials including governor Kay Ivey and Secretary Merrill, saying he hoped to “test” the state’s voter registry.
“It affected every county in Alabama, it affected every county in the country,” Mr Lindell told The Independent in an interview.
He claimed that in every county in the country, the percentages of voters in certain age groups matches their share of the population in the 2010 census, which he believes proves some kind of fraud occurred, in his estimate likely at the hands of the Chinese government.
Mr Lindell said his team has checked perceived irregularities in the totals in 22 states, and validated them by door-to-door canvasing, though he hasn’t done such on-the-ground work in Alabama. “This isn’t about a Donald Trump or Joe Biden, this is about our country being lost,” he added. Mr Lindell plans to submit a report to the Secretary of State’s office next week.According to Alabama’s election chief, however, the design of the state’s voting machine doesn’t even allow for digital tampering. And the only part of the process that uses Bluetooth is a system for checking in voters at their polling place, before voting occurs, and names can’t be added or subtracted to the list.
“ I think that if somebody is making claims, and they don’t have any evidence to substantiate their position, it’s always best to have a conversation with that individual and make sure you do what you can to educated them with facts,” Mr Merill added. He said he would be happy to review any materials sent to him by the MyPillow CEO, but insisted he’s seen nothing to back up claims of election fraud in Alabama.
MAGA backers have challenged election results across the country — with numerous courts and recounts finding that virtually all of their claims to impactful voter fraud were false — but so far they haven’t gone after places where Donald Trump won as decisively as Alabama in 2020. The ex-president recaptured the state with a more than 26 per cent lead over Joe Biden, snagging more than 500,000 more votes than his rival.
What’s more, Alabama has been a leader in the kind of restrictive voting rules the GOP has been pushing for around the country in recent years, following the demise of key parts of the Voting Rights Act.
That hasn’t stopped Mr Lindell from charging ahead anyway.
The controversial CEO is facing a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for his often unfounded comments about the company’s role in the election, to which he has counter-sued and claimed they violated racketeering laws. (Independent analyses have found that Dominion machines did not flip votes or contribute fraudulent election returns.)
In August, Mr Lindell, who has no cybersecurity experience, hosted a cyber symposium about the 2020 election and claimed without verifiable proof that China committed election fraud.
Copies of widely used voter software by Dominion Voting Systems leaked to attendees of the event, potentially compromising the voting systems used in roughly 30 states, according to experts.
“It’s a game-changer in that the environment we have talked about existing now is a reality,” Matt Masterson, a former top election security official in the Trump administration, told the Associated Press at the time. “We told election officials, essentially, that you should assume this information is already out there. Now we know it is, and we don’t know what they are going to do with it.”
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