For 30 years, the Reader has memorialized in print and online how nearly all local, state, and national legislators, staff within executive agencies, and jurists, regardless of political party, have epically failed in representing the electorates' interests and Constitutionally protected inalienable rights they swore to uphold as mandated by their oath of office.
The recent fast-tracked decision by the five Scott County Board of Supervisors (SCBS) to approve the County Auditor's request to spend over $400,000 to replace the incumbent hardware and software used to verify and document registered voters' eligibility to obtain and cast an election ballot known as “Pollbooks” effectively demonstrates how the public's interests are among the least considered by these so-called representative supervisors and election bureaucrats.
This decision, critical to 2024's general election integrity, occurred during a Thanksgiving holiday calendar week. It was enabled by a rare compression of the standard Committee of the Whole (COW) and subsequent board meeting, normally conducted two days later, into one evening on November 21, 2023.
- Committee of the Whole 405PM (In person and WebExVirtual)-20231121 2210-2 (253.1 MB)MP4 File
- Canvass of Votes 4PM-20231121 2201-1 (2.6 MB)MP4 File
- Board Meeting 430PM 11212023 (59.1 MB)
A total of 15 items to be voted on were presented to the Supervisors as “consent agenda items” in the COW. This means that once a request that requires the board's approval is discussed at the Committee of the Whole, the items requiring Board action would then be added to a “consent agenda,” allowing the supervisors to approve all 15 items at the subsequent Board meeting without further discussion.
These consent agenda items included the Scott County government accepting the transfer of Medic EMS ambulance services' assets and absorbing its employees into the newly formed MEDIC EMS of Scott County department as of January 1, 2024.
When the Board of Supervisors' proposed fast-track consent agenda was published at the county's Web site (ScottCountyIowa.gov/board/board-meetings?folder=enclosures/2023/20231121_Special_Board_Meeting_Canvass_of_Votes_4PM_Committee_of_the_Whole_405PM ), former county supervisor Diane Holst brought the new election pollbook purchase line item to our attention. We had less than 24 hours to investigate before this purchase would be approved.
The 2024 general election promises to be eventful and election integrity is a critical issue with voters nationwide. The mainstream media's disinformation about election irregularities during the 2020 Election, and again during the 2022 Midterms, has been an ongoing orchestrated effort to convince voters these were safe and secure elections. While the evidence continues to mount contrary to the official narrative, that is a subject for another article.
Suffice it to say that media reports claiming all 61 lawsuits challenging the 2020 election results failed in court is false. Only one challenge lost on the merits of the case, the 60 remaining challenges were dismissed based on process issues, with not a scintilla of evidence ever presented or heard by the courts, leaving a huge discrepancy in the media's interpretation of events.
Fast-forward to the end of 2023 and Scott County's plan to introduce new Pollbooks into our election system with less than a year to test, train, and secure for the upcoming 2024 general election. Pollbooks contain the County's voter registration database for checking voters in during an election, confirming their eligibility to vote, and issuing each voter their appropriate ballot for casting their vote. The pollbooks then update the voters database/register with voters' status as having voted. When the election is over and the polls close, the pollbook numbers are compared to the ballot tabulators numbers for verification or to catch problems if the numbers do not match up.
With so many anomalies, including unlawful policies, epic numbers of irregularities were detected and attested to throughout the country relative to pollbooks, voter registers, tabulators, ballots, mail-in ballots and absentee ballots, dropboxes, online Wi-Fi access and hacking, etc., requiring extra scrutiny performing due diligence in vetting any new election equipment, a supervisory duty the SCBS demonstrated precious little interest in providing.
Whether Democrats or Republicans, the primary constituency invariably becomes the county bureaucracy at the expense of Scott County residents/voters. In other words, elected county officials tend to represent the interests of the county and state governments over the those of Scott Countians; in this case, Scott County voters were neglected in order to provide the Scott County Auditor's office with “opportunity.”
Scott County has been using the Iowa Precinct Atlas Consortium's (IPAC) Pollbook software to conduct elections in Scott County. Twelve years ago, IPAC was established to create and support election pollbooks for Iowa counties. Today, 78 of the 99 Iowa counties use IPAC Pollbooks, suggesting the state's wide support for their use.
Yet after new IPAC pollbooks were purchased in 2018, and used successfully for the 2020 General Election and again for the 2022 Midterm Election, as well as for various local and special elections, the Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins, with full and uninformed approval by the SCBS as of a week ago Tuesday, November 21, 2023, voted to purchase all new pollbook services from a private company Adkins Election Services, a subsidiary of Tenex Corporation, for $386,210, including annual support fees of approximately $25,000.
It is important to note that the option to upgrade IPAC's software was declined by Auditor Tompkins, even though there was no cost associated with the upgrade that included a degree of customization for users upon request.
The chief complaint for IPAC Pollbooks, according to Auditor Tompkins, is customer service. Tompkins claims there is only one support person serving all 78 counties during elections. Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) is the operator of IPAC and its Executive Director William Peterson stated in an interview he is adamantly in favor of all auditors' ability to make the best decisions for their counties when choosing election equipment, including pollbook services, independent of outside forces.
That said, Peterson wonders if perhaps Auditor Tompkins might misunderstand IPAC's support protocol. Its primary program manager fields all incoming calls for support and redirects them to the proper team member with the appropriate resources depending on the users' particular problem(s). The number of available support staff is robust and has historically met the support needs of its users. Call logs for support tickets are maintained and would provide evidence into the kinds of difficulties, or delays in support, if any, Scott County election officials have had with IPAC pollbooks during elections.
Because Pollbooks do not have certification criteria, nor regulated as part of election equipment, it is even more incumbent upon local election officials and elected supervisors to do a deep dive into the purchases of such critical importance in securing safe and fair elections that are trusted by voters, now more than ever.
Below is the memo requesting SCBS' authorization from Auditor Tompkins, as well as the questions submitted several hours before Tuesday's meeting to both the Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins and the five Scott County Board Supervisors for their investigative efforts.
To: Scott County Board of Supervisors From: Kerri Tompkins Re: Election Pollbooks
Date: November 21, 2023
The Auditor’s Office has requested and received quotes for the replacement of Pollbooks. The equipment being replaced was last purchased in 2018 and these have exceeded their life expectancy.
Pollbooks are essential in conducting an election. This tool holds the state data for voter registration and is necessary to process each individual voter before they can cast their ballot. Due to technology advancements, new equipment is more user friendly for set‐up, transportation and overall easier to use.
The quote summary of qualified responses is as follows:
Auditor and IT staff both recommend Adkins Election Services for Tenex Software Solutions as the best fit for Scott County. We considered experience in Iowa, hardware and software qualifications and support services. Tenex is currently used in 18 other Iowa counties with an excellent reputation for implementation and on‐going customer service relations. The Tenex product stood out as a robust tool that is easy to use with the highest level of technology available at this time. In addition, Adkins Election Services has a full support system that is familiar with specifics of Iowa elections. No other company has this capability.
In working with both David Farmer, Budget and Admin Services Director and Matt Hirst, IT Director, the ongoing costs for software maintenance and support will be absorbed in the IT budget. Therefore, the $29,700 annual fee will be due in year two, as referenced above.
It is recommended that the Board approve the quote from Adkins Election Services in the amount of $386,210. Budget dollars are available in the Capital Improvement Program budget to fund respective costs in this project.
This product is a great opportunity for the Scott County Auditor’s Office. I will be available at the November 21st Committee of the Whole meeting and would be happy to answer any questions. Thank you for your consideration.
Former Scott County Supervisor Diane Holst's Comments & Questions:
The replacement equipment being considered today is non-voting election technology that has been described as an overlooked vulnerability in election systems. Unlike the actual voting systems that have standards and means of testing, this technology does not have that requirement.
Tenex claims that their Precinct Central runs in a completely isolated space on the iPad and in the Cloud to prevent malicious attacks. What I have learned about these poll books is that they access Bluetooth to communicate with the poll books within that precinct, it connects to the Cloud, and one assumes it also connects for product updates and patching.
Tenex offers a feature called “Live Results”, describing it as “A reliable platform is key for election night reporting. Publish results on a secure proven platform to provide transparency and accessibility for voters, candidates and media. Calling yourself “proven platform” is not the same as equipment that is required to be tested and have an established standard.
How does the Live Results feature work if there’s not an interface with the voting equipment? How does a poll book, which is checking in your voters, roll up election night reporting? This is placing our vote totals on a wireless device capable of connecting with the internet and again on technology that has no required testing. If the poll book isn’t specifically set to kiosk mode, it is open to the internet, and anything that can be turned on can be turned off by someone with malicious intent.
Iowa code (49.77) provides no requirement or oversight of “an electronic election register,” should the commissioner elect to use the electronic poll book. Since HAVA has no certification of the non-voting technology, our legislation does not address requirements of that electronic register and assure the public that their votes are secure?
No product is safe, but with the product we currently have, the Iowa precinct Atlas Consortium, our commissioner has guaranteed that our poll books are not connected to the internet and have no wireless capability and are not operating in the Cloud. Can that same statement be made about Tenex?
The Iowa Precinct Atlas Consortium is the lowest bid, is the choice the taxpayers count on you to make, and at the same time protects the interests of the voters. Please vote NO on the selection of Adkins Election Services AKA Tenex.
Reader Publisher Todd McGreevy's Comments and Questions
Dear Scott County Board of Supervisors and Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins:
At this afternoon's 4pm BOS Committee of the Whole and Board meeting, please consider supporting tabling item #10 on the Consent Agenda regarding approval to spend $386,000 purchasing new Election Pollbooks until more public input and clarifying questions are answered about such an important infrastructure commitment is made regarding Scott County's election management.
Technically, it is worth understanding how the Consent Agenda for Tuesday Nov 21, 2023 4pm meeting was established. The COW starts at 4:05pm and the Board Meeting at 4:30pm.
Item #10 this email is about is linked below:
Where is the opportunity for public review of the consent items prior to the Board Meeting within the 25 minute window allotted?
I've searched the minutes of prior meetings and do not find any information from the Auditor regarding Election Pollbook replacement options.
Please confirm or correct me in that Tuesday November 21, 2023 Consent item #10 is the FIRST time the County Board of Supervisors have been presented information about this Resolution request.
In addition to the fast tracking of such an important Resolution, a review of Auditor Tompkins memo supporting the $386K expenditure generates the following questions the public should have answers for, prior to approving Consent Item #10 on Tuesday November 21, 2023:
1) Item 10 memo from Auditor Tompkins states in part: “The Tenex product stood out as a robust tool that is easy to use with the highest level of technology available at this time.”
a) What testing or hands on usage was conducted by who at the Auditor's office that resulted in the Tenex product standing out? How did it stand out?
b) How is Tenex easier to use than the current Iowa Precinct Atlas Consortium product? Easier to use for Auditor staff or the voting public? Was the voting public engaged to test such equipment for ease of use?
c) How is Tenex “the highest level of technology available” ? Is that measuring the hardware or the software? How are you defining the highest technology available?
d) Can Tenex hardware operate using the Iowa Precinct Atlas Consortium software?
2) Item 10 memo from Auditor Tompkins states in part: “In addition, Adkins Election Services has a full support system that is familiar with specifics of Iowa elections. No other company has this capability.”
a) “a system familiar with specifics of Iowa elections” indicates that the value being offered is operational or software driven, and not equipment driven . . . what is an example of Adkins/Tenex's familiarity with specifics of Iowa elections that no other company provides?
b) If the unique capability is related to a “support system” please identify what assets or attributes of this “support system” are not provided by the other bidders.
c) What specifically does Tenex provide that Iowa Precinct Atlas Consortium does not provide? https://www.iowacounties.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IPAC-Brochure.pdf
3) Item 10 memo from Auditor Tompkins states in part: “This product is a great opportunity for the Scott County Auditor’s Office.”
a) What is the product exactly? How many pollbooks, what operating system, what RAM, memory, technical specs? How many recently used pollbooks are currently owned by the County?
b) What election software will be implemented on these new pollbook units?
c) Is the software the product being referred to or the hardware?
d) How is “this product a great opportunity for the Scott County Auditor's Office”? Is there a deliverable or feature Tenex provides the Auditor's staff or the voting public that Iowa Precinct does not provide?
4) Item 10 memo from Auditor Tompkins states in part:"The equipment being replaced was last purchased in 2018 and these have exceeded their life expectancy."
a) What is the life expectancy of the proposed new equipment?
b) What was the advertised life expectancy of the current equipment?
c) When did the current equipment exceed its life expectancy?
5) Item 10 memo from Auditor Tompkins states in part: "Budget dollars are available in the Capital Improvement Program budget to fund respective costs in this project."
a) Were CIP funds used to acquire the current equipment in 2018?
b) What portion of the $386K is hardware vs software? Is there a breakdown of the components? Can CIP funds be used to acquire software?
Blaring Collective Silence
Americans will ultimately reject the impotent sidelines of partisan political patronage to reengage in meaningful civic participation.
The rule of law, myriad cultural norms, and basic common sense are increasingly ignored to advance trending partisan agendas that serve groups' narrow interests, while sowing vastly wider societal destabilization that forsakes social justice, fairness, peace and prosperity.
More importantly, lawmakers and bureaucrats, regardless of political party affiliation, have persisted in blatant lawlessness by violating Americans' constitutionally protected rights with impunity, mostly because we tolerate it with blaring collective silence.
When Americans finally decide we've had enough, the chaos will stop if replaced with government accountability that includes a nonnegotiable policy of full transparency except in the rarest national security interest. But first and foremost we must discard the shackles of partisan politics, specifically designed to capture an entire citizenry in an arena of endless delusions of civic relevancy.