Idaho Secretary of State Slams Election Denialists
According to misinformation on Lindell's website, Biden received only 130 votes; however, with Democratic and Republican witnesses present, which was captured on video, showed the Democratic candidate received the expected 188 votes. If it sounds like Lindell and smells like Lindell, it must be misinformation.
Conspiracy theorists disseminating false information about the 2020 elections found their way to Idaho, where state officials retaliated with vigor.
Top election officials in Secretary of State Lawrence Wasden's (R) office announced late Wednesday that they had traveled to two counties in the Gem State to conduct a hand recount of last year's presidential election after receiving information from readers of a website linked to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has been widely discredited for spreading easily disproven misinformation.
Wasden's office stated in a statement that it had received allegations, in the form of screenshots from a report published on Lindell's website, that vote counts in all 44 counties in Idaho had been electronically altered.
However, at least seven of Idaho's 44 counties do not use automated phases in the voting process, making the accusations impossible to verify.
These counties, all small rural areas, continue to tally ballots by hand, refusing to utilize any technological equipment or machinery.
Because of the limited amount of votes cast, this method is feasible.
In an interview on Thursday, Chad Houck, Chief Deputy Secretary of State, said the gaps are known as "Flintstone gaps," after the cartoon Stone Age family with a pet dinosaur.
"That isn't necessarily a bad thing. It was a defensive choice, one that could be justified."
According to Houck, Idaho county clerks have reported getting threats after conspiracy theorists disseminated incorrect information regarding vote counts and claimed proof of voting machine hacking.
In the 2020 election, former President Trump defeated incumbent President Biden by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.
According to Mr. McKinney, the county clerk's office and poll workers in certain counties have received threats of violence.
Some of the allegations included alleged geolocations of IP addresses and latitudes and longitudes, which would have put servers on mountain peaks, however improbable that may have been.
According to Houck, Wasden's office is ready to combat misleading information in the hopes of producing objective evidence that would either corroborate or disprove the allegations.
"Anytime you have charges of any crime, regardless of what they are, and in this case enormous fraud," Houck says, "those allegations don't always see or recognize boundaries."
Step one leads you to the conclusion that this is just unlikely.
We did, however, state that if we were given facts, we would "run that information into the ground."
Houck and his Wasden's office colleagues chose to do a hand recount of ballots cast in Butte and Camas counties, which had not utilized voting machines in the previous election.
They were the ones that contacted us. Butte County Clerk Shelly Blackner said that the county contacted her on Tuesday to address the issue.
"When they initially came, Chad Houck did a great job of explaining what they were doing and how they intended to accomplish it. He told us that they were videotaping the events and that they had only just started."
According to the initial results published in Butte County, Trump got 1,193 votes, while Biden received 188 ballots.
Misinformation on Lindell's website stated that Biden received just 130 votes; however, with Democratic and Republican witnesses present, Houck's count of the ballots captured on video showed that the Democratic candidate received the expected 188 votes.
Trump's vote total rose to 1,202, a nine-ballot difference or a 0.63 percent margin of error owing to human error.
"I got the sense that we were very well organized," Blackner said. "We made sure everything was in working order for them."
When it came to Camas County, the official count was inaccurate by one vote: Trump's total rose from 507 to 508, while the 149 ballots cast for Biden were all present and proper.
The results were wrong by 0.14 percent, based on one vote out of 674 casted votes.
It is the latest in a long series of allegations made by Lindell or his supporters about the 2020 elections that have collapsed under even the most basic scrutiny.
Lindell visited Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) earlier this month and instantly claimed that unidentified hackers had altered 100,000 ballots in the state, which Trump easily won.
Merrill rejected Lindell's allegations, for which he offered no supporting proof.
According to Houck, who talked with the Associated Press in an interview, the misinformation continues to spread nearly 11 months after Election Day, even in regions where the results were never in doubt.
"Somewhere along with the line, people need to draw a line in the sand and say this is irrational," he said. "It doesn't justify the expense of wholesale going out and looking for what you think may possibly be a needle in what you think may possibly be a haystack."
Recount debunks MyPillow CEO's election fraud claims