Here is audio of Governor Ricketts and Senators Clements and Linehan answering questions about election integrity concerns. (Warning: If you think that our elections are problematic, then their responses might piss you off.)
This was from a town hall Ricketts held on Voter ID a couple of days ago. When I say that this is the kind of accountability that we need--confronting our elected officials face to face rather than allowing them to repeatedly brush us off--what I mean is that this kind of thing only works when more of us are doing it and when we don't let up. As I've said before, getting better behavior from our government is no different than trying to get better behavior from a toddler. The discipline has to be consistent and never just a "one and done" scolding. That never works.
The responses given by Ricketts, Clements, and Linehan in this audio is just more evidence for why it is that I believe people need to stop making excuses for Republicans (even the "good" ones). Arguments that we mustn't rock the boat among conservatives in an election year, but should instead unite with the Republican Party, are absurd. They have not served conservatives well, and election time is precisely the time to put them all in the spotlight and conduct thorough interviews with them regarding the position in government which they are asking to hold. We have seen what happens when we don't.
Although I do not expect any meaningful response from the governor's office (if I even get a response at all!), I did compose a letter to send to his Chief of Staff, as Ricketts suggested in the audio. That letter is posted below. Feel free to send the same letter or your own to his Chief of Staff as well. (That would be Matt Miltenberger firstname.lastname@example.org.) But what we really need is more people engaging in peaceful confrontations with our elected officials to demand answers and accountability from them face-to-face. I truly believe that such confrontations are the only peaceful option that we have to try to get any elected officials who may still have a smidgeon of integrity left within them to do the right thing. When we do not make any efforts to truly hold them accountable it is certainly easier for them to continue to side with the elites instead of with "we the people." The window of time in which peaceful intervention with a government that no longer listens to the people is growing smaller by the day.
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Good morning, Matt. I spoke with Governor Ricketts at the town hall in Nebraska City for the Voter ID initiative. Many Nebraskans have concerns that the contract that exists between the State of Nebraska and ES&S results in a violation of Article 1-22 of the Nebraska State Constitution. Governor Ricketts said I should direct my concerns to you.
I would like to receive a written response to two specific concerns.
The first is that I would like an explanation of how it is that the terms of the ES&S contract do not pose an impediment to the right of eligible Nebraska voters to exercise the elective franchise. The process of voting does not end when one marks a ballot, but continues through until the counting of the vote. We know, according to Secretary of State Bob Evnen, that it is the machines that count the votes. All oversight of the machines is internal. There is no outside oversight of our elections, and if you examine the "Security Requirements" portion of the ES&S contract, you will find that the contract contains within it an agreement of non-disclosure that would prevent Nebraskans from ever knowing ANYTHING about the results of the security testing. It is forbidden. How is Article 1-22 of our state constitution not being violated when voters in Nebraska are being denied the transparency necessary to know that our votes are being counted as they are cast and that our voting system is a secure one?
The second concern that I would like to have addressed is regarding the claims that the machines in our elections do not connect to the internet. Can you please provide an explanation for what the "Security Requirements" portion of the ES&S contract is referencing? The contract specifically refers to "anti-virus protections" and "intrusion detection methods," to include vulnerability scans and penetration testing. It seems that such security testing requirements would not be necessary if vulnerabilities did not exist, and we know that they do because the Department of Homeland security designated the cybersecurity of our elections as critical infrastructure because the threats and vulnerabilities are so great. We also know that the use of Albert sensors allows remote access to the services provided by ES&S.
Despite these potential vulnerabilities, "we the people" are not permitted any outside oversight of our elections. Senator Linehan asked me at the town hall event what it is that I mean by "outside oversight." Currently, all oversight is internal and conducted by those who have declared the November 2020 election to have been "the most secure in American history." Outside oversight would mean that "we the people'' have some assurances that our elections provide us with the transparency that is required for there to be no hindrance or impediment to our constitutionally protected right to know that our votes are counted as they are cast. With no outside oversight of the machines that count the votes, I believe that our elections are being conducted in a manner which is unconstitutionally impeded and fraught with conflicts of interest and opportunities for undue influence.
It should also be considered a conflict of interest when no outside oversight by "we the people" is permitted and yet Secretary of State Bob Evnen's own name is on the ballot. Governor Ricketts' answer to me when I spoke with him was that "we the people" should trust those whom we elect to handle things for us. As I informed Governor Ricketts when he suggested that I take my concerns to Secretary of State Evnen (I have!), the man that Ricketts has endorsed to continue to serve as our Secretary of State has been proven to have lied to us and to have been negligent (at best) in the oversight he has previously provided regarding our elections.
Evnen claims that it was many months after the election that he learned about the $400,000 of Zuckerberg grant money that was spent in Lancaster County. He also has made claims that the grant money was spent on PPE in response to COVID-19. But this was not true. The report accounting for how every penny of the grant money was spent shows that not one red cent of it went toward PPE. In addition to not being accurate with Nebraskans about how the money was spent, Evnen has also made the claim that the Zuckerberg money had no influence on the outcome of any elections in Lancaster County. But how could he possibly know that the money had no influence on the outcome when he appears not to have known how the money was actually spent? The document detailing how the money was spent was easily obtainable by voters, and as oversight of our elections is Evnen's job, he should have known better. This negligence from the man that so many Republicans in our state have endorsed for reelection is something that many voters find concerning.
There is a mountain of evidence--much more than I have included in this letter-- that demonstrates why voters in the state of Nebraska no longer hold faith in the election process in our state. This is not the first time that I have reached out to the governor's office regarding my concerns about election integrity. The concerns of myself and of other Nebraskans have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears, including those of Secretary of State Bob Evnen whose job it is to provide oversight of our elections and who has demonstrated, at the very least, a proven negligence in the elected position that he holds and for which Governor Ricketts and many other Republicans in our state have continued to recommend him.
Many Nebraskans hold no faith in our election process. There is still time for Governor Ricketts to pursue election integrity in earnest before November by removing the vulnerable and corruptible ES&S services from being used in our elections. He would be a hero, not only to our state but to our nation, if he did. Voter ID is a no-brainer and we should have had it already, but it in no way addresses the real problems that exist with election security in our state. I would be happy to visit with you to go over this further, for as I have previously stated, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a review of the reasons that many believe our elections and the constitutional officer who holds the elected position of providing oversight of our elections (Evnen) can no longer be trusted.
I look forward to hearing from your office.