By Patrick Colbeck

Evidence of 2020 election fraud continues to bubble to the surface of the American consciousness in spite of attempts to suppress the release of such information. As the evidence mounts, so does the call for forensic audits all across America including my home state of Michigan. Unfortunately, some elected officials who should know better seem confused by the call for a forensic audit.

Jocelyn Benson is the Michigan Secretary of State

So, is the term “Forensic Audit” a “thing” or not? Well, to anyone familiar with audits, it is most certainly is a “thing”.

SOURCE: ClearTax.In

Admittedly, the definition above is an accountant’s view of a forensic audit. Audits are not unique to accountants, however. Audits are common in manufacturing or pretty much any industry where customers are interested in quality. We don’t use the term often in America regarding elections because Americans have historically trusted the integrity of our elections on the whole. Sadly, that trust has been fading ever since the dangling chad drama of the 2000 election. Due to the preponderance of evidence of election fraud in the 2020 election, there are now demands for election audits all across America.

So, how would election officials like the Michigan Secretary of State define an audit?

“Following the canvass of an election, counties and Bureau of Elections staff will conduct a thorough review of pre-election and election day documents to determine if procedures were properly followed according to state law and established procedure.”

SOURCE: Post-Election Audit Manual, State of Michigan Secretary of State, 1.15.2020

The addition of the word “forensic” before the word “audit” simply means that the audit rigor would be sufficient to attest to substantive facts in a court of law.

To date in Michigan, there have been zero audits in accordance with the definition adopted by the Michigan Secretary of State much less any forensic audits.

“There’s something of a misconception there, that I think probably needs to be addressed. That wasn’t an audit, per se. That was a hand count that the Secretary did to try to reassure the public that the results were accurate…”.

Assistant MI Attorney General Erik Grill, during oral arguments in reference to the forensic audit ordered by Judge Kevin Elsenheimer on December 4, 2020. Note that Erik Grill was representing the defense in the Antrim County court case entered by Attorney Matt DePerno on behalf of his client Bill Bailey.

As if that weren’t enough, even the self-proclaimed “fact checkers” at USA Today acknowledge there have been no audits in Michigan.

So, why are some election officials such as Antrim County election lawsuit defendant Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, claiming that an audit has been performed while others such as Attorney Matt DePerno, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and even USA Today claim that an audit has not been performed?

It comes down to the level of rigor demanded by each party. Less rigor favors those disposed to committing election fraud. More rigor favors those disposed to exposing election fraud. A forensic audit would ensure significant rigor.

Types of Audits

The premise of an audit is simple. Say what you do. Do what you say.

During my career, I have conducted multiple audits in a professional capacity. My companies have also been subject to audits. I have also been personally subject to an audit by the IRS. In other words, I am no stranger to the term “audits”.

It is important to note that when I was audited by the IRS, they didn’t ask me to simply re-add the cells on my 1040 form. That is analogous to a “recount” when dealing with elections. They demanded that I provide a paper trail for all of the expenses that I listed. That is an audit. That’s what citizens should be able to expect when an elected official states that an audit of the election has been conducted.

In industry, there are generally two types of audits conducted:

  • Field Audits: Analysis of whether or not there is evidence that those actually responsible for executing established procedures actually do so
  • Book Audits: Analysis of whether or not the established procedures are in compliance with an industry standard

Audits of election records would generally fall into the “Field Audit” category. “Book audits” would generally be reserved for election officials seeking to demonstrate that their election procedures comply with state law and procedures. Book audits would also be suitable for lawmakers seeking to plug any chain of custody gaps in existing law.

There is certainly value for each of these audits, but, a forensic field audit of election records is most valuable in support of court proceedings and election result canvassing activities.

Field Audits

So what would a true forensic audit of an election look like? In short, it would examine whether or not “election procedures were properly followed according to state law and established procedure” in a sufficiently rigorous manner as to serve as evidence in a court of law.

State-Specific Election Field Audits

The purpose of a state-specific election field audit is to demonstrate that election officials complied with state election statutes, state election procedures and local election procedures. In America, state law varies from state to state. Subsequently, the state and local procedures derived from such laws will vary significantly from state to state. So, there is no common, official “template” for a forensic audit that could be used for all 50 states.

So what would a state-specific forensic audit look like?

The key records needed to determine the checklist for a state-specific forensic audit are as follows:

  1. Constitution (State and Federal)
  2. Statute (i.e. State and federal election laws)
  3. State Procedures (e.g. election manuals, training materials)
  4. Local Procedures (e.g. election manuals, training materials)

Example: Michigan

Each provision of the following documents would need to be converted into an audit checklist:

Michigan Constitution: Article II Section 4 Place and Manner of Elections

State Election Statutes: MCL 168.*

State Election Procedures: Michigan Elections Manual

Local Election Procedures: Detroit Elections Manual

NOTE: The State of Michigan has developed a Post-Election Audit Manual but it is unclear whether or not any book audit has been performed in order to ensure that this audit manual is in compliance with state election statutes and the Michigan Election Manual.

Generic Election Field Audits

Just because we don’t yet have a generic field audit template applicable to any election (across all countries, states, and municipalities) does not mean that it could not be developed. The concept of election record chain of custody does provide a common thread which could be used across all 50 states whether or not it has been codified into law or formalized in election manuals. In much the same way that a criminal court case can be thrown out if it is demonstrated that the chain of custody regarding key evidence was tampered with, the election results could be thrown out if it is demonstrated that the chain of custody regarding key election regards was tampered with.

This audit would establish whether or not the election was conducted in accordance with widely acknowledged best practices but not specifically state election law or election procedures. Ideally, a field audit of an election would be preceded by a book audit of state election law and election procedures against a chain of custody checklist. In that way, the state election law and election procedures would have already been reconciled against the chain of custody.

The audit checklist for a Generic Election Field Audit is based upon key questions and records specific to the election chain of custody. You can download my rudimentary Generic Election Field Audit Guide at the following link:

Generic Election Forensic Audit Guidelines

My recommended Generic Election Forensic Audit Report can be downloaded via the following link:

Generic Election Forensic Audit Report Template

Book Audits

The purpose of a book audit is to demonstrate that election laws and procedures comply with established election standards. Book audits do not involve looking at election records from a given election. Book audits are best performed prior to an election.

There are multiple examples of book audits that should be conducted to ensure election integrity:

  • Compliance of state statutes with State Constitution
  • Compliance of state election procedures with state statutes
  • Compliance of local election procedures with state election procedures
  • Compliance of state statutes with chain of custody requirements
  • Compliance of state procedures with chain of custody requirements
  • Compliance of local election procedures with chain of custody requirements
  • Compliance of state election audit manuals with state election law and state election procedures

Book audits should be performed periodically to ensure that all of the statutes and procedures remain consistent with one another.

Conclusions

The best way to ensure that an election was conducted with integrity is to execute a forensic field audit of election records.

If your state has yet to ensure that the integrity of the chain of custody is protected under state law, I recommend conducting a forensic audit in accordance with the Generic Election Field Audit guidelines. If your state has already ensured that their existing election laws and election procedures protect the integrity of the chain of custody pertaining to election records, I recommend conducting a forensic audit in accordance with the State-Specific Election Field Audit guidelines.

In light of the eroding trust in our election integrity, many state legislators are pursuing election reform legislation. It is important that these legislators truly understand election fraud risks before doing so. If legislators are serious about election integrity, I recommend conducting the following book audits prior to introducing any legislation:

  • Compliance of state statutes with chain of custody requirements
  • Compliance of state procedures with chain of custody requirements
  • Compliance of local election procedures with chain of custody requirements
  • Compliance of state election audit manuals with state election law and state election procedures

It is safe to assume that any legislator who does not have a substantive understanding of election integrity risks but still insists upon introducing election reform legislation is simply looking for a bullet point on their campaign literature in the next election.

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Dave
4 months ago

We do audits for networks, systems, and data retrieval. Many don’t want truth, but will live a lie. Beginning of Wisdom is personally knowing God.

Mary Green
Mary Green
29 days ago

What good does a petition actually do?

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