A man alleging election wrongdoing in last year’s Dallas College bond election testified this week that he saw poll watcher intimidation and that he suspected a blue cable made the results vulnerable to hackers.
The lawsuit is prohibiting the distribution of $1 billion in bond funding that the college wants to use for its expansion and other needs. Election results showed overwhelming support for the bond proposal, with 71.46% of voters approving the measure in May 2019.
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Kirk Launius is seeking to void the election through his suit, which claims that the true results can’t be determined because of irregularities. Dallas College officials have called the suit frivolous, and their attorneys say Launius has offered no proof of any wrongdoing.
Launius testified that while he was working as a poll watcher, tensions began to rise as election officials repeatedly told poll watchers that they were obstructing the voting process, although they were legally allowed to observe.
“I was making notes and actually completing a handwritten affidavit at that point because we kept saying, ‘Where is the presiding judge? Because we’re not obstructing. You’re obstructing us,’” Launius said.
Poll watchers weren’t provided seating, though the state allows them to sit or stand while observing, Launius said. So after leaning against an unstable table that he described as dangerous, he brought his own stool. But then he was asked to move from the central counting room to the ballot room by election officials, he said, adding that this was a way to “keep us in our lane.”
Launius testified that although he is not an expert, he suspected that a blue cable connected to a laptop accumulating votes could have been vulnerable to hackers because, he believes, the cable connected the elections system to the internet.
Lawyers representing Dallas College say Launius’ testimony is all speculation. If there is evidence to support his claims of illegal election activity, he should be able to present it when asked, they say, but he hasn’t.
“Whether the election was influenced or affected by the things that Mr. Launius observed is not a legal conclusion,” said Adam Rothey, one of the attorneys for Dallas College.
Rothey noted that Launius, while watching at the poll, had no way of knowing whether Dallas County’s election systems were connected to the internet. He pointed to a pretrial statement Launius gave in which he said that while he was a poll watcher, he did not have direct access to the cables.
Asked specifically if he new whether illegal votes were being counted, Launius said, “I’m just not going to answer yes or no; it’s more complex than that.”
Dallas College attorneys have asked, if there was fraud as pervasive as Launius claims, why didn’t all the losing candidates contest the election results?
The trial is expected to continue through Dec. 14.