Although election integrity is listed as a "critical issue" on the NC GOP's website, the party's convention in Greensboro earlier this month was marred by numerous complaints by delegates of issues and irregularities with the electronic voting process at the convention, including a custom app designed for the convention by the political consulting firm Cardinal GPS. In addition, the election process for the chairman's race was so delayed that the votes for vice-chair and party platform could not take place.
John Kane, the "grassroots" candidate challenging incumbent chairman Michael Whatley, has refused to concede, referring to the election process as "fake" and a "sham" to his supporters on the night of the vote.
In a letter to Chairman Whatley the following Wednesday, Kane cited irregularities and concerns with the election process used at the convention:
1. Votes Cast from Out of State - Votes were cast from Wisconsin and Florida, a direct violation of the rules requiring a Delegate to be present on the floor of the convention to cast a vote.
2. Non-Delegates Cast Votes - Convention Guests voting from the lobby of the convention.
3. Over-Votes - Over-votes from multiple counties.
4. Under-Votes - Under-votes from multiple counties (approx. 52).
5. Voter Suppression - Delegates who did not vote because they had to excuse themselves to use the restroom and were barred from re-entering the convention floor.
1. No Paper Trail - The voting app and electronic kiosks have no paper audit trails that can be manually counted by "bi-partisan" teams to verify the electronic results.
2. No Voter Verification - County delegates have not been afforded the opportunity to verify the list of credentialed delegates in their County.
3. No Reconciliation - No accounting of the number of credentialed delegates in each County and the number of votes cast by County. Further, Final delegate count The number of delegates who registered and checked in at the State Convention in Greensboro has not yet been revealed.
4. No Logic and Accuracy Testing - No disclosure of an L&A test; if one was conducted there has been no transparency as to who devised the L&A test, who conducted the test, and who provided oversight of the test.
5. No Secret Ballots - You, your staff, and the voting app developer all have complete and unfettered access to how each delegate cast their vote; yet, each voter has no way to be certain that their vote was counted for the candidate for whom they voted.
Kane's letter summarizes election integrity concerns with the electronic voting process which had been publicized before the election occurred; but attempts at the convention to switch to a paper ballot process were unsuccessful. The vote ultimately took place using both kiosks at the convention as well as the as through the convention app.
As far as I can tell, based on conversation with disgruntled delegates, the votes being cast from locations the convention floor from as far away as Florida or Wisconsin were due to delegates attempting to demonstrate that the electronic voting process was lacking important safeguards.
Skepticism of an election process often goes hand-in-hand with skepticism of the result, but even the Kane supporting delegates I spoke to did not necessarily go as far as to claim that the 60-40 result in favor of Whatley would have gone the other way with a more secure and confidence-inducing process.
Although at least two of the delegates I spoke with told me they were assured the app was using geolocation or other technology to prevent offsite voting, I confirmed with a member of the Granville County GOP executive committee that a Granville County delegate was able to successfully vote using the app from Creedmoor, over 60 miles from Greensboro where the convention was taking place. The Granville GOP issued a letter after the convention, referring to the election process as a "debacle" and calling on the NC GOP and Chairman Whatley to take responsibility and ensure that the issues "never, ever happen again".
The app in question was developed by Cardinal GPS, a "full-service political consulting and fundraising firm" located outside of Raleigh, NC which boasts experience in "national organizations, working on Capitol Hill, statewide grassroots operations, legal/compliance, media, and digital advertising". Public records show that the organization has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from Republican campaigns and county parties in North Carolina since 2021.
The NC GOP, Cardinal GPS, and John Kane were all reached out to before publication of this article, but did not choose to comment.