Voting machine experts arrived in the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday and began auditing machines used in the MArch 4 Democratic primary that unsuccessful candidates in that election say might have been tampered with. Three employees of Chicago-based Data Defenders set up laptops and organized some of the equipment from the previously impounded electronic voting machines at the Hidalgo County elections annex building shortly after a 9 a.m. meeting with Hidalgo County elections administration and District Attorney’s Office officials. The Data Defenders scheduled themselves to be in town collecting data for the rest of the week. Then they’ll return to their Chicago facilities for the “analysis part” of the process, said Murray Moore, an assistant district attorney overseeing a grand jury investigation into potential criminal conduct related to tampering with the machines. Moore said she hoped to have results from the analysis next month. “Think of it more like a DNA test, not like an autopsy,” she said, explaining that the process takes weeks instead of hours to complete. The data collection is open to the public, though only three media members and two members of the general public, including Sergio Muñoz Sr., sat in the observation area of the Hidalgo County elections annex to watch the process Tuesday morning.
Texas: Day before final election contest trial, Hidalgo County to hire voting machine expert | The Monitor
An investigation into criminal vote tampering took a step forward Tuesday as the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court approved a $110,000 appropriation for a grand jury to hire an election machine auditor. Commissioners approved the payment, which came from seized gambling funds at the District Attorney’s Office, to go toward a grand jury investigation. The grand jury is expected to hire a Chicago-based forensic analyst to investigate possible tampering with electronic voting machines used in the March 4 Democratic primary, said Murray Moore, a DA’s Office attorney supervising the case. The impact of the investigation on the six election challenges filed by unsuccessful primary candidates could be null. Some of the election contestants filed motions to have their trials delayed pending the grand jury-ordered analysis. But five cases have already been denied, and the sixth — that of Paul Vazaldua in the justice of the peace Precinct 2 Place 2 race — is set for trial Wednesday. “Basically, this is for the grand jury investigation only,” Moore said. The grand jury will hire Data Defenders, a Chicago-based election auditing firm, to conduct the analysis, Moore said. A man who answered the phone at the number listed on Data Defenders’ website declined comment Tuesday, saying he was too busy.