On Wednesday, October 11th, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted at the Talbot County Community Center, coordinated by several including Councilmember Dave Stepp and the Talbot County Republican Central Committee, entitled “Maryland Voter Integrity Group: Are you interested in secure elections?”
The speaker, Mrs. Robyn Sachs, is a self-proclaimed voter advocate. Mrs. Sachs used this veiled event and her phony credentials to spew misinformation and disinformation regarding elections, created confusion, and further perpetuated lies and conspiracy theories that directly disenfranchise voters. Sadly and unacceptably, this event took place in a Talbot County government building, under the great seal of Talbot County.
Let’s consider that for a moment, our government buildings are being used to facilitate the spread of disinformation and misinformation. In attendance among others were Senator Johnny Mautz, Delegate Tom Hutchison, Easton Council President Frank Gunsallus and Sheriff Joe Gamble.
Some highlights of the misinformation and disinformation presented in this meeting:
Speculation that the US Federal Government in partnership with ATT and Verizon are actively engaged in undermining local elections using private servers installed behind the firewalls of our Board of Election offices that communicate clandestinely using the ATT FirstNet and Verizon wireless networks.
Fact: The Department of Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provide infrastructure and resources to local Boards of Election offices to protect elections and provide cybersecurity capabilities.
State of Maryland blank ballot data was presented in such a way to raise questions around pervasive voter fraud or vote manipulation.
Fact: Blank ballots are a result of individuals not completing questions on second, third or fourth pages of a ballot. Often voters will skip ballot questions which reside on the additional pages.
A local analysis of 2022 Talbot County voter data was presented, calling out perceived abnormalities that lead the Maryland Voter Integrity group to purport there is voter fraud in Talbot County.
Fact: This analysis was completed by an individual, Mr. David Morseburger, with no credentials for the inspection of voter data.
The misinformation and disinformation shared at tonight’s event perpetuates and recruits individuals to spread these ideas in Talbot County. We have not been immune in Talbot County to voter suppression and intimidation activities – in fact, in the ’22 election cycle the Talbot County Democratic Central Committee received several verified reports of door knocking campaigns to interrogate residents on their voting history, a civil rights violation.
I left this event feeling shaken and deeply disturbed that these lies are being spread in our community, behind the four walls of our local government buildings, endorsed or attended by numerous local politicians. Misinformation and disinformation leads to further fractures in our community, when we need to be working together as one.
As I reflect on the past several weeks, I’m deeply troubled at what is being prioritized in this county. Council members voting against a proclamation to support voter education week endorsed by our Board of Elections while at the same time endorsing this event.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?