Posts with «voting issues & results» label

Amazon ordered to rerun contentious Alabama union election

Amazon will have to redo the union election held at its Bessemer, Alabama fulfillment center back in April. According to Politico, Lisa Henderson, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 10 Director, has ordered the e-commerce giant to hold another vote mostly due to the fact that Amazon installed a US Postal Service mailbox in front of the warehouse to collect ballots. 

The election results were 1,798 to 738, with workers voting against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). After those results came out, the RWDSU filed 23 objections, accusing the company of interfering with the elections. One of those complaints pointed out that Amazon installed the ballot box without approval from the NLRB and in view of security cameras that made workers feel they were under surveillance. The labor relations board sided with the union and found that Amazon interfered with the election by installing the mailbox and offering employees anti-union badges and signs. 

Henderson wrote in the documents ordering a new election:

"By causing the Postal Service to install a cluster mailbox unit, communicating and encouraging employees to cast their ballots using the mailbox, wrapping the mailbox with its slogan, and placing the mailbox at a location where employees could reasonably believe they were being surveilled, the Employer engaged in objectionable conduct that warrants setting aside the election.

The Employer’s flagrant disregard for the Board’s typical mail-ballot procedure compromised the authority of the Board and made a free and fair election impossible."

Amazon, of course, criticized the NLRB's decision. In a statement sent to The Washington Post, spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement:

"Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU earlier this year. It's disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count."

DOJ charges two Iranian hackers for threatening US voters during 2020 election

The US Department of Justice has charged two Iranian hackers for their involvement in a disinformation campaign that targeted American voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election. In October of last year, Seyyed Kazemi and Sajjad Kashian allegedly sent threatening emails to Democratic voters in Florida in which they threatened to physically hurt them if they did not vote for former President Donald Trump. When the incident first happened, the US Director of National Intelligence held a press conference to warn voters of the emails.

Additionally, Kazemi and Kashian allegedly attempted to break into 11 state voter registration and information websites. In one instance, the DOJ alleges they successfully downloaded the information of more than 100,000 state voters. They may have also carried out a disinformation campaign on Facebook that saw them contact, among other individuals, Republican senators and members of Congress. They claimed they were volunteers with Proud Boys and said they had evidence the Democratic Party planned to exploit security vulnerabilities in election systems to edit mail-in ballots.

Kazemi and Kashian’s efforts to sway the election culminated on November 4th when they allegedly attempted to hack the network of a US media company. They were unsuccessful because the FBI had warned the firm in time.

“This indictment details how two Iran-based actors waged a targeted, coordinated campaign to erode confidence in the integrity of the U.S. electoral system and to sow discord among Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division in a statement. “The allegations illustrate how foreign disinformation campaigns operate and seek to influence the American public.”

US officials told The Washington Post they believe the two hackers are currently in Iran, suggesting they may not face authorities anytime soon. The DOJ also didn’t directly link their actions to the Iranian government.

Judge bars county clerk after voting machine passwords leaked to QAnon

In August, QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins shared a video he claimed showed ballot machines from Dominion Voting Systems could be remotely accessed to tamper with the results of a vote. At the time, he said the information came to him from a “whistleblower.”

This week, a Colorado judge barred Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from overseeing the county’s upcoming November election in relation to a leak of voting machine BIOS passwords. Peters, who tweeted in support of former President Donald Trump’s election conspiracy theories, invited a man named Gerald Wood to a meeting involving a “trusted build” software update that was meant to ensure the security of the county’s voting machines. Peters claimed Wood was an “administrative assistant” transitioning to her office, but then later described him as a “consultant” she hired to copy information from the computers.

Ahead of the meeting, Belinda Knisley, Peters’ deputy, sent an email to staff asking that they turn off the security cameras in the Election Department and not turn them back on until after August 1st. Knisley didn’t explain the reason for her request, but it was carried out either way. On the day of the meeting, Wood photographed a spreadsheet that contained the passwords to the machines and copied over their hard drives. Following the meeting, the passwords were publicly posted to an “online social media site.”

“Peters directed the creation of the images of the hard drive, which was not authorized by law and which directly led to the decommissioning of Mesa County’s voting systems, facilitating the leak of sensitive data and exposed the county’s voting system to compromise,” Judge Valerie Robinson wrote in a decision spotted by Ars Technica.

In a statement, Peters said she plans to appeal the “decision to remove a duly elected clerk and recorded from her election duties.” She went on to described herself as a whistleblower and called the case against her a “power grab” by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

“Clerk Peters seriously compromised the security of Mesa County’s voting system,” Griswold said in a statement. “The Court’s decision today bars Peters from further threatening the integrity of Mesa’s elections and ensures Mesa County residents have the secure and accessible election they deserve.” The FBI and Mesa County district attorney are investigating Peters, but no criminal charges have been filed yet.