Friday, September 29, 2023
Friday, September 29, 2023
Friday, September 29, 2023

Delco Election Controversy Raises Questions Over Integrity, Investigations

Editor’s Note: The reporter of this article, Leah Hoopes, is also a subject in the events described. She has sought to maintain objectivity in detailing the facts as they occurred.

On November 3, 2020, poll watchers Gregory Stenstrom and Leah Hoopes encountered significant obstacles when trying to access a secluded area at the Chester Counting Center in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Despite having statutory rights to pre-canvass and canvass mail-in ballots, they were initially denied entry. This incident raised concerns about the transparency and integrity of the vote-counting process at the center.

In a less-publicized area of the Chester Counting Center, Stenstrom and Hoopes discovered a room conspicuously lacking oversight—no security cameras, authorized representatives, or poll watchers were present. To address this, they enlisted the legal expertise of Thomas King from the Thomas More Society and Phillip Kline, and reached out to the Delaware County Republican Party.

In response, the Delaware County Republican Party took action by sending attorney John McBlain to the Chester Counting Center. Although hesitant, McBlain successfully obtained a court order from Judge John Capuzzi, granting access to the previously restricted area.

Upon gaining access, Gregory Stenstrom, whose professional background is in fraud detection and data science, made a noteworthy observation. He reported seeing between 60,000 to 70,000 unopened mail-in ballots stored in a locked back room, further raising questions about the vote-counting process.

On the same day, Leah Hoopes, Gregory Stenstrom, and Joe Driscoll witnessed an incident involving James Savage, the Voting Machine Warehouse Supervisor. Savage was seen bringing a clear, unsealed plastic bag of USB drives into the Counting Center. This action broke the chain of custody for the drives, eliminating any possibility of a forensic trail and raising additional concerns about the integrity of the vote-counting process.

The USB drives reportedly contained votes from precinct machines. According to state certification guidelines, these drives are required to maintain a strict chain of custody. The incident involving the unsealed bag allegedly broke this chain, calling into question compliance with state regulations and further complicating the integrity of the vote-counting process.

On the night of the election, the Bureau of Elections reportedly received a document that included a tally of all missing and unreturned USB and V-drives. The number cited was 47, raising additional questions about the whereabouts of these drives and the integrity of the vote data they may contain.

Having exhausted their administrative duties, Greg and Leah took further action by providing declarations and evidence to U.S. Attorney William McSwain on November 7, 2020. They also filed a lawsuit in December of the same year, escalating their concerns about the electoral process to the legal arena.

McSwain later wrote to President Trump, reportedly stating that U.S. Attorney General Barr had instructed him not to investigate. He was allegedly told to hand all evidence over to then Pennsylvania Attorney General and Biden elector, Josh Shapiro.

William Barr later denied McSwain’s claims, calling the evidence fictional in his book, according to reports.

Between U.S. Attorney General Barr, Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, all reportedly denied receiving any information from McSwain, leading to the conclusion that no investigation was conducted.

They all allegedly pointed fingers at one another, creating a cycle of blame without resolution.

During the January 6th hearing, Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue reportedly never mentioned Delaware County, PA, nor did he refer to the evidence and declarations related to the case. Additionally, this information was allegedly not included in the State Senate report.

Through her own research, Ms. Hoopes reportedly obtained a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request located on the DOJ website. This request allegedly revealed that Greg Stenstrom’s declaration and their collected evidence had circulated through the entire DOJ, FBI, Attorney General’s office, Inspector General’s office, Public Integrity Sector, and U.S. Attorneys nationally. Despite this extensive circulation, the evidence was reportedly buried within two hours on November 7, 2020.

On November 9, 2020, Attorney General Barr issued a letter reportedly stating that any investigation into claims of election irregularities, if proven true, would not change the outcome of the election.

While Barr, Donoghue, McSwain, and Shapiro reportedly passed the buck, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, who was responsible for investigating election fraud claims, was reportedly backed by Soros, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

On January 4, 2021, Hoopes and Stenstrom reportedly took formal steps to ensure accountability, sending a certified letter and email to McSwain, Shapiro, and Stollsteimer. In these communications, they lawfully notified the officials that they had a duty to investigate the alleged irregularities.

Jim Savage, who served as the Voting Machine Warehouse Supervisor, was reportedly Jack Stollsteimer’s progressive political buffer during Stollsteimer’s campaign for District Attorney. According to a whistleblower inside the election bureau, Stollsteimer allegedly owed Savage for his support.

Demar Moon, Savage’s partner, reportedly worked alongside Jim Savage during the 2020 election. Moon later allegedly secured a position in the Criminal Investigation Unit of the District Attorney’s office, where Jack Stollsteimer serves as the DA.

It was only in 2022 that Stollsteimer reportedly took action, following the release of inside video and audio by the whistleblower, Hoopes, and Stenstrom to the news media.

Despite the release of inside information, Stollsteimer reportedly did not interview the whistleblowers, Hoopes, or Stenstrom to complete the investigation.

Following the supposed specialized criminal investigation, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer has concluded the inquiry into 2020 election fraud allegations, deeming the claims to be “entirely unfounded.”

During the Delaware County Council gathering on May 18, 2022, County Solicitor William F. Martin presented a letter dated May 4 from Stollsteimer into the official minutes.

“I write to inform you and the Board of Elections that the investigation is now closed and no criminal charges will be filed in this matter,” the Stollsteimer letter read. “In short, the claim that there is a video depicting Delaware County election officials who ‘appear to be throwing return ballots into a trash can in anticipation of the election data audit’ is a complete fiction.

“Unfortunately,” it also concluded, “the results of this investigation offer clear examples of the ways that social media can be used to manipulate and distort reality.”

In fact, questions have been raised about whether Stollsteimer should have been recused from the investigation altogether, given his connections. This also extends to Demar Moon, who was reportedly part of the unit sent to investigate Savage and the Bureau of Elections, despite his previous working relationship with Savage.

Stollsteimer reportedly never conducted a forensic investigation of the video and audio tapes collected by the whistleblower. Instead, he allegedly issued a press release on June 2nd, claiming that there was no fraud and that the witnesses had fabricated the videos. Despite asserting that fabricating videos is a criminal act, no prosecution of the witnesses followed.

In November 2021, a purported whistleblower leveled accusations about fraudulent activities in the county’s handling of the 2020 election. The allegations were forwarded to Gerald Lawrence, the Chair of the County Board of Elections, who, in compliance with legal obligations, relayed this information to Stollsteimer.

Subsequently, the Special Investigation Unit of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office supposedly initiated a probe into the issue.

The purported whistleblower’s complaint was included in a comprehensive 92-page legal suit filed in November 2021. The lawsuit was brought forth by attorney Thomas J. Carroll, representing Republicans Ruth Moton, Gregory Stenstrom, and Leah Hoopes. The suit alleged common law fraud as well as negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation connected to the 2020 general election.

The complaint includes evidence, specifically highlighting three videos shared on Twitter and a story published on November 17, 2021, by the conservative news outlet Newsmax.

Stollsteimer indicated that the investigation uncovered no validity to the allegations, videos, or implications of election misconduct.

“Investigations with investigators with over 75 years of law enforcement experience here in Delaware County conducted interviews with individuals with actual knowledge of the events depicted in the videos,” his letter wrote. “They have concluded that there is no evidence to substantiate those claims.”

The questionable probe claimed that the videos were not showing the vote tallying process for the 2020 general election. Instead, they supposedly captured election staff handling a Right-to-Know request for election-related documents well after the completion of the 2020 election and vote counting.

“The investigation determined that during the processing of the Right-to-Know response, several copies of identical documents were printed,” Stollsteimer wrote in the letter. “Where election personnel identified documents as duplicates of documents already prepared for a response (in production to the Right to Know request), such duplicates were discarded. No records of the 2020 general election were destroyed, erased or withheld from the Right-to-Know request for the public generally.”

Furthermore, Stollsteimer stated in the letter addressed to Martin and Lawrence that his office believes the videos had been manipulated.

“The videos that formed the basis for the Newsmax story had been materially edited,” the district attorney wrote his investigation found.

“Versions of the subject videos, themselves clips of larger conversations taken out of context, have circulated the internet, with mischaracterized captions, superimposed on them.”

Stollsteimer cited an example where a caption was added to a video suggesting an individual was saying, “It’s a felony,” when the person was actually stating, “I’m telling you.” Additionally, Stollsteimer noted that the alleged whistleblower was uncooperative with the investigation.

“It is important to highlight that while all county election personnel were responsive and forthcoming to detectives conducting this investigation, the same could not be said of the individual who surreptitiously recorded the videos,” his letter wrote. “Despite numerous attempts to interview her, she was uncooperative and unwilling to meet with detectives attempting to interview her regarding these events.”

“The complete absence of a factual basis for any of the claims made in the Newsmax story has led my office to conclude that the claims were never legitimate allegations about the conduct of election officials in Delaware County, rather they were an extension of the disinformation campaign that has been waged on the local, state and national level in the aftermath of the 2020 general election,” Stollsteimer concluded.

Martin commented that the lawsuit was “completely deficient in basic due diligence.”

“The only way to stop these groundless lawsuits filled with half-truths and lies is to assess sanctions against the attorneys and the plaintiffs who press them,” Martin said. “Let them bear the cost of this garbage and not the county taxpayers.”

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