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  • Nancy Churchill

Hobbs’ attack on commissioners is groundless


The Ferry County Republican Party recently received a reporter’s request for a response to a statement made by Secretary of State Candidate Steve Hobbs in a debate held at Gonzaga University on Oct. 22.


Secretary of State Hobbs, used the debate forum to disparage and attack the decision of Ferry County commissioners to remove a device called an Albert Sensor from our county computer network. Hobbs' statement about Ferry County left out facts and misstated others. By trying to advance a political narrative rather than give a factual response about Albert Sensors, he did a disservice to the voters of the state of Washington. The reporter who contacted us submitted the following question to the FCRP: “I am wondering what the county GOP thinks about Albert sensors and the commissioners' decision to remove them from voter machines this year.” This is our official response to this question.


1) The FCRP completely supports our County Commissioners, and their decision on removing Albert sensors. They do an excellent job managing our county under extremely difficult conditions, including enduring unwarranted harassment from the Department of Homeland Security and SOS office.


2) The question "the commissioners' decision to remove them from voter machines this year," betrays the fact the reporter does not understand how the Albert sensor works. The Albert sensor is NOT connected to "voter machines." It is installed on the county computer system and monitors ALL DATA TRAFFIC into and out of the county. ALL. Not just election related traffic. The federal and state governments have not been able to justify a need to have access to all traffic, although the commissioners have asked them for that information.


3) Which "voter machines" are being referred to? There are many machines used to process ballots in the elections department. Members of the FCRP monitor the process EVERY ELECTION. The most important of these machines from an election integrity standpoint are the ballot scanning machines and the tabulation process. These, we have been reassured many times ARE NOT CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET.


So again, why would the federal government and secretary of state need total access to our county computer systems—all of them, including sensitive information like payroll, human resources, etc.—to protect equipment that is not even connected to the Internet?


4) Finally, the contract for the Albert sensors requires NO CHANGES or UPDATES to any county computer system can be made without providing the equipment supplier 30 days notice. Thirty days notice is a contract requirement that would completely handcuff needed system updates when other aspects of county computer systems need immediate attention. Again, no justification has been given for this requirement.


Our county commissioners have stated many times that they are willing to consider the Albert sensors when these issues have been addressed and resolved to their satisfaction.


The fact is that Democratic candidate Steve Hobbs, at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security, is attacking the most impoverished county in the state to promote a partisan political narrative.


This attack on a county with ONLY 5,100 REGISTERED voters demonstrates the depths of the desire of the Democrats and progressives to remove the ability for true local control of county governments by officials that have been duly elected by the voters.


The Ferry County Republican Party strongly condemns this baseless, politically motivated attack on our elected officials, and we strongly support a complete constitutional separation of powers of the local, state, and federal governments. If voters do NOT have local control of local government jurisdictions, they are just slaves.

Here's the question the FCRP would like to challenge the media to investigate: Why are Democrats so concerned about a remote, poor, rural county with a very small impact on state wide elections? What is hidden behind the official narrative? That would be a very interesting story for a courageous and honest press to cover if they were committed to investigating and reporting news—even if it doesn’t fit the accepted political narrative.


It’s my opinion that the most dangerous movement in politics today is the effort to erase the boundaries between the layers of government: local, state, and federal.

In his response to the question about Albert sensors, Hobbs basically said that in this one area, the state should have more authority than the commissioners—a clear overreach of his enumerated powers. This is a power grab to allow unelected bureaucrats to have more power over our lives than our elected commissioners.


When does the power grab stop?


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