Hoppy Kercheval, Opinion

Mike Lindell’s 2020 election conspiracy theory debunked

Mike Lindell must have been feeling confident. The businessman famous for his My Pillow bedding products had acquired computer data he believed would show China’s interference with the 2020 election. The information would support claims by he and others that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. 

Lindell even convened a “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, S.D., in August 2021 where he promised he would reveal “cyber data and packet captures from the 2020 election.” Lindell said the data would be like watching a movie of the election in real time. 

The symposium demonstrations fell well short of Lindell’s predictions, but he remained confident enough to issue a challenge designed to bolster his claims: “Find proof that this cyber data is not valid data from the November Election. For the people who find the evidence, $5 million is their reward.”  

Robert Zeidman took the challenge. Zeidman had the skills to analyze the data. He had a masters degree in electrical engineering, an undergraduate degree in physics and 45 years of experience in the computer field. He had voted for Trump twice, and he hoped the data would prove definitely whether Trump won or lost. 

When Zeidman reviewed the files, he could find no evidence that they contained data from the election. One file was a demonstration of a tool used to extract data. Another file was a bunch of IP addresses. Another was a graphic depiction of how voting machines worked. But these and other files he reviewed, Zeidman contended, were not from the election. 

Zeidman compiled a 15-page report on his results where he argued that the data provided by Lindell “unequivocally does not contain packet data of any kind and do not contain any information related to the November 2020 election.” But a panel of judges appointed by Lindell for the contest refused to award the prize. 

Zeidman hired the Charleston, W.Va., law firm of Bailey & Glasser and took Lindell to arbitration, which was the avenue provided in the contest rules. The arbitrators held three days of evidentiary hearings last January and received post-hearing briefs and arguments. Their finding released last week was clear:  

“He (Zeidman) proved the data Lindell LLC provided, and represented reflected information from the November 2020 election, unequivocally did not [emphasis added] reflect November 2020 election data.” The arbitrators ordered Lindell to pay Zeidman the $5 million prize within 30 days. 

Attorney Brian Glasser said the decision is more than just a victory for Zeidman. “The lawsuit and verdict mark another important moment in the ongoing proof that the 2020 election was legal and valid, and the role of cybersecurity in ensuring that integrity,” Glasser said. “Lindell’s claim to have 2020 election data has been definitely disproven.”  

As for Zeidman, he may be disappointed that Trump lost, but he is pleased that he was able to hold Lindell accountable for his spurious claims. “The truth is finally out there,” he said. And, of course, the $5 million is nice, too!  

Disproving conspiracy theories is time consuming and frustrating because when one proposition is disproven, two more pop up in its place. However, thank goodness for people like Robert Zeidman. He had the courage to follow the facts, even when they did not coincide with what he hoped would be true. 

Hoppy Kercheval is a MetroNews anchor and the longtime host of “Talkline.” Contact him at hoppy.kercheval@wvradio.com.