My Pillow conspiracy theorist plans drone surveillance of Louisiana voting sites, report says

By: - August 22, 2023 8:52 am

Mike Lindell addresses a crowd gathered on the steps of the state capitol for an event called the “Colorado Election Truth Rally,” which was organized by individuals who question the results of the 2020 presidential election, in Denver, April 5, 2022. (Kevin Mohatt for Colorado Newsline)

My Pillow pitchman Mike Lindell, a prolific purveyor of unfounded 2020 election fraud, revealed a new strategy Thursday to sniff out suspicious activity at polling precincts, the Daily Beast reports. It involves Louisiana, drones and potentially breaking the law.

Lindell shared his plans with attendees at a symposium in Springfield, Missouri, called the “Election Crime Bureau.” A new “wireless monitoring device” he touted can scrape data from nearby smartphones and computers with internet access. If a “WMD” — not to be confused with a “weapon of mass destruction” — detects a new device coming online, it could prove a Chinese plot to hack voting machines and switch votes from Republicans, he said.

The WMDs can be placed on drones that can be flown into or near polling places, Lindell said, who then steered a drone into the event venue to demonstrate.

“We now can catch them in a lie,” Lindell told the audience.

John Tobler, spokesperson for Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, responded with an emphatic “unequivocally no!” when asked whether Lindell had been in touch with the state’s top election official about his drone plans.

As chairman of the Louisiana Voting Systems Commission, Ardoin provided Lindell a platform to repeat false claims of election fraud during a June 2022 meeting to discuss the state’s election technology choices. At the meeting, Lindell claimed Apple CEO Tim Cook was actively listening to him through his iPhone.

As the Daily Beast report notes, a recent update to Louisiana law could be the biggest obstacle to Lindell’s drone surveillance strategy. The state’s criminal trespassing statute was amended to clarify that flying an unauthorized surveillance drone above a building is against the law, just as it would be to send it inside the building. Some cities have even more restrictive drone flying laws that the Lindell plan could potentially violate as well.

The state’s Advanced Aviation and Drone Advisory Committee is part of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. There was no response from DOTD when the Illuminator attempted to reach its aviation director and committee chair Brad Brandt.

There’s also the matter of whether the WMDs could actually detect interference with Louisiana’s voting technology. The machines currently in use are not connected to the internet and don’t use Wi-Fi networks. Voting data are downloaded to storage mediums.

According to the Daily Beast, Lindell is aware his drop-in drones might violate the law. He said Thursday he would have tested his WMD on a real voting machine but feared legal repercussions.

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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune |, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.