GA Secretary of State is Attempting to Intimidate Voting Machine Observers

The unsurprising case of The Georgia Secretary of State's effort to intimidate me and other witnesses to the embarrassing failures of the new voting system.

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3 mins read
Georgia Voter sticker. Photo by Heather Kennedy (CC BY 2.0)

Background: Professor Richard DeMilloRonnie Martin and I observed polls on Election Day in two pilot counties for Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs).

Several volunteer observers spent weeks of early voting documenting the problems with the new system, so we knew what to look for. We acted as public observers. No credentials are required per GA law.

SOS staff saw us observing and documenting, and initiated a complaint. 

Here is a copy of the complaint summary the SOS initiated for Watson Center in Dallas. Note the “complainant” is the SOS.

Screenshot from the complaint summary

Before the complaint summary was released Ben Nadler at The Associated Press was able to get some info from SOS that they wouldn’t give us or the Coalition for Good Governance attorney.

But the SOS obviously fed Stephen Fowler a list of fabricated allegations against us claiming such nonsense as being inside voting booths (!), taking pictures, and not being “registered” to be observing the polls. See his nonsense regurgitation of SOS b.s.

The “picture” they alleged that I took is one I found on-line of a voter testing the machine at a demo, with a just-for-fun ballot. I was showing that screen size causes loss of ballot secrecy. [Guess The Georgia Secretary of State didn’t like me showing that.]

They say that we didn’t “register” as a poll watcher. Guilty as charged!! I was simply a member of the public, and GA law permits anyone to observe. All proceedings at the polling place must be conducted in public view. 

We are accused of being in the “voting booth” space of voters. The restricted area is within 6 feet of the machines. We never got that close to machines, nor were there any marked “restricted” areas. See statute on 6 foot rule.

In fact when I was in the room with the voting machines in Dallas, NY Times reporters were on my right and Stephen Fowler on my left. And they had big cameras.

Dual standard? Selective “investigations” to come after witnesses who will be testifying against the BMDs? 

By the way, I took NO pictures.

So what is this about ?

The system test failed. The SOS doesn’t want observers who have documentation of the widespread failures submitting the evidence in court. They’re trying to scare observers, like the ones who volunteered in early voting. 

But the truth cannot be concealed. The system failed and cannot possibly be installed in March without major meltdown. This horrible idea has to be stopped. That is why we are in court. And we will not be intimidated by the SOS’s unethical tactics. 

Originally posted on Twitter. Re-posted with permission.


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Vice President and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance.
In 2009, after a narrow loss to become the Mayor of Aspen, I recognized the vulnerabilities in Colorado’s election systems. I then devoted full time to election integrity litigation and lobbying efforts for more transparent and verifiable elections. I successfully litigated the effort to make Colorado ballots open public records for postelection reviews, followed by more than 25 election-related cases involving election transparency or voter privacy (“secret ballots”). After moving back east, I became the driving force behind the current legal challenge to Georgia’s unverifiable electronic voting system. I now reside in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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