As petitioners from Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA) go back to court next Monday, September 20th seeking a Fulton County ballot inspection, another VoterGA election petition will require a legal response at the end of that week from the top Georgia officials. Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State (SOS) Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr will be required to explain why the state bought an unverifiable voting system that a federal court found in violation of Georgia laws.
In late August, VoterGA and State Rep. Philip Singleton filed a legal petition against the State of Georgia to immediatelyand permanently ban the Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5 Ballot Marking Device (BMD) system from the state. Georgia’s Democracy Suite 5.5A (GA) system accumulates votes hidden in QR (Quick Response) codes that cannot be read by the voters and are thus unverifiable to them. Kemp, Raffensperger and Carr have now been served as shown on the docket and are required to respond to the petition by the end of next week.
Georgia law requires a voting system to “…print an elector verifiable paper ballot” and to “…produce paper ballots which are marked with the elector’s choices in a format readable by the elector.” A federal court has already found that Georgia electors instead “…vote on a system that does none of those things.” Thus, any use of the system violates two Georgia statutes. [O.C.G.A. § 21-2-2(7.1); O.C.G.A. § 21-2-300(a)(2)]
That conclusion did not originate with VoterGA or Rep. Singleton. It came directly from the U.S. District Court of Northern Georgia in an October 11, 2020 Order for the case known as Curling v. Raffensperger. In making that notable conclusion, Judge Amy Totenberg reviewed what may be the most extensive compilation of evidence ever presented in a Georgia election case. The conclusion is on Page 81 of the October 11, 2020 Order. Judge Totenberg begins by explaining the related Georgia laws:
“Georgia’s Election Code mandates the use of the BMD system as the uniform mode of voting for all in-person voters in federal and statewide elections. The statutory provisions mandate voting on electronic ballot markers that:
(1) use electronic technology to independently and privately mark a paper ballot at the direction of an elector, interpret ballot selections, communicate such interpretation for elector verification, and print an elector verifiable paper ballot; and
(2) produce paper ballots which are marked with the elector’s choices in a format readable by the elector.”
She then found: “Plaintiffs and other voters who wish to vote in-person are required to vote on a system that does none of those things.”
Judge Totenberg further outlined the supporting evidence:
“Rather, the evidence shows that the Dominion BMD system does not produce a voter-verifiable paper ballot or a paper ballot marked with the voter’s choices in a format readable by the voter because the votes are tabulated solely from the unreadable QR code. Thus, under Georgia’s mandatory voting system for voting at the polls voters must cast a BMD generated ballot tabulated using a computer-generated barcode that has the potential to contain information regarding their voter choices that does not match what they enter on the BMD (as reflected in the written text summary), or could cause a precinct scanner to improperly tabulate their votes.”
The court published these conclusions just three weeks before the general election. That November 3rd 2020 election, now the most controversial in Georgia history, was conducted on a voting system that had already been found to violate Georgia laws.
Although the case is still active, Judge Totenberg has yet to order relief. Thus, VoterGA and Rep. Singleton will press the Fulton County Superior Court for that relief. Either court could now order the relief that many Georgians are seeking. That is to permanently ban the Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5 system from further use in Georgia.
If that relief sounds improbable, consider similar relief has already been granted before in Georgia during 2019. Then, Judge Totenberg banned the paperless Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system Georgia used largely on the same grounds that are before the courts now: unverifiability. Her August 15, 2019 Order, the first of two scathing 150-page rulings, was an indictment of the SOS office that she found “not credible.”
That conclusion came after the SOS office erased election data on the central election server in the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University in 2017. After being informed their server was breeched, the office under former SOS Brian Kemp did not investigate the breech and mitigate the risk but instead, erased the server data and then claimed that was standard procedure in a superficial two-page summary. A VoterGA audit report exposes the cover-up involving that incident and on Page 70 of her 2019 order Judge Totenberg reaches a conclusion similar to the VoterGA report:
“Given the entire course of events described here, the Defendants’ contention that the servers were simply ‘repurposed’ and not intentionally destroyed or wiped is flatly not credible.”
The credibility of the SOS office is now being severely challenged again especially since the petition identifies a variety of forewarnings the office had about unverifiable voting systems:
- VoterGA recommendations to the Secure, Accurate, Fair Election Commission (SAFE) warned that any new system must tabulate human readable vote marks that can be verified by the voter;
- Many citizens testified for hand marked paper ballots and voter verifiability before the Safe Commission and hearings for HB316, the bill that created the November, 2020 election disaster;
- VoterGA co-founder Garland Favorito and Madison Forum President Michael Opitz warned Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger about the unverifiability of QR coded voting systems when he was a runoff candidate in 2018.
Raffensperger did not heed the warnings and purchased the Dominion system for over $100 million in 2019.