The state of Georgia sent a memo today to all County Registrars. In this memo, headed “Be wary of false and misleading information re: ICX update” the State of Georgia accused attorneys involved in litigation of “false and misleading allegations.”
The memo, which is in tone and content, completely unprofessional, Chris Harvey, Elections Division warns county election officials about correspondence they “may have received” from “activists.”
The “activists” in question are attorneys who are fighting in court to try to ensure that the state of Georgia does not install a last-minute update to the software in Dominion voting machines used across the state.
Warning county officials, the state writes:
“These activists have been suing the state and Georgia counties for years because they disagree with the decision of the Georgia General Assembly to use electronic ballot-marking devices instead of hand-marked paper ballots. Because their preferred policy was not enacted, they have tried to force their preferred policy on the state through litigation. The latest correspondence makes false and misleading allegations regarding the recent update to the ICX (touchscreen) component of Georgia’s voting system.”
The updates to the software were said to be necessary because of problems that arose with the Dominion voting system at the beginning of recent testing for the upcoming election.
Attorneys trying to bring some transparency to this update process have been dismissed as has their case. The SOS’s office is arguing that updates do not have to be verified or certified. The citizens of Georgia should just trust them to reprogram voting machines less than two weeks before early voting begins.
• The Supreme Court has sided with South Carolina Republicans attempting to suppress the vote by reinstating a law requiring witness signature for mail-in ballots. This decreases the vote by making it more difficult for people to vote, requiring them to risk COVID by having someone else witness the ballot, and provides yet another point top invalidate votes (the verifying and matching of the witness signature).
• In Florida, the voter registration website crashed and stayed down for several hours on Monday, the deadline to register. Again, every obstacle decreases the vote which is what the Republicans are counting on.
• In Iowa, Republicans blocked sending out ballots that had pre-filled voter information on them. Tens of thousands of ballots were invalidated. This means confusion, the likelihood that people will send in the wrong ballot, and the necessity of the state to send out replacement ballots a month before the election.
These are three incidents in three states, being replicated all over the country.
In Georgia, software on all the states voting machines is being replaced A MONTH BEFORE THE ELECTION. This software change is being done by the voting machine company, unverified, unexamined, and uncertified.
The Republicans are pulling out all the stops. They have too much at stake to lose this election. They are going to lie, cheat and finally steal this election and the Democrats and the media are going to be caught off guard. VOTING IS NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH.
And: Pennsylvania’s online system for registering to vote and applying for and tracking mail ballots crashed over the weekend, triggering an outage that stretched for more than 24 hours and prompted frustration from voters weeks before critical election deadlines.
On Friday, 26 September 2020, the Secretary of State’s office in Georgia sent out a notification to county elections offices. The notification alerted county officials that the state had discovered a programming error involving the state’s touchscreens. These touchscreens are part of a new election system bought by Governor Brian Kemp’s administration that cost the taxpayers of Georgia almost $150 million.
This expensive new voting system was pushed through right before the 2020 election despite warnings that it was too cumbersome and impossible to establish before the 2020 election. Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger was quoted in February of 2020 as saying: “This is the fastest and the largest implementation that’s ever been done in America.”
When poll worker training was started in Georgia, manuals were incomplete, and at least some devices were not working.
The programming error found on Friday, will require the state to reprogram 30,000 new touchscreens called Ballot-Marking-Devices (BMDs). It is difficult to see how this is possible before early voting starts on October 12.
The Coalition for Good Government discovered the flaw in the database hours after the SOS’s office notified county officials.
According to Jeanne Dufort, an election security commentator (9/25/20, Twitter): the “flawed database that has halted critical election preparation in GA shows the risks of outsourced elections. The SOS relied on the vendor to prepare election data bases for all GA counties, and failed to exercise proper oversight – putting the statewide election at risk.”
“We do not know the nature of the database flaw, other than it caused the state to stop LAT (Logic and Accuracy Testing), and inform counties completed LAT is wasted.”
Gray, Justin (2/4/20) Georgia Sets up a New Voting System. WSBTV uote fro Article: The new machines are more secure than Georgia’s old voting machines because they generate paper ballots.
The repeated threat by Trump that he may not cede power even if the 2020 vote goes against him, accomplishes two things.
First, it normalizes any such refusal should it become necessary. His base has been psychologically groomed for five years to accept the notion that the vote is “rigged” not for Trump but against him and that any actions the Republicans take in response to this rigging, is warranted. I have no doubt that most of this base would now welcome, indeed celebrate, a refusal of Trump to leave office. And, I have no doubt that Republican elected officials would support him.
Second, this repeated harping on the “rigging” of the election, draws out Democrats to deny the assertion. Democrat after Democrat goes on television (just like they did in 2016) asserting that everyone must accept the outcome of the vote as legitimate. In 2016, they did so believing that Hillary Clinton was going to win. Barak Obama was so certain Clinton was going to win, he backed down on telling the American people the truth about Russian interference in the election. Clinton, he is reported to have thought, would sort it out.
2020 seems to be shaping up in very much the same way. Just as in 2016, poll after poll indicates that the Democrat will win. Corporate Democratic strategists and pundits are sending out resumes and planning their second or third home purchase.
But, as Jonathan Simon (election specialist and author of Code Red) has pointed out regarding this election, the Republicans are gaming out several bites at the electoral apple.
By generating massive attention to norm-shattering methods of stealing the election (having the states choose the electors, refusing to leave office, declaring a victory immediately and claiming all the mail-in ballots are false, filing more lawsuits and throwing the race into the Supreme Court) Republicans are successfully deflecting attention away from what is a more insidious enterprise, manipulating the vote count itself.
Election security is not something I ever intended to research. Then, I went to my yearly poll worker training in Georgia. I walked out at lunch convinced that there was something very wrong with the new voting system recently purchased by Brian Kemp’s government.
I am not a technical person, not by any stretch of the imagination a computer person, but even I could tell that the training was focused as much on propaganda as it was on administering an election. For example, signs we had used for years in the polling place were now being thrown away and replaced with “secure the vote” signs. The standard lapel stickers saying “I voted”, was now “I secured my vote.” Why had the state invested all this money in convincing us this vote was secure?
I could also tell that if the things that routinely went wrong with the technology in my own house (printers inexplicably not working, scanners backing up and jamming) went wrong on election day, it was going to be a disaster. It was also evident to me that the measures that were being taken to “secure the vote” were geared toward threats to elections held years ago, before computers entered the picture.
In addition, we were discouraged from asking “political” questions, i.e., how the various computerized machines were programmed, or what kept them secure from being hacked.
Parts of the election technology, the poll books that were supposed to tell us whether a person was registered to vote, wouldn’t even work in the training session. The county official who was in charge of training us to operate this equipment could not get the poll book to work for the entire morning.
The county official first told us that these polling books (computers) were secure because they never left the control of the county election officials, and then when she couldn’t get it to work blamed this on the fact that the polling book had been in somebody else’s control before the training session.
And, then there was the discussion of the printed “ballot” that voters were supposed to check for accuracy before putting it in the scanner. We were told that there would be a designated poll worker who would encourage voters to check their ballots to make sure that the “Ballot Marking Device” had accurately recorded their vote. It was mandatory for each polling place to have readers available, glasses so that people could read the ballots. This was necessary because the print was so small.
I came home disgusted, distressed and feeling like I had been part of a scam. There was just too much push to convince us how secure this new outrageously expensive voting system was. I’ve always been like one of those horses that balks at the gate if you lead them too fast. You start trying too hard to convince me of something, I’m going to yank my head back and jerk the reins out of your hand.
I felt horrible about walking out of the training. The women that run the county elections are wonderful people. The people I had worked with on election day in the past were wonderful, conscientious, dedicated. But I just couldn’t do this one.
So, I started researching. I had run across information before about manipulation of the vote count, especially in the race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. But, I hadn’t spend much time reading about it. It’s not easy reading for a number of reasons. But I remembered the server that had been wiped clean after the Abrams race when it got down to actually recounting the votes.
The same people who orchestrated the highly suspect election where Kemp beat Abrams were now spending a whole lot of our money trying to convince us that our vote was “secure.” I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong.
Then, I stumbled across the information (never talked about in the training) that the paper ballot printed out for voters, the paper that had their choices printed on it was not what the scanners counted. The printed words (that were too small to read without glasses) were meaningless. The scanner actually used a bar code at the bottom of the ballot to record the vote. So, this ballot, this thing that the Kemp administration kept telling people was a verifiable paper ballot, was not that at all. When voters were told to check the printed words on the ballot to make sure their votes had been accurately recorded, they were being scammed, conned, fooled. The scanner didn’t pay the least bit of attention to the printed words. It recorded a vote coded into the bar code. The voter couldn’t read the bar code, couldn’t verify it. The election officials couldn’t even read the bar code.
I knew then I was going to have to devote a considerable amount of time trying to understand this.
After following Jennifer Cohn and Jonathan Simon, listening to an interview between the two of them and reading Jonathan Simon’s book “Code Red,” it became evident to me that Georgia was just one part of a national effort by Republicans to steal this election.
That fact becomes more and more evident with every day.
“Nothing should be more self-evident than the simple statement that for an election to have legitimacy, the counting process must be observable” Code Red by Jonathan Simon.
In many states, however, Republican party officials have worked to make sure that the counting process is not observable. They have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to fool us into believing that we have a fair, observable system when we do not.
In the state of Georgia, to give but one example, the government of Brian Kemp (who himself benefited from vote manipulation that edged him into the governorship) is using tax payer money to make sure that the voting process is secret.
Georgia had used a paperless, touchscreen voting machine system since 2002. When we voted, our votes disappeared into a cyber world that could not be checked, verified, or audited.
The state then ignored warnings from independent researchers that the system had been easily penetrated through the internet. Because state officials refused to admit the problems with the system, it became necessary to file a lawsuit in 2017. The problems were found by the court to be so egregious, that in 2019, a federal court order had to be issued to require Georgia to stop using the all‑electronic voting system by year’s end because of the system’s proven vulnerability to cyberattack (Curling v. Raffensperger).
The response from Republican government officials was not to return to hand-marked paper ballots, but to spend over $100 million dollars on a new voting machine system that was designed not to secure the vote, but to convince voters (and the court) that votes were “secured.”
In addition to the amount of money paid for the voting system, an untold amount of state money was used in a PR campaign to dupe the people of Georgia into believing that this new system was an improvement over the last one. It was not.
What the new, outrageously expensive system did was to introduce a piece of paper into the process, what they called a “paper ballot,” that was printed by a machine. Officials then crowed that the vote was verifiable. And, they went around the state recruiting organizations and groups to pose with the new state “I Secured my Vote” propaganda. But, the paper, the “ballot” was nothing more than a prop in the theatre production that was to look like an “election.”
The process works like this:
The voter’s identification is checked in on an electronic polling book (computer) that has records of registered voters. If registered the voter is given a card.
This card is inserted into another machine, a Ballot Marking Device (BMD).
The voter then touches a screen to record his/her votes.
When finished, the BMD issues a “ballot.”
So, the BMD records the vote and marks a “ballot” for the voter. It then prints out that ballot with words that are said to reflect the voting preferences.
The voter is asked (encouraged) to take that ballot to a different station and check the words to make sure that they accurately reflect the voting preferences, i.e., how you voted.
Then, the voter takes the ballot and feeds it into a scanner which records the vote. The ballots collect inside the scanner which looks (ironically enough) like an enormous trash can.
Now, first of all, every polling place is mandated to stock readers, glasses that magnify the words on the ballot because the print is so small. This obviously in and of itself discourages voters from checking the ballots.
But, more importantly, what they don’t tell the voter is that the words on the ballot are not what is counted when s/he puts the ballot into the scanner. The words, the ones telling the voter who s/he voted for are meaningless gibberish. They are decoration, props. The words printed on the “ballot” have no relation to the vote counted by the scanner.
What the scanner counts is a bar code printed at the bottom of the ballot. You cannot read the barcode. In most cases, not even computer experts can read the barcode in these electronic voting systems. You have no idea what the scanner records, and you cannot check it with readers or without them.
So, just imagine this. You vote on a machine, it prints out words on a piece of paper that reflect who you voted for. You check these words to make sure that they reflect who you voted for. You put this paper in the scanner and this machine records not what you checked, but something you cannot check, a barcode at the bottom of the page. You have been duped.
But, you might say, these ballots are still paper, physical, they can be recounted if there is a problem. This is better than the completely paperless system before. Perhaps, but this actually makes no difference if the recount does not examine the words printed on the ballot.
The state of Georgia has made clear that any recount (and recounts are not easy to get) will only involve running the ballots through the scanner again, a second time. They have explicitly stated that there will be no examination of the match between the printed words and the barcodes.
So, the new voting system is designed not to provide a “transparent, fair, accurate, and verifiable election processes…” (as U.S. District Judge Totenberg mandated in 2019) but exactly the opposite. The new voting system is engineered to make people believe that it is transparent and verifiable, and to give them pieces of paper they can hold and “check” in order to fool them.
Judge Totenberg held a hearing this week to consider a preliminary injunction brought on behalf of the people of Georgia, to force the state to use hand-marked paper ballots in the November election for people who are voting in person.
But, after spending the outrageous $100 million for the new voting system/propaganda system, the lawyers for the state of Georgia maintain that this would be too expensive and too cumbersome.
We must start asking and demanding answers to questions about why the state of Georgia spent this enormous amount of money on a voting system that doesn’t ensure transparency and now is spending more money fighting measures to try to ensure transparency.
The Republicans are using a variety of methods to steal this election. At the moment, the focus is on disenfranchising people because their ballots by mail don’t arrive on time. The Republican party is actively sabotaging the post office to make sure that your ballot doesn’t arrive on time. But, this is just one of the issues.
In Georgia, for example, if the signature you use to sign your mail-in ballot does not match exactly the signature as you wrote it when you got your driver’s license, they can (and I suppose will) throw it out. For example, I use my first two initials and my last name to sign almost everything. It’s quicker and easier. But, I also sometimes write my first name, middle initial and last name. On the ballot I just used in the primary, I signed both ways just to make sure there was no confusion. Today, I learned that this means that my ballot was almost certainly thrown out.
If your signature changes in any way, since you applied for your driver’s license, your ballot can be thrown out.
There are a thousand and one different catches like this that can be used to throw your vote out.
1) ballot arrives late due to post office
2) signatures that don’t exactly match your driver’s license signature
3) having had your name stricken from the voter rolls because a name similar to yours appears in another state. (Read Greg Palast’s book about how many people were purged in Georgia because their first and last names were the same as someone in another state (for example, George Mason). These people were purged even though the Georgia person was named George A. Mason and the Virginia person was George B. Mason; even though the birth dates were different.
4) having been purged from the voter registration roles because you didn’t vote in two elections
This list goes on and on and on. It’s not reading that I especially enjoy, but if you want to understand the true depth of the voter manipulation that is going on, you have to do it. They are depending on people not reading about this, not researching this.
They are also depending on people NOT WANTING TO BELIEVE that the voting system is this terrible. I have had friends, Democrats, get angry, really angry because I tried to tell them about the research demonstrating how much vote manipulation is going on (in this case in Georgia). People get mad because they want to think that all they have to do is vote.
There is a reason the state of Georgia spent a small fortune on complicated new voting machines just before the election. And, there is a reason they made every polling place replace all their signs that said “I voted” with “I secured the vote.” This is a propaganda campaign to convince people that their vote is counted in a fair election.
To give you just one example: the state of Georgia maintains that you have a paper ballot with these machines . A paper ballot means that your vote can be verified, right? You get a piece of paper printed out with your voting choices on it. You are supposed to check these and make sure they are right before running the paper ballot through the scanner which records your vote.
But, your actual vote, the vote that is recorded by the scanner that you put your ballot through, does not even recognize the printed material. It reads a bar code at the bottom of the page that YOU CANNOT READ. So, just because you check and see in the printed part that you voted for Biden, nothing prevents the bar code from saying you voted for Trump. You would never know.
Just recently, the State of Georgia said that in any recount, the recount would be confined to running the ballots through the scanner again. IF YOUR VOTE WAS RECORDED INCORRECTLY IN THE BAR CODE, RUNNING IT THROUGH THE SCANNER AGAIN ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE THAT.
The State of Georgia (run by the criminal Brian Kemp) was explicit. Any recount would involve ONLY running the ballots through the scanner again.
We cannot just assume that “overwhelming voter turn out” will win this election for us. Voter turnout means nothing if your vote is not counted, or counted incorrectly.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, (8/13/20) even the administration’s coronavirus task force is warning that Georgia continues to see a “widespread and expanding community viral spread.” And, the task force warns that the state’s current policies aren’t enough to curtail the spread of the virus.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in August signed into law a new measure providing additional legal protections to police officers, a step that critics say is flawed and out of step with nationwide efforts to make officers more accountable for their actions.
From The Root: “Georgia governor and unofficial Donald Trump butt-wiper Brian Kemp signed a proposal into law Wednesday that basically treats police officers as a protected class because white conservatives have convinced themselves that “blue” people are actually an oppressed minority. What’s worse is that the bill was pushed by state Senate Republicans as an ultimatum demanding it be signed into law otherwise they wouldn’t approve a hate-crime bill that had finally gained overwhelming support and approval after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.” https://www.theroot.com/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-signs-police-protection-bill-in-1844634019
A discussion of politics, law, justice, and crime.