This is a short article, a small point, but ideology and attitudes are made up of countless small points, repeatedly pounded home that go into constructing people’s opinions.
This is an article that appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today.
Niesse, Mark (5/15/20) “Amid budget cuts, Georgia pays to keep old voting machines in storage.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
First, there is the headline. The headline opposes the budget cuts from the state of Georgia and the money being spent to house voting machines used in the 2016 (and I think 2018) elections. The obvious message is that we are wasting tax payer money to house unneeded voting machines when we are in the middle of deep budget cuts.
Here is the first sentence of the article:
“As Georgia is preparing for deep budget cuts, the state government is paying $432,000 a year to store 30,000 voting machines that will never be used again.”
First, as a reader pointed out, why should it cost almost half a million dollars to store some voting machines for a year?
Second, the reporter is asserting something he has no knowledge of, that is whether the machines will be “used” again. The voting machines will certainly be used again if they are evidence in a lawsuit to see whether there were election improprieties. And, that impropriety will certainly not be uncovered if the voting machines are destroyed.
So, the argument that the reporter is just reporting the facts is clearly absurd. It is not a fact that these machines will “never be used again.” This is an assumption on the part of the reporter, clearly the assumption that the state of Georgia wants people to believe.
So, why does the reporter take on as fact an assumption that supports the state’s side in this dispute over the voting machines?
An attorney for the secretary of state’s office, Bryan Tyson, in a letter on May 9, asserts:
“Continuing to preserve the DREs (the voting machines) at a significant cost to Georgia taxpayers in times of national crisis for state budgets across the country is wasteful and unnecessary.” This was a letter directed toward the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the citizens of Georgia who want to know whether or not these voting machines were compromised in some way.
The citizens involved want to preserve the machines, to find out whether “viruses or malware” which might have infected the machines might have spread to the state’s replacement voting system.
There has been a proposal to destroy two-thirds of the machines but no agreement on which machines to dispose of. This makes perfect sense. If the machines were infected, why destroy any of the evidence that might demonstrate that fact?
“We’ve tried to work with them,” said David Cross, an attorney for a group of plaintiffs suing the state. “If we could at least do an analysis of a reliable statistical sample, we could see if the old system was compromised.”
This seems to be a reasonable position. But, the reporter after noting that statement, then repeats the scare statistics of budget cuts as if this had anything to do with the voting machines.
“All state agencies, including the secretary of state’s office, are planning for 14% budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal year — more than $3.5 billion. The secretary of state’s office is preparing to slice $3.2 million from its $24 million budget through a hiring freeze, licensing board changes and leaving some positions unfilled, Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said.”
“There are so many ways we could spend money outside storage costs,” Fuchs said. “We could use that for fighting real security threats rather than activist’s lawsuits.”
That’s how the reporter chooses to end the article, with a statement by the Deputy Secretary of State calling the people on the other side of the lawsuit “activists” (which I presume is in his mind a negative thing) and maintaining that this fight is not about “real security threats.”
The AJC reporter should be ashamed of this stenographic reporting.
I am a resident of Georgia. I am tired of the graft, corruption, hubris and collusion that goes into making the state government part of the Republican for-profit free-for-all con game.