PRESS RELEASE: COVID-19–Coalition of Organizations and Georgia Voters Seek Review of Touchscreen Voting Safety

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Cam Ashling, Chair
Georgia Advancing Progress PAC
404-759-1782, gappacinc@gmail.com

Marilyn Marks, Executive Director
Coalition for Good Governance
704 292 9802, Marilyn@USCGG.org

ATLANTA- (April 6, 2020) Citing grave concerns about the public health risk caused by touchscreen voting machine use and related equipment requiring significant touching and handling by voters and poll workers, a coalition of organizations, physicians, candidates, and voters is seeking an immediate review of certain components prior to deployment in the upcoming May 19 election.  The group requested that infectious disease and public health experts lead the system examination. The request filed with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger cites the Georgia statute permitting ten or more voters to request an examination of the safety of a voting system at any time.

The core components (ballot scanners and central server) of new Dominion voting system can be used with either hand marked paper ballots or the touchscreen ballot marking devices. Using hand marked paper ballots (and disposable pens) greatly reduces the amount of touching and handling of plastic and metal surfaces required by use of the touchscreen-related units. The use of traditional paper ballots using only the core voting system components would eliminate scores of thousands of hours of programming, testing, transport and installation of touchscreen components by vendors and staff, while greatly reducing surfaces to be touched by the voters, and voters’ interactions with poll workers.

“The Georgia Advancing Progress PAC prioritizes the health of our voters, especially during these unprecedented times as we fight a healthcare war against the COVID-19 pandemic. Anything we can do to reduce contamination risk of touchscreen voting will likely save lives. People should not have to risk their lives to exercise their constitutional rights to vote. We encourage all eligible voters to request an absentee ballot and vote from home.  The GAPPAC supports moving the May Primary election to a later date, but if the touchscreens are planned for use in 2020, we request the reexamination of touchscreen voting machines prone to transmitting COVID-19 and unnecessarily putting lives at risk,” said Cam Ashling, Chair of Georgia Advancing Progress PAC.

Marilyn Marks, Executive Director of Coalition for Good Governance added, “Asking poll workers to spend scores of thousands of unneeded hours undertaking risky work in order to use the 80,000+ unnecessary touchscreen components is unconscionable during this public health crisis. Secretary Raffensperger should decertify the high-touch components of the system, which are unneeded anyway, as unsafe for use in Georgia’s elections during the pandemic. Traditional paper ballots can be used with far less health risk. Using only the core components of the new system with hand marked paper ballots was successfully tested in Cobb County in November. We believe that medical experts would recommend against the use of this unsafe equipment.”

The Libertarian Party of Georgia, the Constitution Party of Georgia, Morgan and Newton County Democratic Party Committees, several physicians, candidates and voters also made the request for reexamination.

Ricardo Davis, Constitution Party Chair, said, “In the midst of our current public health emergency our state’s leaders must not only inspire our fellow Georgians to work together for the common good, but also act with integrity and wisdom for the common good. The Constitution Party of Georgia joins this petition, recognizing the extraordinary current public health challenges, as well as our long-standing concerns regarding the current system and its implementation, demand more than a dismissive consideration to maintain the people’s confidence.”

Jeanne Dufort, representing the Morgan County Democratic Committee said, “Morgan County voters are proud to be among the state’s leaders in election turnout. We are encouraging voters to take advantage of mail voting, but we know that many voters prefer to cast their vote in person. We simply must ensure that voters are safe, no matter how they choose to cast their ballot. And we must protect our poll workers.”

The group indicated that they would not pay the standard $32,500 reexamination cost, given the limited scope of the work to be performed and the Secretary of State’s responsibility to initiate such a system review in this crisis without voters’ demanding it.

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