Georgia Investigates Prominent Voting Machine Critics

Georgia officials are investigating the critics for allegedly intruding into voting areas during a test run of new voting machines. The two under investigation said it is intimidation by the secretary of state’s office.

by Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / November 15, 2019
Voters cast their vote in Lexington, S.C., on Jan. 21, 2012. The House passed an election security measure Thursday that would require voting systems to use backup paper ballots in federal contests. (C. Aluka Berry/The State/TNS) TNS

(TNS) — Georgia election officials are investigating two prominent critics for allegedly intruding into voting areas during a test run of the state’s new voting machines.

The two people under investigation said the investigation is an intimidation tactic by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office.

Marilyn Marks, a plaintiff in a lawsuit demanding that Georgia switch to hand-marked paper ballots, and Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech cybersecurity expert, are accused of “interfering with voters by being in an unauthorized area” during the Nov. 5 election, said Walter Jones, a spokesman for Raffensperger.

“The secretary of state takes voters’ reports that individuals are violating election law and undermining the integrity of our state and local elections seriously,” Jones said in a statement.

Marks said Raffensperger is attempting to marginalize skeptics of the state’s new voting system, which combines touchscreens and printed ballots. The system is scheduled to be rolled out to voters statewide during the March 24 presidential primary.

“Doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s trying to deflect from the scrutiny that his $107M failing voting system is getting,” wrote Marks, executive director for the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity organization. “Can you blame him for not wanting anyone to take a hard look?

DeMillo wrote that he knew what rules to follow when observing public events in a public place.

The secretary of state’s office cited Georgia laws governing election privacy.

The public must remain outside enclosed voting spaces during elections, according to state law. Photography of ballots and voting machine screens while people are voting is prohibited.

Election investigations are conducted by the secretary of state’s office and can be presented to the State Election Board for potential punishment. Cases can result in letters of admonition or prosecution.

©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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