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Govt. Watchdog Group Advises Members to Cast Absentee Ballots in Georgia Elections
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Govt. Watchdog Group Advises Members to Cast Absentee Ballots in Georgia Elections

Govt. Watchdog Group Advises Members to Cast Absentee Ballots in Georgia Elections
Photo Credit: Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

FILE - This Oct. 19, 2017, file photo shows a new voting machine which prints a paper record on display at a polling site in Conyers, Ga. Georgia officials have estimated it could cost over $100 million to adopt the machines statewide. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

This Wednesday, May 9, 2018, photo, shows a touch screen of a voting machine during early voting in Sandy Springs, Ga. As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid warnings of Russian hacking, about 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say the lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check the results for signs of manipulation. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, photo, Pamela Hampton votes in Sandy Springs, Ga. As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid warnings of Russian hacking, about 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say the lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check the results for signs of manipulation.(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, photo, Pamela Hampton votes in Sandy Springs, Ga. As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid warnings of Russian hacking, about 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say the lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check the results for signs of manipulation. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2017, file photo, Renee Phifer, Rockdale County board of elections assistant director, left, demonstrates a new voting machine at a polling site to Kelly Monroe, investigator with the Georgia secretary of state office in Conyers, Ga. As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid warnings of Russian hacking, about 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say the lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check the results for signs of manipulation. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2017, file photo, Kelly Monroe, investigator with the Georgia secretary of state office, left, takes a look at a new voting machine being tested at a polling site in Conyers, Ga. As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid warnings of Russian hacking, about 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say the lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check the results for signs of manipulation. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Govt. Watchdog Group Advises Members to Cast Absentee Ballots in Georgia Elections

More controversy over Georgia’s voting machines at a meeting designed to figure out how to replace them. As the S.A.F.E. (Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections) Committee met for the first time in Marietta on Wednesday. Sarah Henderson, executive director of the Georgia chapter of a government watchdog group called Common Cause, announced she is telling her members, “not to go to the polling place, but to vote absentee.”

The reason? 

Absentee votes are cast on paper ballots, not on Georgia’s paperless voting machines. As WSB’s Pete Combs has reported extensively over the past month, critics say those machines are wide open to hackers. But, State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), who co-chairs the S.A.F.E. Commission, points out there’s no evidence these machines have ever been hacked.

“It was very interesting today that you heard nobody give an example of an election in Georgia that was ‘stolen,’” he told WSB. “If it happened, you would have heard about it. But you didn’t!”

Still, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is being sued in federal court by many voters who say Georgia’s voting machines should be replaced by paper ballots now, not later. Even as the run-off election scheduled for July 24th draws near, that suit is pending in U.S. District Court. Plaintiffs demand that Georgia’s voting machines be scrapped immediately and that elections be conducted using paper ballots and optical scanners, which they say are much safer than Georgia’s paperless voting machines. 

“It is far, far cheaper than the labor cost of setting up all of those touchscreen machines,” said Marilyn Marks, Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance.”

S.A.F.E. is an 18-member bipartisan committee tasked with recommending to the Georgia Legislature options for replacing the aging, controversial voting machines. Their report is due prior to the commencement of the 2019 legislative session.

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