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.”
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.