The Coalition Challenges the Secretary of State and Election Practices in Georgia
Look what happens when a small, volunteer-run, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focuses on election transparency and verifiability. And watch our progress in bringing effective challenges to un-auditable electronic voting systems in Georgia, assisted by your donation that will exclusively support the legal and forensic work.
The Coalition’s Continuing Lawsuit to Obtain Hand-Marked Paper Ballots
On October 12, 2018, Rachel Maddow told her viewers about the Georgia scandals that Coalition for Good Governance has been fighting since summer 2017. She mentions our case, calling the Coalition the “good government group.” She explains that the Georgia government’s response to our lawsuit was to wipe the servers’ memories so that no further information about possible hacking could come to light. She also portrays [then SOS, now Gov.] Kemp’s partisan attacks to disenfranchise nonwhite voters via misuse of law enforcement and with the cooperation of the state legislature.
Our February 2019 discovery of 130,000 missing votes in the 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s race led to some national press coverage, but it took the Atlanta Journal-Constitution until August to alert Georgia voters to the scandal. At that point, Maddow again covered the Coalition’s efforts and gave an explanation of why the missing votes were so disturbing. We are still seeking forensic discovery of what happened to those votes so that it won’t happen again.
We are now fighting Georgia’s terrible decision to purchase electronic ballot marking devices that encode the voter’s choices into a barcode on the voting machine printout. The unverifiable barcode is scanned to tabulate the votes. The voter is forced to cast a vote they cannot read. Therefore, after our August 2019 victory that got un-auditable paperless touchscreen machines banned in Georgia, we asked the Court to ban electronic touchscreen ballot marking devices (BMDs) and require electronic pollbook corrections, paper pollbook backups, and hand-marked paper ballots for future elections.
The press has generally not described how easily electronic machines can be rigged without a trace. That danger is why Coalition for Good Governance is fighting for hand-marked paper ballots. The Washington Post ran a December 2019 story explaining some of the issues at play in our lawsuit. Three of our expert witnesses, Andrew Appel, Richard DeMillo, and Phillip Stark, are quoted. The Coalition is referred to in a photo caption, but otherwise whenever Judge Amy Totenberg is mentioned, that refers to our case. Updated stories appear on our website’s News Page.
However, the press has recently reported on the frightening findings of two of those expert witnesses, Andrew Appel and Phillip Stark, as well as another of our expert witnesses, J. Alex Halderman. An overview appeared in the Associated Press, but to see most clearly what these three researchers have discovered, read their own mid-summer words on the links provided here and on the News Page under Coalition Work.
Coalition for Good Governance was in multiple hearings in front of Judge Totenberg during 2020 and up to the present in 2021. Now we are in that federal lawsuit’s discovery phase. This effort is resource intensive, and we expect many disputes with the state officials along the way.
In the meantime, on March 25, 2021, the state of Georgia adopted a far-reaching elections bill, SB202, and we are challenging several key provisions. In a new federal lawsuit (Coalition for Good Governance v Kemp), we brought a subset of our claims to court, seeking a preliminary injunction very early in the process. The case is in United States District Court in front of Judge J. P. Boulee. On August 20, 2021, the Court found that we have standing to bring these claims and struck down the challenged Photography Ban. Although the Court denied relief at this early stage on the other portions of the motion, we continue the litigation to have them declared unconstitutional in future proceedings. There are eight lawsuits against various provisions of SB202. Ours is the first to have any relief granted. This small early victory is an important one as the case moves forward.
Now the arduous discovery phase of the federal lawsuit before Judge Totenberg has arrived. Discovery is and will continue to be resource intensive, and we expect many disputes with the state officials. We also expect further hearings in front of Judge Boulee to be scheduled soon.
Please join our efforts!
Marilyn R. Marks, Executive Director
(704) 292 9802