Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's a good thing that Libertarian David Chastain has Big Shoulders

Does Garland Favorito ever take a break?

We've been running a series from Garland on republican gubernatorial wanna-bee Karen Handel and still have a couple of segments to go. Time for a break. Here's Garlands latest work on the race for SecState. Hint, Libertarian David Chastain is the man!

Take it away Garland!

Only one of seven SOS primary candidates supported statewide verifiable voting

Seven Democrat and Republican primary candidates are vying to join Libertarian David Chastain on the ballot in the November 2010 elections for the position of Georgia Secretary of State (SOS). Ironically, only one of them actually has a proven track record of campaigning for statewide verifiable voting since the initiation of their campaign. Several of the primary candidates seem perfectly content to continue using Georgia’s “no evidence” voting systems indefinitely and at least two have adamantly opposed a return to verifiable voting in Georgia.

On the Republican side, current Secretary of State Brian Kemp, an otherwise mild mannered, likeable man, opposed Tim Bearden’s HB1215 election integrity bill this year. That bill would have replaced our current “no evidence” voting machines with auditable optical scan equipment, established precinct level audit procedures and required hand recounts to ensure original vote totals were correct. Just a month earlier, in February 2010, when discussing the possibility that state legislators may want to return to verifiable voting machines he told hundreds of people at a Georgia Christian Alliance debate: “Now If they want to, I would be ready to lead the charge”

At that same debate, Kemp’s primary opponent, Doug MacGinnitie, told the audience: “I have a plan that makes a lot of sense. I think we need to put in place a way to audit the systems. I have talked to some technology folks and some election lawyers. There is a cost effective way to prove or disprove once and for all if these machines count accurately or not.” But when I immediately pressed him to explain his plan he was unwilling and unable to even discuss it. Had he actually talked to me or any other competent technology professional we would have told him that it is technically impossible to audit the vote recording mechanisms of the current machines since they have no Voter Verified Paper Ballot Audit Trail.

Of the five candidates on the Democratic side of the SOS primaries, only Angela Moore has an established, historical track record of consistently supporting verifiable voting. This dates back to her 2006 campaign for the SOS office when she supported the SB591 vote count bill. Ever since then she has consistently carried the message of restoring integrity to Georgia elections.

One of her opponents, newcomer Michael Mills, articulately touts that he was once a legislative aide for Lewis Massey, the voting machine vendor lobbyist who profited from bringing unverifiable voting to Georgia. No wonder he doesn’t show much interest in verifiable voting. Need I say more.

Another newcomer, Gary Horlacher, is honestly and creatively trying to solve the ethics problems in Georgia by challenging his opponents to take a polygraph test like he did. I appreciate his recent pledge to correct Georgia’s voting machine problems and I respect his willingness to visit every Georgia county before the elections. However, he originally developed a platform, initiated a campaign and published his web site without even realizing that “no evidence” voting in Georgia was a major issue. Had it not been for Angela Moore he may not have figured it out.

Still a third newcomer in the race is Representative Georganna SInkfield. She has never co-sponsored any verifiable voting legislation and most of her legislative initiatives have nothing to do with Secretary of State functions. To her credit, she voted in 2006 for Karla Drenner’s SB500 amendment that would have required audit trails on voting machines used throughout the state. But she entered the race on or about the last day of qualifying just ten weeks prior to primary Election Day while her opponents have been running established campaigns for a year. Now just six weeks away, she still has no platform and no website, or Email address posted at the Secretary of State’s office. Her actions are so bizarre that they demand more scrutiny.

Rep. Sinkfield qualified just after Darryl Hicks had wisely decided to withdraw from the Secretary of State race to run for the Labor Commission post that Michael Thurmond will vacate in his bid for the U.S. Senate. Hicks is more suited to that position and has a better chance of winning that primary. But why would Georganna Sinkfield bother to incur the qualification and campaign costs to make such a feeble run for the SOS office? Well, it may help to know that Darryl Hicks, Georganna Sinkfield, and Angela Moore are all of African American descent (please forgive me for using that hyphenated term because we are all Americans). Angela Moore believes that Georganna’s role is to keep the black vote split and I have to agree. However, I think those voters will see through that ploy. But who would benefit if Georganna Sinkfield siphons off enough voters to prevent Angela Moore from consolidating the black vote and becoming a legitimate favorite to win the Democratic primary? The beneficiary just happens to be Gail Buckner, Georganna Sinkfield’s former fellow legislator from a neighboring district and the 2006 SOS Democratic primary winner who is also running for the office again in 2010.

Gail Buckner, a current state senator, is well aware of the “no evidence” voting issues that plague Georgia since many of us spent lots of time supplying her with a variety of information and reference material on the issue in support of our 2006 volunteer lobbying efforts. In spite of that, she has never sponsored any legislation to rectify the statewide problems, never offered any kind help to us and actually opposed all of our initiatives. She is the only legislator in the entire General Assembly who is on public record as opposing all 2006 statewide vote audit legislation. Specifically, as a representative:
n She opposed the HB 790 audit procedure bill in the House Government Affairs committee;
n She opposed SB 500 audit provisions in the House Government Affairs committee;
n She voted on the House floor against Karla Drenner’s SB500 amendment that would have required audit trails on voting machines used throughout the state;
n She ridiculed Angela Moore in the 2006 Democratic primary for supporting the SB591 vote count bill.

No other legislator opposed more than one of these initiatives but Rep. Buckner opposed all of them and even took on her on fellow Democrats in doing so. Her actions so infuriated some Democrats that several of them signed a letter that they sent to the leadership in 2006 asking her to be replaced in the Secretary of State contest. Nevertheless, she is back again even though she has alienated many grass roots Democratic Party members. While she may be qualified for other positions, the question for the Democratic Party leadership is: “Why would you want to place a candidate on the ballot in this race who cannot even unite the members of your own party?”

Perhaps the answer to that question is that the state leadership of the Democratic Party is still just as determined as the state leadership of the Republican Party to keep “no evidence” voting here in Georgia. Are they continuing their blockade against verifiable voting in expectation that one day they can use “no evidence” elections to their benefit if they have not already? It will take a highly supportive, grass roots nominee like Angela Moore to win the 2010 primary or the hopes of the people to restore the integrity of Georgia elections in 2010 may rest solely on the shoulders of Libertarian David Chastain.

Garland Favorito
Elections Director
GA Constitution Party
404 664-4044 CL

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