Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Karen Pulled a Kerry? Part 1 of Garland Favorito's latest missive.

Sorry we're a day late Folks.

Here's part one of Garland Favorito's latest communication on the most ethical republican candidate running for Governor, the one, the only, Karen Handel.

Take it away Garland!

Will the Real Karen Handel Please Stand Up?

Many of us have encountered politicians who say one thing and do another. We already know the drill. A candidate runs for office on a given platform or set of promises and then after being elected, ignores the platform or sometimes even embarks in the complete opposite direction. There may be no more perfect an example of such a total flip-flop on an important current issue in Georgia than that of former Secretary of State (SOS), Karen Handel on Georgia’s statewide unverifiable voting. But the story is deeper than just a reversal of position. It entails deception, a betrayal of constituents, and politically motivated power abuses that local news media outlets are unwilling to touch. It also illustrates how contributions from vendor lobbyists can negatively impact public policy.

In 2006, Karen Handel demonstrated that she clearly understood the deficiencies of our voting equipment as well or better than any of the ten Secretary of State candidates in the race. She also showed promise that she was willing to do something about the equipment that was implemented in 2002 at a cost of $54 million. Although she cleverly avoided making a quotable commitment, her “Basics” report perfectly articulated the problems with Georgia’s voting machines. It stated:

“The electronic voting machines currently used in Georgia’s elections are already obsolete… ”
· “Voters should have the ability to review their ballot both electronically and manually on paper”,
“Procedures must be established for audits of elections to verify that the electronic vote totals are accurate.”
“The paper audit trail should be the determining factor in discrepancies in the vote and should be the ballot of record.”

Many E-Voting rights activists, including myself supported her. I personally helped create scorecards outlining her positions in the primary versus Bill Stevens. I also assisted in securing a sizeable political donation for her campaign. I even convinced hundreds of Democrats to cross party lines and vote for her over opponent Gail Buckner, who staunchly opposed all forms of statewide voting legislation. But after her election, she took no substantive action to correct the problems. We were forced to continue our lawsuit challenging the removal of election audit capabilities all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court which ruled to uphold unverifiable voting in Georgia.

In response to the ruling on September 28, 2009, a weekly Gwinnett County based news service that ran ads for Karen Handel published an article that falsely portrayed our lawsuit as a challenge to all electronic voting although several plaintiffs including me had actually worked hard at the state legislature in support of auditable electronic voting. In that article, was an official statement from Secretary Handel that completely reversed her 2006 position. It read:
“Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation due to four levels of security testing on touch-screen voting machines, our partnership with nationally renowned elections experts at the Kennesaw State University Center for Elections Systems, the dedication by county election officials to provide secure and fair elections at the local level and our photo ID requirement”.

Former Secretary Handel, still uses the slogan “Bring it On” and boasts that she can take on the tough issues, after completely ducking this key issue altogether and reversing herself on the position. She did not take action to ensure that the state will protect the fundamental voting right for its citizens, thus putting Georgia at more risk of unnecessary federal intervention which can set new precedents for a bigger, more intrusive, federal government. At the same time she also disingenuously claims to be a state’s rights candidate. Many people would call that hypocritical. But worse yet, her final position on this issue is not just a complete reversal but also highly deceptive.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!

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