Georgia probe of Trump broadens to activities in other states | Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post

An investigation into alleged election interference by former President Donald Trump and his allies in Georgia has expanded to include activities in Washington, D.C., and other states, potentially under Georgia’s racketeering laws. Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis has been investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia, and she has signaled that she may use Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute to allege a far-reaching criminal scheme. The investigation now includes information related to two firms hired by the Trump campaign to find voter fraud nationwide. The investigation is separate from the federal probe led by special counsel Jack Smith, but it covers some of the same ground. Willis’s ambitious plans may test the boundaries of the RICO law, which allows for penalties of up to 20 years in prison. The investigation has faced criticism from Republicans, but legal experts believe Willis has a strong case, although proving it in court may be challenging. Read Article

Georgia: Cyber Ninjas CEO’s voting machine activities draw investigation and scrutiny | Chris Anderson/Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Doug Logan, the former CEO of Cyber Ninjas Inc., is at the center of an incident where he gained unauthorized access to a Georgia elections office to examine voting machines as part of an investigation into alleged election fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Logan, along with a colleague, spent several hours inside the office, altering computer settings and scanning thousands of ballots. This incident is part of a larger investigation that may lead to criminal charges. Additionally, financial transactions involving Logan, such as paying off his mortgage and having a Payment Protection Loan forgiven, are highlighted. Connections between Cyber Ninjas, Sidney Powell’s nonprofit Defending the Republic, and a separate criminal investigation in Michigan are also mentioned. Read Article

Georgia Prosecutor Rebuts Trump’s Effort to Scuttle Elections Case | Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim/The New York Times

Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, has requested a judge to dismiss former President Donald J. Trump’s attempt to disqualify her from leading an investigation into whether he and his allies interfered in the 2020 election in the state. In a court filing, Ms. Willis also asked the judge to reject Trump’s request to suppress the final report of a special grand jury that examined evidence in the election meddling case. Trump’s lawyers accused Willis of bias and claimed the grand jury’s work was influenced improperly. The Georgia investigation has the potential to result in Trump’s indictment this summer, addressing whether he violated state laws while seeking to overturn President Biden’s victory after the election. Read Article

Georgia: Lawyers for GOP chair say he broke no laws as Trump alternate elector | Bill Rankin and Tamar Hallerman/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Attorneys representing Republican electors in Georgia’s 2020 election have claimed that their actions were lawful and based on legal advice, in a letter to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. The attorneys argued that the electors’ actions were in conformity with legal counsel and lacked criminal intent or liability. They cited a similar scenario in Hawaii after the 1960 presidential election, where alternate electors cast their Electoral College votes, resulting in a judge ruling in favor of the Democrats. The legal exposure of the GOP electors remains uncertain, with some experts suggesting potential charges for violating state laws, while others emphasize the importance of intent in determining criminality. Read Article

Georgia voter check-in devices stolen from DeKalb elections warehouse | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Police are investigating the theft of 19 voter check-in tablets from a DeKalb County warehouse, but Georgia election officials say the crime didn’t put voters’ information at risk. The new devices hadn’t been loaded with any voter data, and they don’t generate ballots or count votes, said Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. The tablets, called PollPads, went missing from a former Sam’s Club store in Stonecrest that the county uses as an equipment warehouse, Hassinger said. An exit door had fresh pry marks where thieves might have gained entry between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. “No other voting equipment appears to have been tampered with or rummaged through,” Hassinger said. “The pads were on top of tables in the large open area of the warehouse.” DeKalb police confirmed Monday that they’re investigating the incident. No arrests have been made yet, nor has the property been recovered, Officer Elise Wells said.

Full Article: Georgia voter check-in devices stolen from DeKalb elections warehouse

Georgia: Judge mulls whether voting machine case should go to trial | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Critics of Georgia’s voting machines say they are unconstitutional and should be scrapped in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. State election officials dismiss their concerns as unfounded and argue that the state’s voting system is safe and secure. The arguments are at the center of a long-running lawsuit challenging the Dominion Voting Systems election equipment that has been used throughout Georgia since 2020. The activists who filed the lawsuit allege that the state’s voting machines produce an unverifiable record of votes and have security vulnerabilities, amounting to an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg held a hearing Tuesday on motions filed by election officials, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and members of the State Election Board, asking the judge to rule in their favor based on the facts presented without going to trial. Lawyers for the activists argued there are disagreements on the facts in the case and that the merits of the arguments need to be fully explored at trial. Totenberg had extensive questions for both sides and did not indicate when she would rule. The lawsuit predates a spate of legal challenges to Dominion voting machines filed by allies of then-President Donald Trump in Georgia and elsewhere in the wake of his 2020 election loss. Many of those lawsuits included wild and false conspiracy theories about the machines, while the activists in this case argue their claims are supported by testimony from highly respected experts and concrete evidence that they have amassed.

Full Article: Judge mulls whether voting machine case should go to trial | AP News

No consequences so far after Trump supporters copied Georgia election data | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Caught by surveillance video, text messages and emails, overwhelming evidence shows that supporters of then-President Donald Trump copied Georgia’s statewide voting software from an election office in rural Coffee County in early 2021. Yet no one has been charged, the FBI doesn’t appear to be investigating the case, and the GBI investigation has been pending for eight months. So far, everyone involved in the scheme has escaped accountability, including former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, a phony Republican elector who tried to award Georgia’s votes to Trump, and county election officials who helped them take vast amounts of election data. They copied the files on Jan. 7, 2021 — the day after a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol and two days after runoffs in Georgia flipped control of the U.S. Senate. Georgia law enforcement and election officials say they’re taking the case seriously, but little information has been made public while the investigation remains open. Election security experts have warned that the disclosure of the inner workings of Georgia election computers increases the risk of hacks in future elections, and it could be used to fabricate evidence or spread misinformation. “The message the GBI is telling people is that it’s OK to go into Georgia and take our software and nothing is going to happen to you. The same message is coming from the FBI, too,” said Susan Greenhalgh, senior adviser for the advocacy group Free Speech for People. “There’s no publicly available information that would indicate this investigation is being executed with great rigor.”

Full Article: Investigation drags long after Coffee County election software breach

Georgia suits among those left involving election lies after Fox settlement | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This week’s massive settlement of a defamation lawsuit against Fox News is the latest effort to seek accountability for those who spread false tales of election fraud in Georgia and other states. But it’s not the last. Two Fulton County election workers whose lives were upended by false voting fraud accusations have filed defamation lawsuits against other media companies and individuals who spread the claims. And a Gwinnett County man falsely accused of voting fraud has sued the producers of the film “2000 Mules.” It’s far from certain the lawsuits will be successful — the defendants deny any wrongdoing. But the election workers have already had some success in court. And legal experts say the $787.5 million settlement in the Fox case bodes well for continuing efforts to hold people and institutions accountable for lies that undermined confidence in U.S. elections and led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. “With what appears to be one of the largest defamation settlements in history, we can hope that this is the beginning of accountability and a restoration of respect for our election process and election officials,” said David Becker, founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research.

Full Article: After Fox settlement, Georgia suits among those left involving election lies

Georgia: Voting equipment and check-in upgrades funded in state budget | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia legislators approved half of the money needed to replace heavy voting equipment across the state, along with additional funding for a quicker voter check-in process and election investigators. The most expensive elections purchase in the state budget was $2 million for new power supply devices that connect to voting machines in precincts across the state. The power supplies will be more portable for poll workers, weighing about 30 pounds each instead of the current equipment that weights 80 pounds. Some of the older power supplies have already stopped working, four years after they were purchased as part of Georgia’s $107 million statewide voting equipment from Dominion Voting Systems. “The uninterrupted power supplies required by our ballot-marking devices are currently at the end of their life cycles, and some have actually begun to fail,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “The $2 million investment made by the Legislature will begin the upgrade process to new units that are more reliable and have a longer life cycle.” Because the General Assembly only appropriated half of the $4 million it would cost to replace power supplies statewide, many precincts will have to wait for new equipment. Legislators could consider that funding next year.

Full Article: Voting equipment and check-in upgrades funded in Georgia budget

Georgia: Ban on outside election money passes General Assembly | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A party-line vote in the Georgia Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would make it a felony for county election offices to receive money from nonprofit organizations following Republican complaints that donations disproportionately benefited Democratic areas. The 32-21 vote on the bill, the most contentious election-related proposal at the Georgia Capitol this year, sends it to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. Republicans pushed the bill after DeKalb County received a $2 million grant in January from the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. The alliance includes the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which was funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who donated more than $400 million to election offices nationwide in 2020. Critics said nonprofit donations that have helped fund government election operations since 2020 overwhelmingly flowed to Democratic-run counties, but supporters of the money said it filled critical election funding shortfalls, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. “Is that fair to have this inequity of private dollars pouring into some counties to make it easy to vote and being stuck with only public dollars in other counties?” state Sen. Ed Setzler, a Republican from Acworth, asked during a debate on the measure, Senate Bill 222. “It should be fair for everybody.”

Source: Ban on outside election money passes Georgia General Assembly

Georgia grand jury hears 3rd leaked Trump call | Tamar Hallerman and Bill Rankin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The bomb-sniffing dog was new. The special grand jurors investigating interference in Georgia’s 2020 elections hadn’t before seen that level of security on the third floor of the Fulton County courthouse where they had been meeting in secret for nearly eight months. Oh, God, I hope it doesn’t find anything, one juror recalled thinking as the German Shepherd inspected the room. “It was unexpected. We were not warned of that,” she said. The reason for the heightened surveillance was the day’s star witness: Michael Flynn, former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. An election denier who suggested martial law should be imposed to seize voting machines in Georgia and other swing states where Trump lost, Flynn had only agreed to appear after being compelled to by two courts in his home state of Florida. Fulton law enforcement was taking no chances on that unseasonably warm December day, concerned about who might turn up to protect Flynn, a prominent figure among far-right, conspiracy theorist and Christian nationalist groups. Outside, on the courthouse steps, sheriffs’ deputies and marshals carrying automatic weapons kept watch.

Full Article: Behind the scenes of Trump grand jury in Georgia; jurors hear 3rd leaked Trump call

Georgia voter registration system upgraded for smoother elections | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s new, faster voter registration system is now running across the state, an upgrade that election officials said Thursday will ensure security and shorter wait times at polling places. Surrounded by dozens of county election directors at the Georgia Capitol, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the registration system successfully launched last month, replacing the state’s 10-year-old technology that at times broke down under the heavy load of high turnout. “When people ask us, ‘How do we know who voted? How do we know it’s real? How do we know it’s fair?’ Because we have the receipts we keep on this secure system. That’s how we know,” said Gabriel Sterling, Raffensperger’s chief operating officer. “Don’t let anybody believe there are dead voters voting or there’s double voting in any significant way, because it’s just not true.” The registration system, nicknamed GARViS for the Georgia Registered Voter Information System, stores registration records for Georgia’s 7.9 million voters, verifies voters’ information when they check in and processes absentee ballot information.

Full Article: New Georgia voter registration system praised after statewide launch

Georgia Republicans want to make it easier to challenge voters’ eligibility | Jane C. Timm/NBC

Georgia Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday to make it easier to kick voters off the rolls through mass challenges, according to a copy of the bill sent to lawmakers and shared with NBC News by an aide to two of the bill’s sponsors. Changes to the challenge rules were proposed to Senate Bill 221 on Tuesday night, part of a committee substitute replacing a previous version of the bill. A draft of proposed legislation was released hours after NBC News exclusively revealed that at least 92,000 voter registrations were challenged in Georgia last year. Amateur fraud hunters largely used voter rolls, public records (including change-of-address data from the U.S. Postal Service) and some door-to-door canvassing in their claims that voters were ineligible. Most of the challenges were rejected, and some counties said broadly that having mail forwarded was not enough evidence to conclude a voter had moved. Some people spend time at other addresses without abandoning residency in the state, advocates and election administrators said.

Full Article: Georgia voter eligibility challenges would be easier in new bill

Georgia bills seek to eliminate ‘Zuckerbucks’ and ballot bar codes | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Republican Georgia senators rolled out a package of bills Thursday that continue to focus on perceived flaws in the 2020 presidential election, attempting to restrict outside money, eliminate votes scanned from bar codes and ban foreigners from being hired as election workers. The proposals come two years after lawmakers passed a far-reaching overhaul to Georgia voting laws following Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory against Republican Donald Trump. … Another bill would require Georgia’s voting system to scan ballots without having to rely on QR codes, often called bar codes, which are unreadable to the human eye. Both election integrity advocates and skeptics say voters should be able to know that the scanner is reading their choices, but state election officials say the change would cost millions of dollars without improving security.

Full Article: Georgia bills seek to eliminate ‘Zuckerbucks’ and ballot bar codes

Georgia bill tries to remove bar codes from ballots | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A bill introduced in the Georgia Senate would make the printed words on ballots the official vote instead of bar codes that are unreadable by the human eye. State election officials urged caution before lawmakers change Georgia’s voting system and impose new costs on taxpayers. The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Max Burns, said Thursday that he wants voters to know that their choices are counted correctly rather than having to trust votes encoded in bar codes, also called QR codes. “The intent is to make sure that the voter has confidence that what their paper ballot indicates is what was actually counted,” Burns said of Senate Bill 189. “If you look at the QR code, that gives some people concern because they can’t read it.” Georgia’s voting system relies on a combination of touchscreens and printers, which produce a sheet of paper that includes a bar code along with a human-readable list of the voter’s choices. Then, voters insert their ballots into optical scanning machines that read the bar code, which counts as the official vote. Election security advocates have said that bar codes could be manipulated by hackers, though there’s no evidence that has ever happened. But the state’s voting technology, purchased in 2019 for over $100 million, doesn’t include the ability to interpret printed text. Instead, optical scanners interpret bar codes from in-person ballots and bubbled-in choices from absentee ballots.

Full Article: Bill introduced in Georgia seeks to eliminate ballot bar codes

Georgia legislators answered Trump’s call to overturn election | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With his chances of winning Georgia slipping away in December 2020, then-President Donald Trump hit upon a novel scheme to stay in power: State legislators would name him the winner. So, while his allies spun dubious tales of voting fraud at the Georgia Capitol, Trump’s campaign called nearly 120 Republican legislators to ask whether they would appoint a slate of presidential electors who would vote for Trump instead of Democrat Joe Biden. A log of those phone calls recently released by congressional investigators shows some lawmakers were eager to help. “Hell, yes,” said one. “100%,” replied another. “Very supportive and ready to go,” a third lawmaker told the campaign. In all, about 30 Republican legislators expressed some level of support for allowing the General Assembly to name Trump the winner of the presidential election, according to the call log. The log and other documents released by investigators suggest scores of other lawmakers also may have supported the plan.

Full Article: Jan. 6 documents: Georgia legislators answered Trump’s call to overturn election

Georgia: Judge considers whether voter challenges are intimidation | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A federal judge questioned Wednesday whether sweeping challenges to the eligibility of hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters amounted to voter intimidation by Texas-based True the Vote, a conservative organization that has promoted unproven claims of election fraud.But an attorney for True the Vote responded that Georgia laws allow residents to cast doubt on individuals who might have moved away, and the group didn’t confront or discourage anyone from casting a ballot.U.S. District Judge Steve Jones is considering whether True the Vote’s effort to challenge 364,000 voters before Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs in early 2021 went too far. He didn’t immediately rule following a court hearing in Gainesville. County election officials threw out almost all the challenges, but the lawsuit alleges that mass challenges amounted to a violation of the Voting Rights Act’s protections against voter intimidation and coercion. The case was brought by several voters and Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams. True the Vote had said it recruited former Navy SEALS to monitor polling places, and the group offered a $1 million bounty to defend fraud whistleblowers if they were sued.

Full Article: Judge considers whether Georgia voter challenges are intimidation

Georgia asks judge to uphold voting system in election security case | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia is asking a federal judge to rule in its favor in a long-running lawsuit alleging that the state’s voting system is inherently insecure. Motions for summary judgment filed Monday said there’s no evidence that voting computers have been hacked or that votes have been counted inaccurately. In addition, election officials have said audits and recounts checked election results. The state’s court filings come as the lawsuit over Georgia’s voting system, which combines touchscreens and printed-out ballots, could finally go to a trial this year, more than five years after the case started. “Ultimately, there is no burden on the right to vote using the state’s chosen voting system by the mere existence of vulnerabilities — because every voting system has vulnerabilities,” wrote attorneys for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the State Election Board. “The numerous audits and hand counts of Georgia elections verify the accuracy of Georgia’s voting equipment.” An attorney for the plaintiffs, David Cross, said there’s substantial evidence of flaws in Georgia’s voting system.

Full Article: Georgia seeks to end lawsuit over election security vulnerabilities

Georgia officials consider changes to state’s runoff election system | Benjamin Barber/Facing South

In last month’s runoff election, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael G. Warnock of Georgia defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker by 97,000 votes. Warnock had won a plurality of the votes in the Nov. 8 general election but failed to reach the 50% majority threshold the state requires to win the general election outright, forcing the runoff. Runoffs, which can be held for both primary and general elections, are almost exclusively held in the South. States that have some form of runoffs in either primary or general elections include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont. Georgia is the only state to use runoffs in both the primary and general elections. Mississippi implemented a similar system in 2020, but the state hasn’t had a general election runoff since the law was approved. In most other states, candidates who get the most votes win, while Alaska and Maine use ranked-choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting, to decide elections. Warnock’s recent victory was the third consecutive runoff win by Democrats in U.S. Senate elections in Georgia in recent years. Now lawmakers in the state’s Republican-led General Assembly are considering abolishing general election runoffs.

Full Article: Georgia officials consider changes to state’s runoff election system | Facing South

Georgia election officials conduct optional audit of US Senate runoff | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The U.S. Senate runoff was being audited Wednesday and Thursday in most Georgia counties, where election workers will count paper ballots by hand so they can be compared to the results from the computer tally on election night. Election officials said Tuesday the audit will show voters whether results were accurate when Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker by over 99,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points. Because the audit isn’t required by state law, not every county chose to participate, making it impossible to double-check that statewide results were correct. Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 138 opted to join the audit, including all of metro Atlanta except Douglas County. “The big reason why we audit is we want to improve confidence in the results of the election,” said State Elections Director Blake Evans. “We want people to see that their county election officials are going the extra mile to be able to hand-count the batches of ballots that are selected, and those hand counts will be compared against the machine results.”

Full Article: Georgia election officials conduct optional audit of US Senate runoff

Georgia election audit shows similar results as machine ballot count | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An election audit completed Friday showed similar results between a hand count and machine tally of ballots in the secretary of state’s race, a result that Georgia election officials said confirmed the outcome. The audit examined a randomized sample of 231,000 ballots cast in the secretary of state’s race and found few discrepancies in Republican Brad Raffensperger’s reelection over Democrat Bee Nguyen. Across the state, the audit counted 21 more votes for Raffensperger and 18 fewer for Nguyen. “This audit shows that our system works and that our county election officials conducted a secure, accurate election,” Raffensperger said. Georgia law requires an audit of one race after each general election, and Raffensperger decided to check his own win, which had the largest margin of victory in any statewide race, at 9.3 percentage points.

Full Article: Georgia election audit shows similar results as machine ballot count

Georgia election audit begins with dice roll to review random ballots | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With the roll of 20 colorful dice in the Georgia Capitol, election officials launched an audit of a random sample of ballots Wednesday that will be reviewed by hand across the state this week. The audit will check whether machine counts of ballots match hand tallies, showing whether the outcome was accurate. Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer for the secretary of state’s office, said he hopes the ballot review will prove to voters that they can trust the results of elections. “This audit is an important part of keeping that faith alive,” Sterling said. “Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, we want people to understand the state of Georgia is one of the best states, if not the best state, for fair and accessible elections.” State law requires an audit of one race every two years, and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger decided to check his own win over Democrat Bee Nguyen. It was the largest margin of victory in any statewide race, at 9.3 percentage points.

Full Article: Election audit in Georgia launches a manual review of paper ballots

Georgia Democrats sue to allow Saturday voting in runoff amid holiday dispute | Matthew Brown/The Washington Post

Democrats are suing to force Georgia election officials to allow early voting on a Saturday ahead of the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff election. The suit comes in response to a determination by state officials that law forbids voting right after Thanksgiving and a state holiday that once honored Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The state’s decision, announced over the weekend, prompted a lawsuit from the Democrat fighting for reelection, Sen. Raphael G. Warnock, as well as the Georgia Democratic Party and the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm. They argue in their suit that current guidance “applies only to primary and general elections, not runoffs.” Without action by the courts, the suit states, Georgia voters “will be deprived of their right to vote during the advance voting period permitted by Georgia law.” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) responded to the lawsuit Tuesday morning by accusing Democrats of “seeking to change Georgia law right before an election based on their political preferences” and “muddying the water and pressuring counties to ignore Georgia law.”

Full Article: Democrats sue over Georgia early voting amid dispute over Robert E. Lee holiday – The Washington Post

Georgia ballot rules mean voters are falling between cracks, advocates say | Carlisa N Johnson/The Guardian

Just six days before the midterm election, Madison Cook, an eager first-time Georgia voter and a college student at school in Mississippi, awaited the arrival of her requested absentee ballot. She continued to follow up with her county election officials. But nearly one month after her application was processed, it appeared to be lost in the mail. “Here’s a great example of a voter who is falling through the cracks,” said Vasu Abhiraman, deputy policy and advocacy director at ACLU of Georgia, who received an email seeking help for Cook. “If she doesn’t get her ballot, she has almost no hope of voting.” Here in Georgia, early in-person voting was projected to reach 2.4m by the end of Friday – the last day of early voting – marking the highest voter turnout of a midterm election in the state’s history. But voting rights organizers say that this year’s high in-person voter turnout is reflective of the impact Georgia’s new restrictive voting law has had on other forms of voting, such as casting an absentee ballot by mail or on election day. In this year’s midterm elections, about 200,000 of the nearly 300,000 requested absentee ballots had been returned as of Friday. That’s proportionally far less than the 2020 presidential election, when voters cast more than 1.3m absentee ballots throughout the state. “The hurdles are up in front of Georgia voters, and some are having difficulty jumping those hurdles on the way to the ballot box,” said Abhiraman. “Voters in Georgia are not feeling as confident when they cast their ballots this time around.”

Full Article: Georgia ballot rules mean voters are falling between cracks, advocates say | US midterm elections 2022 | The Guardian

Georgia’s Battle Over the Ballot | Darryl Pinckney/The New York Review of Books

Democracy can get a good person up in the middle of the night to read the newspapers online. When the news is bad, I fit a definition of literacy in the nineteenth century: someone has to tell me what is in the papers. Not long ago I was asking, How could Herschel Walker be one point ahead of Raphael Warnock in the race for the Georgia Senate seat? The world loves an ignorant, truculent Negro, Margo Jefferson said, especially the athletic kind. How could Brian Kemp be tied with Stacey Abrams in the contest for governor of Georgia? Some white people (and a few black men) resent a black woman whom they cannot patronize, no one had to tell me. The history of my family in Georgia is one of trying to get out of the state. When my parents were growing up there in the 1930s and 1940s, colored people couldn’t vote in the primaries; elections were just exercises in rubber-stamping. In 1946 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld in King v. Chapman a 1945 district court ruling that the segregated Georgia primaries were unconstitutional. Henry A. Wallace got 1,636 votes in Georgia when he ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948. His tally was missing two votes, because my parents were no longer residents. A cousin in the NAACP had been assaulted trying to register black people. Strom Thurmond on the racist Dixiecrat ticket came in a distant second to Harry Truman, the Democrat. My parents remembered the name of Isaiah Nixon, murdered for trying to vote in Georgia in that election.

Source: Georgia’s Battle Over the Ballot | Darryl Pinckney | The New York Review of Books

Why do Georgia’s voting stickers now say, “I secured my vote”? | Sam Worsley/Atlanta Magazine

In 2020, the stickers handed out at polling places across Georgia began showing signs of anxiety—relatable, for sure. Previously a cheery illustration of a peach beneath the phrase “I’m a Georgia voter,” the item acquired another sentence, in shoutier lettering: I SECURED MY VOTE! The update was introduced by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger following a period of heightened attention to how Americans vote: In the past dozen years, a number of states have enacted measures making it more difficult, such as stricter voter-identification requirements. Many restrictions disproportionately affect people of color—in an effort to treat problems, experts say, that don’t meaningfully exist. The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks such restrictions, has calculated that onerous ID requirements, for instance, “address a sort of voter fraud more rare than death by lightning.” The origins of the “I voted” sticker are hazy, but they’ve become ubiquitous, allowing voters to sport their civic achievement while broadcasting a bit of peer pressure; in 1984, Vice President George H.W. Bush wore one that said, “I voted today—have you?” The introduction of the secret ballot in the 19th century made voting a lonelier and more somber affair than it had been previously, and may have contributed to falling turnout rates. The original “I voted” stickers offered a little good cheer and fellow feeling. In the emotional sense, then, the new ones are a departure, hinting at some darker possibility. Semantically, the message isn’t immediately clear: Is “voting” the same thing as “securing one’s vote”? What was I securing it against? “It’s bringing it up,” said Morehouse College political science professor Adrienne Jones. “Someone is leaving the polls like, Yeah, I secured my vote. They’re in that conversation about the idea that the vote is not secure.”

Full Article: Why do Georgia’s voting stickers now say, “I secured my vote”? – Atlanta Magazine

Georgia: How one small-town lawyer faced down the plans of election skeptics | Stephanie McCrummen/The Washington Post

Word of the hearing had been spreading for weeks, and on a bright fall Friday, election skeptics from around northwest Georgia filed into the normally quiet Pickens County Courthouse, expecting that a victory for their movement was imminent. “Down the hall,” a security guard said to a man in an American flag golf shirt, a woman holding fliers for a possible victory rally, and others wearing stickers that read, “The machines must go,” and soon every seat was taken in Courtroom A. Of all the counties in Georgia, this was the one where the activists believed they would succeed. Pickens County is small, rural, overwhelmingly White and Republican, an under-the-radar place where election disinformation had flourished and the people who believed it had easily overtaken the establishment GOP. What they wanted now was a version of what people like them were going for at the grass-roots level all over the country: a way to question the results of a decided election. In their case, they wanted a hand recount of paper ballots cast in the May GOP primary. They wanted to make those sealed paper ballots public records. And they wanted a judge to grant their county election board broad powers to conduct elections in whatever manner it deemed necessary to assuage the doubts of people like them, a ruling that could be applied across all of Georgia’s 159 counties ahead of the midterm elections and beyond.

Full Article: How Pickens County, Ga. election skeptics lost fight to make ballots open records – The Washington Post

Georgia: What happened with the voting equipment  in Coffee County? | Emma Brown and Jon Swaine/The Washington Post

After the 2020 election, allies of President Donald Trump mounted a multistate effort to access voting machines in a quest to find purported evidence that the results had been rigged. Parts of that effort played out in public as Trump allies sought to access machines with court orders or subpoenas. But other aspects were secret and did not involve court orders, giving rise to multiple criminal investigations. In rural Coffee County, Ga., forensics experts paid by a nonprofit run by pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell copied virtually every component of the voting system. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now investigating. On Jan. 7, 2021 — the day after Trump supporters mounted a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol — forensics experts visited the elections office in Coffee County. Trump had won the south Georgia county in a landslide in the 2020 election, yet suspicions persisted among some county leaders that fraud was to blame for Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in the state and nationwide. The forensics experts were employees of an Atlanta-based firm called SullivanStrickler. They were welcomed by the county elections supervisor, a member of the county elections board and the chair of the county GOP, who suspected that the 2020 election results had been rigged.

Full Article: What happened in Coffee County, Georgia, with voting equipment? – The Washington Post

Georgia: Mark Meadows ordered to testify before grand jury in election probe | harlie Gile and Summer Concepcion/NBC

A South Carolina judge ruled Wednesday that Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows must testify before a special grand jury in Georgia investigating possible interference in the 2020 presidential election. At a hearing Wednesday morning, South Carolina Circuit Judge Edward Miller ruled that Meadows must comply with a petition seeking his testimony before the grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, the clerk of court for Pickens County, South Carolina, told NBC News. Meadows, who lives in South Carolina, has tried to avoid testifying before the grand jury probe into possible election interference by then-President Donald Trump and his allies. An attorney for Meadows did not immediately reply to messages seeking comment. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has sought Meadows’ testimony, saying he was in communication with Trump, his campaign “and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney agreed to her request and ordered Meadows to appear last month.

Full Article: Mark Meadows ordered to testify before grand jury in Georgia election probe

Georgia: Judge: Trump knew his voting fraud stats were inaccurate | avid Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Then-President Donald Trump knew claims that thousands of people voted illegally in Georgia were inaccurate when he included them in a lawsuit that sought to overturn Joe Biden’s victory here, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. In a December 2020 lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Trump claimed 10,315 dead people, 2,560 felons and 2,423 registered voters cast ballots illegally in the presidential election. He later incorporated those claims when he contested the Fulton County proceedings in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. But correspondence among his attorneys shows Trump knew the statistics were false by the time he vouched for them in the federal lawsuit. In Wednesday’s ruling, a federal judge in California found that Trump’s false verification of the voting fraud statistics in Georgia was part of an effort to delay the Jan. 6, 2021, congressional certification of Biden’s victory. He made the determination after reviewing hundreds of emails that a Trump attorney sought to withhold from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. And he ordered some of the emails to be released to the committee. “The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” U.S. District Judge David O. Carter wrote. “The court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Full Article: Judge: Trump knew his Georgia voting fraud stats were inaccurate