Letter to Hon. Elijah Cummings & Hon. Jamie Raskin; Stop Voter Suppression Machines in GA!

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The Honorable Representative Elijah Cummings, Chairman, House Oversight Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Representative Jamie Raskin, Chairman, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

RE: House Investigation of Voter Suppression and Election Fraud in Georgia

Dear Representatives Cummings and Raskin,

As you both know, Georgia's history chronicles severe and chronic voter suppression, fraud and irregularities. Voting is a constitutional right and not a privilege. The 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution provide that the right of citizens of the United States 18 years or older to vote is absolute. 

Sadly, the 2018 Midterm Elections in Georgia aptly demonstrated a pattern of deceit and planned suppression to control the quantity and quality of votes cast by people due to race, color, sex and nationality. Georgia's voting practices, if not unchecked by the findings of your joint investigations and comprehensive federal legislation, pave the way for a return to divisive Jim Crow practices that followed the Civil War.

Georgia's pernicious and widespread use of easily hackable and unverifiable electronic voting machines harms minorities, low income citizens, veterans, single parents and elderly voters the most. These hackable electronic machines, with or without paper trails, lead to widespread disenfranchisement. Georgia needs recountable, auditable and verifiable voting.

More than 70% of the country use paper ballots with high speed electronic scanning for this reason and not Electronic Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) to create a tamper proof voting system with a 100% verifiable paper voter trail. If cyber hacking is attempted again, the original paper ballots will still be available to be manually counted, thus protecting the constitutional rights of voters.

Georgia's proposed legislation to expend $150 Million or more for BMDs with hackable barcode paper trails does not solve the problem of achieving verifiable voter security:

For years, our current paperless election machines have made Georgia one of the states most vulnerable to election tampering. Georgia was a target of hacking during the 2016 elections. [1]

On February 27, 2019, HB316, a 40-page Election Bill covering a gamut of topics, from voter registrations to the way in which voters will cast their ballots, was passed by the Georgia House at breakneck speed, only 9 working days after it was introduced. On March 14, 2019, only 15 days from the day HB316 was introduced into the Georgia Legislature, both chambers passed the bill without a fiscal note. Both the Georgia House and the Senate are controlled by the Republican party, the same party of Governor Brian Kemp and his current Secretary of State. On April 2, 2019, Governor Kemp signed HB316 into law to legalize unverifiable voting in Georgia.

HB316 requires a touch-screen Electronic Ballot Marking Device ("BMD") system that produces a "ballot summary card" which cannot be recounted or audited. The author of this bill is Representative Barry Fleming, who is also the author of Georgia's "exact match" policy that left over 50,000 Georgia voters in pending status during the 2018 Midterm Election.

On July 29, 2019, the current Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger, announced that it had awarded a $106 million contract for its new voting machine vendor to Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. The State plans to implement this new system by Georgia's Presidential Preference Primary, scheduled for March 24, 2020. The system, being just another Electronic Ballot Marking Device, suffers from the same fundamental problems as the one it is replacing: there is no way to check and verify that the vote recorded by the system is the vote actually marked electronically by the voter. This new system generates and prints out a paper version of each electronic ballot cast. However, that paper version reflects only a “bar code” that is not actually generated from – and can never be tied back to – the final image of the voter's entire complete electronic ballot. 

Of note, on August 15, 2019, in ongoing litigation Curling v. Raffensperger, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg issued an Order enjoining the use of the current system after 2019 because of its vulnerabilities – and requiring that the State have a backup plan in case it cannot successfully roll out the new system in time for 2020 elections. However, it was beyond the scope of the Order to rule on the reliability of this new mechanism – meaning that it will proceed despite, as Judge Totenberg noted in her Order, the State’s own expert not favoring this new system, and agreeing that the more reliable approach is to have a paper record of the ballot that is directly readable and verifiable by the voter. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who served as Georgia's Secretary of State during his own 2018 Midterm campaign for Governor, will sign into law and implement BMDs statewide unless there is a substantial reason to stop him.

Should this happen and Ballot Marking Devices are implemented in Georgia, we can expect Georgia's 2020 Presidential Election to be an equal or worse mess than the 2018 Midterm Elections.

- You won't see hundreds of thousands of voters being purged.
- You won't see long lines with missing electrical cords.
- You won't have the "exact match" policy catching mostly African Americans and Asian Americans.
- There will be no need to close 200 poll sites.
- There will be no visible victims.
- All voter suppression can be managed "in house" electronically.

Cyber-Voter Suppression will be the new game!

BMDs can be programmed to delete votes, change each vote to count as a fraction of a vote (i.e. 0.00001 vote) and create negative votes by flipping votes from +1 to -1 for a candidate.

Evidence then easily disappears like the servers former Secretary of State Brian Kemp ordered to be "wiped clean" during a security breach, later discovered and investigated after a lawsuit was filed. [2]

There will be NO WAY to even know when small or big election results have illegally been changed by the party in control who is also in bed with the machine contractors. 

Governor Kemp and Georgia election officials have supported Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) for about 10 years.

1) ES&S lobbyist, former state Representative Chuck Harper, now serves as Governor Kemp's Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to lobbying for ES&S, Mr. Harper was a lobbyist for the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, which was overseen by then Secretary of State Brian Kemp from 2010 to 2017.

2) Governor Kemp's new executive counsel, David Dove, was a member of ES&S's advisory board when he attended a Las Vegas conference hosted by ES&S in March 2017.

3) Mr. Dove served as Chief of Staff when Brian Kemp was Secretary of State.
Mr. Kemp chose an ES&S voting system for a test run during a local municipal election in November, 2017 in Conyers, Georgia.

4) ES&S is Georgia's current election company, responsible for providing technical support and repairs to the state's 27,000 direct-recording electronic voting machines, which the state originally purchased for $54 million from Diebold Election Systems in 2002. [3] 

With the continued suppression of minority votes and voting machine antics here in Georgia, minority voters may never win fair representation in government no matter how much their population grows and how much they vote. Georgia will be stuck with sophisticated corrupt voting machines. Georgia's last flawed machines achieved the worst "grade" in voting machines, which lasted for 17 years! Georgia is set to do it again with these new and improved BMDs shielded by Georgia's Governor, the Secretary of State and the Republican Party. How many millions of the $150 Millions plus before licensing fees, maintenance fees, training fees, etc. will be funneled back into the Republican Party as payback for this historical record breaking contract?

This is a scandal to sell out voting rights for political capital that needs to be on your radar and investigated to stop future voter suppression!

Georgia is the poster child for why we need voting rights election standards in all 50 states.

The Oversight Committee is currently investigating a variety of election issues in Georgia such as voter registration, absentee ballot processing, voter suppression and general election procedures. However, the most critical issue requiring your attention may be Georgia's unverifiable electronic voting system and the forced direction to acquire another ballot marking system that is also unreliable according to 24 computer experts from around the country [4]. We urge you to add the actual voting system to the scope of your investigation, particularly to the extent that, like the aforementioned practices, the system can and should be part of any legislative record showing that minority voter suppression is widespread in Georgia. As a result, the Voting Rights Act and its preclearance provision – which, as per the Supreme Court’s recent interpretation in 2012, requires precisely a stronger legislative record of such discrimination – should once again apply to require consistent U.S. DOJ oversight of Georgia’s voting practices. 

We encourage the U.S. House Oversight Committee and the U.S. Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to continue to thoroughly investigate Governor Brian Kemp and the pattern of voter suppression and outright voter fraud developed over his (8) year tenure as Secretary of State of Georgia, and to investigate the current Secretary of State's attempt to purchase new voting machines in Georgia that will create further unsafe voting for another 10 years, especially for minorities by using electronic voter suppression! 

Brian Kemp is the master architect of voter suppression in Georgia; he has also created the illusion of fairly venting the purchase of these expensive and untrustworthy BMDs notwithstanding the uncontroverted and compelling scientific testimony to the contrary by renowned cybersecurity and voting rights experts. Not one shred of reliable evidence was adduced before the Senate and House committee hearings to challenge the overwhelming testimony that BMDs are inherently hackable and unreliable.

We ask you to thoroughly examine the preponderance of evidence available from computer scientists, statisticians and other experts that uniformly condemn Ballot Marking Devices with paper trails and barcodes as "easily hackable". We firmly believe hand marked paper ballots with high speed state of the art scanners provide the only way to guarantee 100% verifiable votes in Georgia that are recountable, auditable and safe. We need this for fair elections in 2020 and beyond!


Sincerely yours,

Cam T. Ashling, CFP®, CAIA
Chairwoman

Board Members:
Lani Wong
Bonnie Youn, Esq.
Nellie Li
Howard R. Osofsky, Esq.

Georgia Advancing Progress Political Action Committee (GAP PAC)
Visit us at www.gappac.org
P.O. Box 19145, Atlanta, GA 31126
Direct: 404.759.1782
_____________________________

[1] Was Georgia's Election System Hacked in 2016?, Politico Magazine, (July 18, 2018) (online at https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/18/mueller-indictments-georgia-voting-infrastructure-219018

[2] Georgia Election Server Wiped After Suit Filed, The Associated Press, (Oct. 26, 2017) (online at https://apnews.com/877ee1015f1c43f1965f63538b035d3f

[3] Firm's Close Ties to Georgia Stir Concern About Voting System Purchase. (Jan. 30, 2019) (online at https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/firm-close-ties-georgia-stir-concerns-about-voting-system-purchase/HVK4wcNsEAKO0Xa0ptLLKM/

[4] Expert Letter Final, Rich DeMillo, (Jan. 7, 2019) online at https://www.scribd.com/document/397049397/Experts-Letter-FINAL