By Staff Writer
The purposefully lax quality control of the Georgia primary election on May 24 remains a high-profile example of the violation of rights of Georgia citizens statewide, especially considering the release of the Vulnerabilities Affecting Dominion Voting Systems ImageCast X Advisory Report from the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, on June 3, 2022. The Advisory clearly states 'These vulnerabilities present risks that should be mitigated as soon as possible,'; Georgia Republican state officials are ignoring this federal warning. As more stonewalling, lies, and failed process comes to light, the more it becomes evident that the government, along with the political apparatus, must have something very valuable to lose in allowing election transparency and heeding the rational mitigation recommendations of a major Federal Advisory regarding the security of our nation.
In fact, currently, NO complete primary election race has been proven to be correct. The Dominion system cannot check itself, and it currently has a 0% accuracy rate in the 2022 primary. The most obvious mitigation is a rigorous post-election tabulation audit of the human-readable portions of physical paper ballots, which the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) considers 'original' ballots with both the readable text and the QR Code. The codes, which are not verifiable, are the source of input for the Dominion system.
Citizens within the government have reported to advocacy groups that the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State (SoS) has pressured and threatened counties to be in lock-step with its flawed guidance. For example, the legal reasoning that county attorneys copy/paste to citizens in their refusal to remit the original ballot copies does not appear to align with actual election law. SoS attorney Ryan Germany's 'MEMOS' appear to be blatantly wrong, the county attorneys are afraid to stand up for what's right, and there seems to be a 'group effort' to willfully refuse to honor government transparency laws found in Title 50. Open public records access is quite possibly the greatest single tool for government accountability.
One recent such request to SoS Raffensberger has produced a stunning revelation -- the elections were not conducted with accuracy.
Look at this. (the signatures were marked out by The Georgia Record to prevent fraud).
Bulloch County, which is home to the city of Statesboro and Georgia Southern University, submitted an illegitimate and invalid set of 'Certification of Election Returns' to the SoS, just after the primary election. These official forms are specifically designed to meet the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-493, which is printed on the bottom. However, the Bulloch certification forms have only three signatures on them and a timestamp from the 'SOS Elections for June 2, 2022 7:00PM.' That is all.
What are the forms missing?
An elementary school honor roll certificate has more validity than these documents residing with the Georgia SoS as a representation of the will of nearly 10,000 citizens in Bulloch county.
Incomplete forms are normally rejected from being clocked into most government systems. However, the SoS Elections Division accepted these forms to support the transition of the Bulloch results from 'unofficial' to 'official' status in the contracted Clarity Elections System as of 3:01pm on June 1. A confirmatory email from the SoS stated the results are 'certified and official' based on these forms and some attachments. Timing is important, because the law requires certifications by 5:00pm on the Monday following elections, or Tuesday in the case of the Memorial Day federal holiday. Logically, election quality issues and other legal concerns create exceptions in the law.
One of the responsibilities of the Georgia SoS is to maintain the seal of the state. It is required that the seal be affixed on official documents and correspondence thereby ascertaining the honor and reliability of the work on behalf of Georgia citizens. Is the sanctity and dignity of the state's seal with respect to the state's interest preserved by accepting something as poor quality as Bulloch's County's 'Certification of Returns?'
Who is responsible for certification? The Election Superintendent. In many counties, it is a probate judge. However, in most counties, including Bulloch County, it is a Board of Elections and Registration. Bulloch has a three-member board consisting of Theresa Jackson (D), Hadley Campbell (R), and Jeff Yawn (R). They were appointed by the Board of Commissioners and are serving four-year terms. The Elections Supervisor, Shontay Jones, handles the day-to-day affairs of the Bulloch Elections Department.
According to Election Code O.C.G.A. § 21-2-70, each superintendent within his or her county or municipality shall exercise all the powers granted to him or her by this chapter and shall perform all the duties imposed upon him or her by this chapter, which shall include the following:
- To receive from poll officers the returns of all primaries and elections, to canvass and compute the same, and to certify the results thereof to such authorities as may be prescribed by law;
The board and election supervisor have taken an oath that states: I, ____________________________, do swear (or affirm) that I will [as a member of the board of elections and registration, elections supervisor] duly attend all ensuing primaries and elections during the continuance thereof, that I will to the best of my ability prevent any fraud, deceit, or abuse in carrying on the same, that I will make a true and perfect return of such primaries and elections, and that I will at all times truly, impartially, and faithfully perform my duties in accordance with Georgia laws to the best of my judgment and ability.
Certification implies a certificate or proper legal form attesting to the validity of an election. A seal of a government body establishes compliance with a standard required by law. In the case of elections, the lower municipal and county seals help to guarantee the seal of the Governor, whose ultimately duty it is to guarantee elections as part of his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Georgia Constitution. By not affixing seals to the actual election certifications, one might think the county election superintendents may be trying to avoid wrongful or fraudulent behavior, which could bring federal consequences.
Anyone who has filed tax forms, legal paperwork or contracts would know that forms cannot be legally received by accountable bodies if they are not properly completed. For example, failing to sign a mortgage contract or court document normally places significant pressure on the processors to correct the errors and quickly HALTS all processing. Yet, the Georgia Primary Election was certified by Secretary of State Raffensberger on June 6, several days ahead of the legal requirement, with invalid forms from Bulloch county. We also know of other jurisdictions where the problem exists.
Furthermore, the Board of Elections and Registration met on June 13 in order to sign what they named a 'Resolution to approve and ratify the certification of the consolidated returns' for the May 24 elections. Additionally, they wrote that their goal was to 'establish an effective date' for the certification. They did apply their seal, signatures, and date to this document. However, some believe this was a suspicious activity. Creating an effective date of an election certification two weeks after what the law requires to be a timely and perfect return of elections seems to be a government act devoid of meaning and involving additional questions regarding election return materials. Some of the returns, specifically the original ballots, had been directly refused open records copy remittance since citizen requests were filed on May 24 & May 31.
Additionally, citizens have an official document indicating the cartons of election return materials were placed under the seal of the Clerk of the Superior Court, Heather Banks McNeal on June 15, 2022. However, the Clerk, a constitutional officer, could not produce a dated filing document showing when the 2020 election returns were placed under seal. The Clerk is required to follow a document retention schedule outlined by law. Dates matter.
Georgia seems to be experiencing a crisis of law and order in regards to citizen rights to the election franchise and the right to candidacy. These are basic government functions. It is supportive of Georgia citizen rights that VoterGA has filed a lawsuit in every Georgia county to assist. There is much more work to be accomplished.
For starters, ANY CITIZEN may exercise their rights under Georgia open government & transparency laws to request election records from municipalities, counties, and the SoS. This is the LINK TO REQUEST RECORDS FROM THE OFFICE OF GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE. It is suggested that you keep track of everything well, watch that the three-day requirements be met, and record all phone calls.
PERTINENT LAWS FOR GEORGIA CITIZENS:
O.C.G.A. § 45-12-14. Governor - Oath of Office.
The Governor-elect shall, before he enters on the duties of his office, take the following oath in the presence of the General Assembly in joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives:
"I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of Governor of the State of Georgia and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution thereof and the Constitution of the United States."
Georgia State Constitution: SECTION I. RIGHTS OF PERSONS
Paragraph I. Life, liberty, and property. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of law.
Paragraph II. Protection to person and property; equal protection. Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.
O.C.G.A. § 1-2-6. Rights of Citizens Generally.
O.C.G.A. § 21-2-210. Secretary of State deemed the chief state election official.
The Secretary of State is designated as the chief state election official to coordinate the responsibilities of this state under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-31) as required by 42 U.S.C. Section 1973gg-8.
O.C.G.A. § 50-3-31. Great Seal of the State - Use and Display.
In addition to official documents which require that the great seal be affixed, the Governor may authorize the use and display of the great seal or a facsimile of the state emblem under such conditions as he may impose when there shall be demonstrated to his satisfaction that the intended use or display thereof is appropriate and legitimate and is not contrary to the state's interest in preserving the sanctity and dignity of the state seal and emblem and that the use or display will not otherwise violate Code Section 50-3-8 or 50-3-9.
O.C.G.A. § 21-2-499. Duty of Secretary of State as to tabulation, computation, and canvassing of votes for state and federal officers; certification of presidential electors by Governor.
(a) Upon receiving the certified returns of any election from the various superintendents, the Secretary of State shall immediately proceed to tabulate, compute, and canvass the votes cast for all candidates described in subparagraph (a)(4)(A) of Code Section 21-2-497 and upon all questions voted for by the electors of more than one county and shall thereupon certify and file in his or her office the tabulation thereof.
O.C.G.A. § 21-2-596. Failure of public or political officer to perform duty.
Any public officer or any officer of a political party or body on whom a duty is laid by this chapter who willfully neglects or refuses to perform his or her duty shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
O.C.G.A. § 21-2-598. Violations of chapter [Election Code 21]
Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.