In the 20th installment of our Georgia Election Integrity Series we provided evidence that Cherokee County Election Board attorney Ann Brumbaugh lied to the board 12 times in a six minute public meeting rant to intimidate them into voting against an audit that many Cherokee County voters wanted for the May 24, 2022 Governor and Secretary of State primary. However, the subversion of election integrity by a neighboring Pickens County attorney may even be worse.
Pickens County Attorney Phillip Landrum repeatedly refused to follow instructions from the Board of Voter Registration and Elections to prepare a legal motion requesting the Superior Court to unseal ballots from the May 24, 2022 primary. The board voted to instruct counsel to prepare the motion so that an audit can be conducted on the Governor and Secretary of State's Republican primary. Landrum, who also represents the Pickens County Board of Commissioners, refused to write the legal motion despite the fact that the elections board had already approved instructions for him to do so. On July 19th, the board voted to audit the 2022 primary after a friendly petition was filed to unseal the ballots on June 24th by Pickens County Republican Chairman Christopher Mora. Mora filed the petition to help the board carry out its desire to unseal and audit the ballots in the controversial race to fulfill the will of many Pickens County voters.
Primary results were called into question statewide as soon as key Republican establishment candidates received astronomical wins that exceeded their polling projections. It escalated further when Georgia's Dominion voting system was proven to have declared wrong winners in a DeKalb County District 2 Commission race. One of the Republican establishment candidates, Secretary of State (SOS) Brad Raffensperger, purchased the current unverifiable QR coded voting system against the will of many Georgians. The U.S. District Court subsequently ruled on Oct. 11, 2020 that the system violates two Georgia laws. The secretary appealed the decision and continued to use the system for the 2022 primaries. After Open Records Requests (ORR) were filed on Election Night for ballot copies to verify the May 24, 2022 primary, his office falsely threatened counties to prevent them from fulfilling those ORRs. He then certified results of his own election that vastly exceeded his poll projections. The unverifiable voting system he purchased gave him 51% of the vote when he had only polled between 18 and 39%.
The friendly petition that helped to achieve the board's stated desire of unsealing ballots and conducting an audit took a bizarre turn after Pickens Superior Court judges Brenda Weaver, Mary Elizabeth Priest and John Worcester inexplicably recused themselves from ruling on the simple request to unseal ballots. Two of the three were not even running in the 2022 primary and thus had no substantive reason to recuse themselves.
The board refused to answer questions in the August 2nd board meeting thus aggravating all attendees who wanted the audit to proceed. Instead, they found it had been secretly delayed. Landrum also declined to publicly explain his refusal to issue the board's request for the court to unseal the ballots causing the audience to question who runs elections in Pickens County.
Landrum and the board further contended at the same meeting that Mora's petition must be resolved before they can move forward with an audit. This is patently false and the board was aware of Mora's June 24 petition before it voted to instruct counsel in July. Landrum and the board can unseal ballots and conduct an audit regardless of a friendly petition seeking to do the same thing. Mora has even offered to withdraw the petition if the board audits the primary results thus saving the county from any litigation.
Local State Rep. Rick Jasperse was recorded stating that Governor Brian Kemp and SOS Raffensperger asked him to "put your foot" on the audit but he refused. He now denies saying that and has not been helpful in accomplishing an audit or getting the ballots unsealed.
Georgia law is silent on post certification audits but provides clear, undisputed authority for Superior Court judges to unseal ballots for such purposes [O.C.G.A. § 21-2-500].
Therefore, there is no issue with the legality of such an audit.
In any case, Landrum appears to have clearly violated his oath of office to "honestly, justly and uprightly conduct myself", and State Bar Rules 3.3 (a) that require her to not "knowingly make a false statement of fact to a tribunal, not "knowingly fail to disclose a material fact to the tribunal" and not "To be directly adverse to the position of the client".
So here is our message to the Pickens County Board of Commissioners and Board of Voter Registration and Elections: When a county attorney is deliberately insubordinate to a county board that is attempting to carry out the will of the voters, you can bet he is covering up some serious corruption. It is time for a new election attorney who can better represent the election needs of the people of Pickens County in an honest, just and upright manner that is not averse to their interests.
Board videos courtesy of Brian Pritchard, Voice of Rural America