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Tue Nov 19, 2019, 10:55 PM

Critics of Georgia's new voting machines accused of election interference

Source: The Guardian

The fight to vote

Critics of Georgia’s new voting machines accused of election interference

State infamous for election security breaches investigating three accused of interfering at polling site in 5 November election

Sonam Vashi
Tue 19 Nov 2019 17.23 GMT
Last modified on Tue 19 Nov 2019 21.54 GMT

Georgia has become infamous for election security breaches in the past few years. But in a somewhat ironic twist, Georgia secretary of state’s office has now decided to investigate allegations that three vocal critics of the state’s controversial new voting machines interfered at a polling place during this year’s 5 November election.

The investigation, opened on 5 November, occurred after the office received notifications about election integrity advocates Rhonda Martin; Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, a not-for-profit that’s one of the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit⁠ over the state’s voting machines; and Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computing professor and cybersecurity expert.

The complaint – which the secretary of state’s office initiated after hearing from “more than one person”, says office spokesman Walter Jones – states that the three were observed “inside the enclosed space, without authorization, at a Paulding county polling location” for more than an hour and a half.

There is usually about six feet of “enclosed space” around the voting booth in which no one except for the voter and poll workers are allowed to go, according to Georgia’s state code. However, people can legally observe voting, and electronic voting machines should be arranged in such a way to secure the voter’s privacy but allow observation by poll workers and public observers.

DeMillo, who was at the polling location to research the effectiveness of the new machines, says he has not been contacted by the state to know exactly what he’s accused of, but denies breaking state law. He said he followed all standard regulations – “I introduce[d] myself to the poll manager, told them, ‘I’m not associated with any political party, and I’m here for the public to observe the election. Where can I stand to do that?’” – and was escorted by the poll manager to where he was supposed to be, including to the room containing the new voting machines.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/19/georgia-new-voting-machines-critics-under-investigation

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