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Baseless election fraud charges from local leaders regrettable

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 09, 2020 - 5:42 PM

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It is unfortunate in American politics that when one side loses an election they sometimes do not see the loss as the people choosing one side over another; they imagine that their loss can only be due to fraud, unethical behavior or a lack of transparency. The recent national election is no exception.

Over the past several days I have seen posts by an official elected to Georgia’s General Assembly from Coweta County claiming that there was significant fraud in the election and later in the post asking for people to provide evidence. That is the same as the police coming to your door, arresting you and asking your neighbors to provide evidence to justify the arrest. Evidence should precede accusations.

Today, Georgia’s two U.S. Senators called for the Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger to resign because he, “failed to deliver honest and transparent elections” yet they provided zero evidence of any fraud or lack of transparency. I suspect this accusation has less to do with any of Mr. Raffensperger’s efforts and more to do with positioning for the January runoff election.

During this election, I had the privilege to work the election polls for 10 days of early voting and all day on election day. After that experience, hearing the irresponsible claims of voting irregularities demanded that I speak out.

The level of security of the election system is truly incredible. Every aspect of voting is entirely secure and transparent. Let me provide three examples of this security.

1. If you requested or received an absentee ballot, you were not allowed to vote in person until that absentee ballot’s unique bar code had been canceled. We encountered many voters in this category. Each time they had their prior ballot or request canceled prior to voting in person. If an absentee ballot were to arrive in the election office following an “in-person” vote, it is not counted and that person could expect a visit from law enforcement.

2. The equipment used to vote, from the check-in system to the ballot marking devices (that looked like big iPads) to the scanners, all have security tags all over them. Just to turn on a ballot marking device we had to record a tag that was on the unit, cut it off, turn on the device, retag it, and record the new number. All of that paperwork went back to the county. The ballot devices were not connected to the internet and kept track of the number of ballots cast on each one.

3. On Election Day, we had to have three people present just to enter the building. When voting was done a tape was run showing the results for the precinct and posted on the door. Another tape was sent to the county along with the scanner memory card and all of the printed ballots. The number of physical ballots had to match the number from all of the ballot marking devices, the memory card and the number that were scanned. There is no way to “add or remove a few ballots” and ensure everything balances.

The professionals in the Coweta Board of Elections and Registration under Ms. Jane Scoggins leadership required that every regulation was carefully followed. This included all paperwork, ensuring there was no campaigning near voting locations and the actual vote itself. Rather than being accused of running a fraudulent election, they should be commended for their hard work and dedication to free and fair elections.

Given the structure put in place by Mr. Raffensperger and his team, it is absurd to state that the vote in Georgia was fraudulent or lacked transparency. To claim either without any substantial evidence is unjust and immoral and those who do so should be called to account.

In reality, presidential elections are always difficult. Sometimes we get the candidate we prefer and sometimes we do not. In the twelve presidential elections that I have participated in since my first in 1976, six times the candidate that I favored won and six times they lost. I don’t think that the elections were stolen when my preferred candidate lost. The candidates lost because they failed to get all of the votes that they needed.

It is time that we as Americans treat one another with a little more respect and dignity. If irregularities, fraud, malfeasance or lack of transparency is suspected during any election, the evidence should be gathered and analyzed before making broad proclamations of wrongdoing.

The fact that elected leaders in our community, state, and nation are content to make baseless charges and then start looking for evidence shows just how far we have fallen away from decency.

Steve Swope