Athens-Clarke County vs State Election Board
Bryan Sells addresses the SEB - updates that some polling places can fit the # of voting stations required, some do not.
Offers an alternate - put more stations per voter in some precincts than others.
Says @dominionvoting system is being used in 158 counties.
Guess what - ACC is using the uniform system, following the Cobb pilot protocol, and the SEB's own emergency ballot procedure.
Says there is an emergency backup option, but you must try.
1 voting station per 250 voters
Can't change polling places in under 75 days.
SOS did inspections too late to change.
BOER was threatened with lawsuit if it changed polling places quickly.
The law says the Election Board gets to decide. And Judge Smith in Sumter says the Election Board must decide.
"No reasonable Board, faced with these circumstances, could find differently with these facts".
Re privacy: old tablet allowed less chance to view. New tablet is bigger, brighter, and stands more upright.
Old setups had machines deployed around the wall, facing the center.
If you turned off security cameras unless your store was empty, would you be protected from shoplifting?
Harvey says yes.
Problem is "no one can see your ballot", including poll managers.
Newsflash: tampering is a contact sport - the tablets and printers have data access ports...
Harvey is floundering.
Harvey says "no problem"
Crowd erupts in laughter.
@GaSecofState cautions crowd to be quiet.
There are nearly 100 people here - mostly supporting ACC
Voting tablets were allocated at the rate of 1 per 225 voters, to keep lines as short as possible.
When did ACC get equipment?
Harvey: I don't know.
Sells: did ACC receive BMDs in time to change polling places.
Harvey: I don't know.
What has your office done to try to address #BallotSecrecy
A: I've been trying to raise the issue.
Election Directors like to work in standard ways.
Euphemism for, we forgot to tell you, but they take up 50% more space, + you need 1/3 more
When did Counties get actual guidance.
When did you tell them "turn the machines around"?
Prior to Feb 13, can you point to any direction to ACC advising "turn the machines around"?
If you have the space to separate the tables, you avoid one voter passing behind another.
Harvey: it's a possibility.
Harvey rough sketched the proposed diagrams.
They are not to scale.
Doesn't show scanner/ballot box, provisional voting area, room for observers, poll workers, accessible voting.
Harvey: that could be set up also.
Side note: every county is required to print ballots for 10% of voters, to be used if equipment fails or lines are 30+min
Where will voters mark those ballots privately?
Harvey concedes the conversation, but denies he meant the state might provide them - just looking into feasibility.
Harvey: I suppose it might enhance privacy.
Note: absolute #BallotSecrecy is the law, not "enhanced privacy"
Harvey: it was court ordered, Cobb agreed to do it.
We did not produce a final report for that pilot.
She claims her investigators have been throughout the state, and not heard complaints about #BallotSecrecy
Bunch of photos being shown.
Sells: can you see the window? And the person in the other room?
Watson: There may be blinds
Counties were instructed to review their polling places for practical set up problems.
I think it's very possible to set up polling places, there could challenges, but it's possible.
Sells: do you know when ACC received it's BMDs.
Q: I don:t remember the specifics.
"I said it's possible, not impracticable"
Q: How many BMDs could you fit in this room?
A: can't answer
Isn't it true that if GA law requires more BMDs than fit the space available, then it's impracticable.
A: I'm not comfortable answering the question.
The counties are responsible for that.
@GaSecofState says "move on"
ACC Election Director Charlotte Sosebee takes the stand. She has been working in elections since 1988.
Equipment arrived Feb 3 - two demo BMDs came earlier.
Initial allotment of BMDs was 298 - 20 more due by May Primary.
Discussing value of BMDs.
A: 5 booths from Inclusion Solutions - allows 2 BMDs back to back. Just purchased what we needed for the election office early voting precinct.
A: ordered paper ballots for 100% of voters, last batch mid-February.
Q; did you develop a plan that would protect voter privacy.
A: yes. Presented concept plan to the ACC BOER.
Says Winterville and other precincts could work.
But not specifically as to how many booths would fit.
It's the Million$$ question.
Let's see the to-scale drawings.
Will need a secrecy sleeve, more pens, more ballots.
Old plan was 2 pens for a precinct, but emergency ballot procedure required 10% ballots ready.
Bad emergency plan if pens aren't available.
Establishes staff went to polling places, not her.
Inclusion Solution booths are only for early voting.
Establishes most conference calls did not focus on #BallotSecrecy
Blockbuster: as of Jan 23, no measurements of polling places had been taken. Yet, she had specs, and was assuring BOER the BMDs would fit.
Sosebee: did not want to use the curtains, citing security, voters taking photos, color.
Reminder: law requires 1 voting station per 250 registered voters, set up to protect absolute #BallotSecrecy and preserve observation of equipment to protect from tampering.
She says we'll be creative, and we have confidence.
Re: early voting location - wanted 10 voting booths, she and staff spent 11 hours over 2 days - 8 was the most that could fit.
Defense calls election assistant Lisa McGlaun
She's talking about assessing polling places. On Nov 13, she exchanged emails with @dominionvoting rep. By December Conference, concerns about electrical became clear.
She looked at drawings yesterday - drawings are not final. When we get into the space, there will be changes.
Shows a note from 10/17 - privacy concerns with BMDs.
2/13 webinar with Harvey - BMDs face wall.
Election staff have been working tirelessly to overcome the myriad problems created by the choice of the @dominionvoting system.
Yet State Election Board is blaming ACC for making choices that protect voters.
Mar 5 sent preliminary drawings.
Remember, Feb 4 BOER tasked Sosebee with completing drawings b4 Mar 4.
Attorney asks - did you have this problem with the old system?
When will scale drawings be finalized?
By March 18.
Did you have privacy concerns?
A: it didn't feel like a private situation. If more people were there, it would have been a real problem.
It was clear I would have been able to see other voters. Had to pass 3 booths to get to my booth.
Also had trouble with the scanner.
Establishes the fact that precinct changes to accommodate equipment was also not an option.
When voting stations are side by side, you can see the BMD tablets as you walk by.
A: we had no evidence we could protect #BallotSecrecy, provide the required # of voting stations, and protect electronic equipment from tampering.
Only 3 comply with the # of voting stations, and even those do not protect the other 2 laws.
Note: if it could be done, it would have been done by now.
If we saw it could be done - if we had evidence, we would reconsider our decision.
Q: did Sosebee assure the Board she could do it?
Q: why didn't you trust her
A: I saw the violation with my own eyes, I've been to polling places, and from my experience over 4 years.
Appears to be the position of the AG attorney.
She is badgering @jessedavid1215 about why the Board did not trust staff.
Asking about Jesse's understanding about the Sumter case.
A: in his decision, it's up to local officials to make that decision. They have to protect #BallotSecrecy while protecting security and other laws.
Vote was just for the Presidential Primary.
Q: what about the May Primary
A: as long as we can follow all 3 laws, we haven't made a decision.
A: maybe, maybe not. We need to see the to-scale diagrams showing its possible.
Now she's asking about #PlanB
David Worley starts.
Q: asks why he waited one day after observing the #BallotSecrecy violation.
A: my past experience with staff.
@jessedavid1215 DREs were smaller, poorly lit, sat at an angle
Very different situation.
Worley again pestering him, why did you change the voting system for all Clarke County voters, rather just ask staff to fix one polling place?
A: staff had assured us.
In any of their businesses, if staff had 30 days and a hard deadline to produce a critical report - and missed the deadline - the boss would still have to make a decision.
How many extra chances?
State attorney puts uniform system rule above all other laws.
Claims Director produced a privacy plan, which the BOER ignored.
Claims "impracticable" as used by ACC was inconvenient or policy choice.
Says absentee vote by mail is an option for any voter with privacy concerns.
Says ACC violated the election code.
SEB can order cease + desist, public reprimand, pay investigative costs, impose civil penalty. $5k per violation.
There are at least 6 polling places that simply cannot be set up in any way that complies with the law.
There may be other counties with this problem - but this is about ACC and the polling places we have.
This was not a hasty decision.
Then you leave it up to courts to decide these things.
BOER is willing to work with the SOS to find a technical solution.
Concerned about the disconnect between ACC BOER and staff.
Characterizes it as miscommunication.
Room for board and staff to figure it out.
By that standard, I don't see it as impracticable.
Hypothetical - no actual harm.
Board had the burden of proof - they have not met it.
"no evidence" that it's "impossible or impracticable"
Don't think the ACC board has been reasonable.
They should have believed Director Sosebee.
Board is not being reasonable by making a wholesale change in every precinct.
Board did violate the law.
Order cease and desist, defer other penalties.
Praises integrity of election officials.
Recommends they work collegially
ACC has not provided clear and convincing proof.
Wants to send ACC invoice for investigation costs.
Cease and desist.
Wants BMDs by Friday - Charlotte says tomorrow.
Proposes fine that can be suspended.
Wants costs reimbursed.
Worley wants to know costs before assessing them. Moves for cease and desist.
Worries about the citizens of ACC who want to vote on electronic devices cannot.
ACC put away equipment bought by GA taxpayers.
Germany says costs should be assessed. Don't want to punish ACC commissioners. Fine of $2500.
Plus cease and desist.
New fine $5k per day, can be waived. Passed.
It's a club to make them comply tomorrow.