Georgia Runoff Election by Fritz and Cindy von Coelln,
January 11, 2021
“The Dominion voting system is valid and safe,” according to Chris Scheve, Executive Director, Cobb County GOP Headquarters. “Safer than counting by hand.” Chris was providing us with Poll Observer training at the headquarters the day before the Georgia runoff election. Ostensibly true. The system* allows the voter to select candidates/issues on a large computer tablet, the marked ballot is printed out and the voter places the ballot in a scanner which drops the ballot into a sealed bin below. The vote is electronically saved on a drive and the paper ballots are removed at the end of the night and placed into a secure box. Both are driven to the county location by the Poll Manager. A paper trail is, therefore, available to verify the electronic data. Unlike California, voter ID is required and most voters presented their driver’s license when checking in with a few presenting passports or other documents. The process is fast—it takes only 30 seconds on a tablet to determine eligibility and the voter is provided with a permission card to vote. Some voters were declined permission to vote because the check-in tablet indicated they had already voted by mail. They would sign an affidavit and a poll worker contacted the county office to verify eligibility. Most of these voters were accepted to vote in person. Only a half dozen voters required provisional ballots. A few voters were turned away because they were registered in another precinct or county. Voters and the poll workers appeared pleased with the ID process. When I told them California did not require voter ID they replied, “and they think Georgia has a vote integrity problem.” Only officially certified volunteers were allowed to observe the polling location—two from each party. Cindy and I, upon arriving at 6 am, were given our preapproved official badges to wear. During the 7 am to 7 pm voting period we observed only one action that might have affected the voting process. A couple (man and wife) came in just before the polls opened wearing unofficial Poll Observer badges and immediately went to the Poll Manager, greeting her as friends. They were the Democrat Poll Observers and had observed during the November election. He stated he would go out to watch the line. Cindy, being curious, followed him. She soon came back to me to report that he was talking to all the voters waiting in line and some of them began a discussion with him. This is against county guidelines since you may not approach a voter in line closer than 25 feet and are not allowed to “electioneer.” She called the Republican hotline and was assured that an attorney would come to review the problem. At no time did an attorney come. We reported this to the Poll Manager but she said there was nothing she could do. Unfortunately, he kept talking to voters the entire day. His wife followed some voters as they were leaving the Poll Center and was questioning them. She did this right inside the Poll Center! Again, we reported this to the Poll Manager to no avail. We believe that had the Poll Manager and/or an attorney cautioned this couple this would not have persisted. We reported this as an incident. We walked door to door on Sunday and Monday, going to known Republican households to encourage them to vote. No one came to the door at most houses but where we did talk to the residents they welcomed the reminder. Monday afternoon we stood at a busy street corner in Marietta to rally for Perdue and Loeffler. We are disappointed by the outcome and devastated by the riots the following day. However, we are glad that we participated in the process. *For those who voted in person during our election in Orange County, the system is similar but the ballot is printed when you check-in. You mark it and then place it in a scanner. The vote is electronically saved and paper ballots are removed from the sealed bin, counted to match the scanner count, placed in a sealed bag and both are driven to the ROV by a poll worker. I followed the poll worker to the delivery point on each of the five voting nights. Contrary to Chris Scheve’s opinion, the integrity of the Dominion voting system and the voting procedure in Georgia, California and the US is the next story.