Petition to Request Expert Testimony for HB316
- Chairman Kay Kirkpatrick and Members of the Senate Ethics Committee:
- United States of America
This Georgia voters' informal petition is addressed to the Senate Ethics Committee charged with the responsibility of reviewing HB316, Georgia’s flawed proposed voting system legislation. The petition seeks the Committee’s consideration of expert testimony on fundamental issues of voting system security, auditability, cost, administration of paper ballots, and the anticipated life of ballot marking device technology. No expert testimony on these issues has been heard by the legislators. It urges the Committee to call subject matter experts in for at least 6 hours of hearings prior to voting on HB316. Please join us in asking the Committee to consider essential technical evidence by signing the petition below.
For years, our current paperless election machines have made Georgia one of the states most vulnerable to election tampering. On Feb. 27th, HB316, a 40-page Election Bill covering a gamut of topics, from voter registrations to the way in which voters will cast their ballots, passed the Georgia House at breakneck speed, only 9 working days after it was introduced. It is now being heard by the Senate.
HB316 mandates a touch-screen Electronic Ballot Marking Device (“BMD”) system that produces a "ballot summary card" which cannot be recounted or audited. The hearings in the House and so far in the Senate have not had the benefit of testimony from voting systems and audit experts, and there has been considerable misinformation delivered to the committee by Georgia officials.
According to economic experts, HB316 will cost Georgia taxpayers an extreme price tag of $150 -$200 million and millions more in annual maintenance and upgrade fees. Hand-marked paper ballots scanned by optical scanners, on the other hand, would only cost $30 to $40 million initially, and experts recommend it as the most secure election system.
As voters, we question how the House voted to pass HB316, given the exorbitant cost and against all of the experts’ recommendations for secure elections. Therefore, we, the undersigned concerned citizens, respectfully ask the Senate Ethics Committee that in order to conduct a transparent, accountable, and democratic process regarding our most fundamental and precious right to vote, allow for at least 6 hours of expert testimony to fill in material information gaps and dispel the many misstatements and misrepresentations that have been created around BMDs, specifically in the following areas:
- administration of paper ballot elections, and
- anticipated life of the controversial untested BMD technology.
If you are a Georgia voter and agree with these goals, please join us in signing the petition below. Please include the address at which you are registered to vote so that lawmakers will see that they are hearing from their constituents. We will deliver the petition to the Ethics Committee at their hearing on Monday, March 4th, 2019.
Aileen Nakamura (Sandy Springs, GA)
Jeanne Dufort (Madison, GA)
Rhonda J. Martin (Atlanta, GA)
Megan Missett (Atlanta, GA)
Smythe Duval (Marietta, GA)
Shea Roberts (Sandy Springs, GA)
March 2nd, 2019
To Chairman Kirkpatrick and Members of the Senate Ethics Committee:
Georgia needs a reliable voting system capable of producing auditable results with postelection audits required immediately, and HB316 does not currently provide for such a system;
HB316 has no fiscal note attached, although it appears to be required by statute;
- Georgia voters have the right to see exactly how much this bill will cost and where their money is going;
- The SAFE Commission was charged with conducting a “cost analysis of market options” of this material financial expenditure prior to issuing their legislative recommendations, but failed to do so;
- Independent financial analysis estimates that HB316 would cost up to $200 million for initial purchase of the system;
- Only $150 million has been allocated for voting system purchase in the budget for HB316, and the Committee has not considered the likelihood and impact of a significant budget overrun;
- The added operating cost for printing, audits, and software license renewals will likely create a burden on local election budgets as an unfunded madate;
- The financial analysis presented by the Secretary of State’s office on the cost of hand-marked paper ballots is wildly exaggerated and inaccurate, and cannot be relied on by the Committee for decision making until it is corrected;
Although HB316 mandates postelection audits, lawmakers have not heard testimony from election auditing experts on the fact that election results from ballot marking device (BMD) systems cannot be audited;
- The SAFE Commission was charged with “researching post-election audit procedures” prior to issuing their legislative recommendations, but failed to do so;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony on the ability to have traditional postelection audits begin immediately upon new system implementation, with risk-limiting audits (RLAs) in future years if hand-marked paper ballots are used;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from election officials who have conducted traditional postelection audits or risk limiting audits;
The SAFE Commission recommended that any new voting system be required to be certified under federal standards by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), but HB316 does not provide for that minimum requirement;
No testimony has been heard in the House or Senate as to how the BMD voting system proposed can comply with federal law (HAVA) requiring a “permanent paper record with manual audit capacity” given that the BMD system has no manual audit capacity;
The SAFE Commission’s cybersecurity expert voted against the Commission’s final recommendation because it recommended the use of BMDs;
- Public comment from citizens included brief comments from one cybersecurity expert, but no other credentialed experts were asked to provide expert testimony;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from cybersecurity experts on the risk assessment of electronic BMDs versus hand-marked paper ballot systems;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from cybersecurity experts on the specific elevated risks of attack using barcode technology vulnerabilities and vectors for attack in the BMD barcode applications;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from cybersecurity experts on risks of voting system centralization for programming of any statewide system;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from cybersecurity experts and procurement experts on the risks of mandating and adopting a uniform voting system;
Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from cybersecurity experts on internet voting expansion as provided by HB316 § 33;
Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from voting system standards experts on federal voting system standards and whether they should be required as the minimum standard for Georgia’s voting system, as recommended by the SAFE Commission, but excluded from HB316;
- Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony from election experts in other states that comply with federal voting system standards, and particularly regarding states that have upgraded from electronic voting systems to hand-marked paper ballot systems;
No testimony has been heard in the House or Senate on the technical challenge as to how the proposed BMD voting system with unique identifiers in cast vote records can meet Georgia’s strong constitutional protections of the secret ballot;
Bill sponsors and advocates made many false and unsupported claims to the Committee such as “BMDs would result in much shorter lines at the polls,” “75% of GA voters prefer BMDs,” “Touchscreens are much more accurate than hand-marked paper ballots," and “We’re going to get more accurate election results… it’s a more secure way of moving forward” -- all contrary to research -- and cannot be relied on by the Committee;
The sponsor of HB316 was allowed to invite numerous Georgia election officials as witnesses in favor of HB316, and together they gave hours of testimony, but the Committee has not heard the rebuttal to the considerable factual misinformation presented by those officials, who have not conducted paper ballot elections with current technology;
Neither the House nor Senate has heard testimony on the expected life, whether due to technological or legal issues, of BMD technology, given the unproven and controversial nature of the technology,
While Georgia’s Secretary of State claims that supporters of hand-marked paper ballots are “Out of the mainstream,” the number of cyber security and election integrity experts who agree that hand-marked paper ballots are the “gold standard” of election security and the fact that over 600 Georgia voters have signed this petition in a 24-hour period prove otherwise;
Therefore, we, the undersigned concerned citizens, respectfully ask the Senate Ethics Committee that in order to conduct a transparent, accountable, and democratic process regarding our most fundamental and precious right to vote, to allow for at least 6 hours of expert testimony to fill in material information gaps and dispel the many misstatements and misrepresentations that have been created around BMDs, specifically in the following areas:
- administration of hand-marked paper ballot elections, and
- anticipated life of the BMD technology.
Further, because many of the experts are professionals who live out of state, we ask for potential dates in advance as well as the ability to have remote testimony by video. We request that Committee members opposing HB316 be permitted to select the list of testifying experts.
The Petition to Request Expert Testimony for HB316 petition to Chairman Kay Kirkpatrick and Members of the Senate Ethics Committee: was written by GA Voters for Election Security & Accountability and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.