Another Georgia election and another example of voting machines causing problems to the tune of thousands of votes.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that, based on the initial results posted on May 24, Democratic Dekalb County commission candidate Michelle Long Spears came in third place, and therefore did not qualify for a runoff.
“Spears and her team, though, noticed that initial results showed her receiving zero election votes at most precincts in the district,” according to the news outlet.
After a hand count was conducted over Memorial Day weekend, Spears picked up over 3,600 votes and went from being in third place to first.
She will now advance to the June 21 runoff, assuming the results are certified.
Unfortunately for candidate Marshall Orson, who was in first place after the machine count, he is now in third.
In a Thursday letter to the local election board Orson wrote, “There is no rational basis for believing that there are not continuing issues with the results, and the results should not be certified with the continuing existence of multiple substantive issues and concerns.”
“Doing so would pose a substantial risk not only to the confidence the public will have in the overall election results from this race but could extend to the entire primary as well as the general election,” he added.
The Georgia secretary of state’s office admitted to making several programming mistakes in their Dominion Voting Systems machines.
A hand count conducted in the entire state of Georgia following the 2020 general election also revealed that thousands of ballots had not been counted.
These discrepancies were also attributed to human error in the uploading of ballots to the machines.
Then-President Donald Trump ended up netting more than 1,200 votes over Democratic challenger Joe Biden, but it was not enough to change the overall result.
Initially, Biden had a 3,000 vote lead in the northwest Michigan county, which Trump had carried by 30 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hilary Clinton.
After a hand recount was conducted, Trump carried the county by over 3,700 votes, so nearly a 7,000 vote swing.
A spokesperson for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson attributed the discrepancy to “county user error,” WLNS-TV reported at the time.
It makes you wonder how many other “user errors” were out there.
In both the recent example in Dekalb County and in Antrim County, a hand recount was spurred by initial results completely lacking credulity.
What about races where the results are much closer and seemingly credible? Are little sample audits enough to satisfy voters that they’re seeing accurate results?
I guess there’s some reassurance that full hand recounts of the 2020 general election in Georgia and Maricopa County, Arizona, more or less produced the same raw results.
Whether all those ballots were legally cast is another issue entirely.
The greatest step that could be taken to reassure voters is to go back to full hand counts using paper ballots that are all but impossible to counterfeit.
We should do the same. Some processes simply cannot be improved upon.
We’ve got to be able to trust the vote.
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