Paulding voters in Dallas cast votes in the 2018 general election. Voters in Bartow and Paulding counties could see ACLU monitors at the polls Nov. 5. ♦

Voters in Bartow and Paulding counties could see ACLU election monitors at the polls Nov. 5.

The ACLU is putting out a public request for volunteers to help it monitor the election in the counties where the state’s new voting machines are being tested, including Bartow and Paulding counties.

Officials with the organization’s Georgia office said it is seeking volunteers to help with “election protection” efforts on Election Day Nov. 5 during county and municipal elections in the six test counties of Bartow, Paulding, Carroll, Catoosa, Decatur and Lowndes.

Additional monitoring will be done in Cobb County, where a test of the paper ballot system will be carried out, a news release stated.

Bartow County Election Supervisor Joseph Kirk said he does not foresee any problems with monitors being at the polls for the municipal elections his office is supervising Nov. 5.

The Bartow office is conducting the election for mayor and city council seats and a Georgia “Brunch Bill” referendum in Cartersville, Emerson, Euharlee and White.

“Having concerned citizens there to observe the process will not affect our operations in any way,” Kirk said. “I appreciate them taking the time to help ensure everyone has a smooth and pleasant voting experience.”

Paulding voters countywide will vote on renewal of a 1% ESPLOST, while Dallas and Hiram residents will select from candidates for mayor and city council seats.

The ACLU and partner organizations Common Cause and the Georgia Poor People’s Campaign “are kicking off a program to monitor elections” in the counties which are testing the state’s new voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems before they go into full service statewide in 2020, a news release stated.

Interested volunteers can email ACLU of Georgia at volunteers@acluga.org.

Christopher Bruce, political director of the ACLU of Georgia, said, “Monitoring elections is critical to prevent the voter suppression that happened in the 2018 election.”

“We are committed to ensure that every eligible voter has easy, reliable access to the ballot. We remain resolute in protecting the sacred, constitutional right to vote for all Georgians.”

The new machines replace computer-based machines used statewide since 2002.

They produce a paper ballot that allows the voter to review election choices before the ballot is cast.

The paper ballots also will allow audits to verify the accuracy of the machines counting the votes, the Secretary of State’s office said in a news release. Every county will use them beginning with the presidential preference primary in March.

A group formed by former Democratic governor candidate Stacey Abrams claimed in a lawsuit a “system of voter suppression” through such actions as purges of voter lists existed in 2018 that “unfairly impacted election outcomes.”

Gov. Brian Kemp, who narrowly defeated Abrams, also was heavily criticized for not resigning his job as secretary of state before the 2018 election. Kemp was a candidate for governor while serving as the chief official supervising the election.

The ACLU boasts 1.6 million members and supporters and says it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization “that reaches out to and represents anyone whose fundamental freedoms have been violated.”

In addition to opposing what it sees as state and local voter suppression efforts, the group earlier this year opposed passage of Georgia’s anti-abortion law championed by Kemp; and a law allowing the teaching of the history and literature of the Bible’s Old and New Testament as an elective class in public schools.

The ACLU of Georgia staff was scheduled to attend the Voter Machines Open House in Decatur County on Oct. 9 that was co-hosted with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.


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