(ATLANTA, GA.) – Ryan Graham, candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Chair of the Libertarian Party of Georgia is calling on the Georgia State Election Board to authorize the use of emergency paper ballot procedures in the 2022 election. Recent revelations that Georgia’s digital voting machine software has been compromised make Graham’s call to action urgent for all in-person voters.
Graham, along with other Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic candidates and officials, has signed a letter to the Board calling for voters to receive hand-marked ballots for 2022 – ballots that would leave a paper trail and enable transparent auditing, which Georgia’s computerized ballot marking devices conceal. “Empowering the public’s votes and ensuring votes are accurately counted is a fundamental pillar of good governance, and of my campaign.”
Georgia’s voting relies on electronic touchscreen software owned by Dominion Voting System. Libertarians and other transparency activists raised massive concerns before a Republican-controlled assembly adopted the machines, but in the intervening years, the stakes have shifted.
First, reports of the Georgia Dominion software being susceptible to hacking cast doubt on the election process. Similar reports of “unauthorized access” to vote-counting software have been raised in Michigan and Colorado.
Second, the ballot marking device (BMD) ballots are not verified nor able to be audited. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is reviewing vulnerabilities with the BMD devices. Election security experts point to potentially undetectable manipulations and miscounting, using the BMD systems.
“The process has been made opaque and complicated on purpose,” Graham said, “to make it more difficult for voters to be heard.” Graham’s fellow candidates have raised similar concerns in the past two election cycles. “Hand-marked ballots are an accurate and secure way for people to vote. We have transparent methods where the voters’ intent is easy to determine – please pay attention to who wants the process to be more vulnerable and less secure.”
Graham is working with a multi-partisan group of candidates to investigate and advocate the Election Board use hand-marked ballots (which are far less susceptible to manipulation, and can be cross-checked later), to increase voter confidence.
Electronically recorded, barcode-only voting also raises concerns about potential foreign – particularly Russian – meddling or hacking that might disrupt November’s elections or tallying. Federal government officials have called on states to defend their cyber-security: Georgia, according to Graham and other experts, has failed to do so.
In his time as Chair of LP Georgia, Graham has consistently called for handmarked, auditable paper ballots, as well as a ranked-choice voting system and ballot reform that would give Georgians more choices on every ballot. If transparency doesn’t improve, Graham argues, Georgians might never actually have a choice at all.