Call To Use Hand Marked Paper Ballots

April 18, 2022
Dr. Janice Johnston
Ms. Sara Tindall-Ghazal
Mr. Edward Lindsey
Mr. Matt Mashburn

Dear Members of the State Election Board:

We the undersigned have a unique stake in the 2022 elections. We are candidates running for Georgia office or representatives of political parties nominating 2022 candidates. This is a multi-partisan effort to achieve fair elections for all candidates and voters who support them. Your immediate action is required to protect Georgia elections, to authorize statewide use of the Emergency Paper Ballot procedures with current optical scanners for in-person voting in pending 2022 elections.

Recent developments make it clear that Georgia faces unacceptable risk by requiring all in-person voters to use ballot marking devices to mark ballots. Unauthorized access to Georgia’s Dominion software allegedly occurred in Coffee County following the November 2020 election. Dr. Halderman’s sealed report documenting system vulnerabilities was filed with your experts on July 1, 2021, and federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) initiated a vulnerability assessment of the BMDs in late January. To date, state election officials have not responded to the elevated risk for 2022 elections. Meantime, voter confidence in Georgia elections has suffered.

We understand that the current Dominion Voting System can be easily reconfigured to produce transparent verifiable results, utilizing a simpler, less expensive configuration by invoking existing back-up balloting rules which have been used successfully in every election in emergency situations since deployment of the system. Georgia’s Emergency Paper Ballot configuration, using hand-marked ballots with the current precinct scanners, is reportedly the standard configuration for the Dominion Voting System in the vast majority of states using Dominion systems.

Voter confidence in Georgia is suffering because of a variety of factors such as those described in Appendix 1 of this letter. CISA is reviewing Georgia’s BMD touchscreen system’s identified vulnerabilities and has not yet issued its report of required software patches. That concern alone merits this Board’s prompt action to protect the pending 2022 elections. As State Election Board members, you have access to Dr. Halderman’s sealed report which reportedly details the vulnerabilities now being assessed by CISA. We call on you to act on your review of those findings to protect upcoming elections and mitigate the growing threats.

The need for your immediate action has intensified with recent credible reports of unauthorized individuals possessing Georgia’s Dominion Voting System software as well as the Dominion software used in Michigan and Colorado. Georgia’s risks are significantly greater than Michigan or Colorado’s risks given that those states have the “gold standard” of hand-marked paper ballots counted by optical scanners and frequent post-election audits to help mitigate such risks. Such mitigation is exactly what we call on you to do for the upcoming primary, runoffs, and general election. Mitigating Georgia’s alarming cyber-security risks will dramatically increase voter confidence.

We urge the State Election Board to inform the counties that the risks created by the circumstances described above and in Appendix 1 constitute an emergency requiring existing emergency balloting procedures using hand marked paper ballots. (Rule 183-1-12-.11.2(c)-(d))
We understand the Dominion system can be used in its standard configuration using hand marked ballots as the primary uniform method of voting, with touchscreens reserved for accessibility needs. Poll managers and workers are already trained in the emergency balloting procedures. Early voting locations as well as Election Day polling places are currently required to have an emergency supply of blank ballots in all appropriate styles for hand marking. (Rule 183-1-12-.01) This existing requirement supports the feasibility of our request, particularly if Dominion’s ballot-on-demand printing application is used for low volume ballot styles. Predictable high volume ballot styles can be commercially printed based on prior election usage. (See Appendix 1)

We also ask that you also require extensive post-election audits of the scanner tabulations of hand marked ballots to verify the outcomes of races. Together these steps will rebuild Georgia’s voter confidence by providing assurance that Georgia’s election outcomes reflect the will of the people.

Thank you for your prompt and timely review of our proposal, and thank you for your service to all Georgia voters.


Libertarian Party of Georgia

Ryan Graham, Candidate for Lt. Governor

Ted Metz, Candidate for Secretary of State

Shane Hazel, Candidate for Governor

Colin McKinney, Candidate for Public Service Commissioner, District 2

Dave Raudabaugh, Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture

Angela Pence, Candidate for US House, District 14

Emily Anderson, Candidate for Commissioner of Labor

Mark Mosley, Candidate for US House, District 8

Clinton Cowart, Candidate for Georgia House, District 165

Appendix 1 (Information supplied by Coalition for Good Governance)

Risks to 2022 Election and Voter Confidence

  • Alleged Dominion software breach/copying/theft in Coffee County. There are credible allegations of the unauthorized copying of the Dominion software from Coffee County, apparently facilitated by insiders in November 2020. After alleged unauthorized access to the
    software, the Coffee County machine recount was reportedly discrepant, causing the county board of elections to initially refuse to certify the presidential recount. In 2021, after the alleged breach, the SOS apparently seized the county election server containing Dominion software. The State Election Board disclosed in Court that an investigation was undertaken in late February 2022. Findings of this Board should promptly be made public.
  • Unauthorized copies of Dominion software threaten 2022 elections. Unauthorized copies of the Dominion software from Colorado and Michigan were released into the public domain. This facilitates election attacks by large number of would-be attackers with extended access to the software to develop and practice system hacks. Georgia Dominion software is also reportedly in unauthorized hands, although this is just becoming public information.
  • High risk electronic touchscreen system. CISA (a division of DHS) is reviewing the vulnerabilities of Georgia’s BMD system. There is no estimate of the time required for assessment, disclosure, software patches, EAC approval and installation in the BMD systems. Experts have issued grave warnings (details under court seal) of potential for undetectable vote manipulations.
  • Significant November 2020 vote tabulation discrepancies are subject to repetition in 2022. Unrebutted experts’ reports show that thousands of ballots were counted two or more times, or not at all, in the November 2020 election, although the reported discrepancies were said to be offsetting in the POTUS votes (although too many records are missing to estimate with certainty.) The root cause of the systemic inaccurate counting of ballots is unknown, because discovery has not been conducted to date. The causes may include software bugs, malware, machine malfunctions, human error, and intentional double and triple scanning.
  • The November 2020 POTUS audit proved that Georgia audits do not detect tabulation discrepancies. Political leaders and state officials are generally unaware of the significant audit failures because Secretary Raffensperger has declared the audits to be a success, while not reporting the significant audit discrepancies detected. Thousands of votes were inaccurately recorded in the audit records, but were not investigated nor corrected.
  • BMD ballots proven to be unverified, unauditable records. Secretary of State commissioned research to determine whether voters accurately verified the computer-marked ballots. The results demonstrated that voters do not adequately verify their ballots. This finding is consistent with experts’ previous reports.
  • Russian cyber-security threats are escalated. Federal government officials warn that threats of Russian election hacking have increased and urge defensive measures. Georgia is an attractive and easy target given the unusual statewide uniformity, the preponderance of BMD-generated ballots, and central programming of the system, and the national importance of the high profile 2022 races for US Senate and Governor, and low voter confidence that exists today.

Educational Freedom vs School Choice

This week, Republican legislators in the Georgia General Assembly introduced HB 999, a bill they are saying “funds students not systems.” From the jump, I’d like to say this is a bill I’d cautiously encourage legislators to support. In a marvel of anatomy and politics, however, HB 999 manages to both overreach and fall short.  

What Does HB 999 Do?

HB 999 provides some students $6,000 for some schools. The “some” in there is so important I’m going to dedicate a section to each. It creates two brand new committees (more bureaucrats making education decisions) to oversee the allocation of funds and the qualifications of both students and schools. It sets testing standards for participating students. Finally, it adds all kinds of reporting to various bureaucracies that already exist, making them ever-so-slightly more bloated and burdensome than they already are.

Some Students

I said I’d get back to the “some” portion. Some students qualify for HB 999 funding. Qualifications include: 

  • The student’s parent(s) need to live in GA. No problem here. We’re spending Georgia tax money, it might as well be a benefit for Georgians.
  • The student must have been enrolled in a public school in Georgia for at least 6 weeks in the year prior to enrolling in a qualified school. Students and parents who have had enough of public schools and were already finding other options are out of luck. They don’t qualify. Their taxes still go to fund systems.
  • The parent has to sign an agreement promising:
    • They’ll teach a curriculum consisting of at least reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science. More politicians dictating education instead of leaving it up to the people involved.
    • They won’t (re)enroll their student in public schools, including charters, while in the program. This makes sense since public money is already being funneled into those schools.
    • They will only use the funds for qualified student expenses. Again, politicians are trying to insert themselves into the education process to qualify what does and doesn’t constitute an education. Politicians should have no say.
  • The student isn’t receiving scholarships as defined in Title 20 Chapter 2 Article 33 of the Georgia Code. You can only qualify to have your own tax money back from the state if you agree not to take money offered voluntarily from other sources.

Some Schools

And here are the list of qualifications for participating as a school:

  • Submit a financial report that demonstrates financial soundness as determined by the committee that’s being created. More bureaucracy! Government programs never have to demonstrate fiscal responsibility.
  • Have been in operation for over a year. No new schools!
  • Comply with antidiscrimination provisions in Federal Law. Not sure you can be a “school” without doing this.
  • Comply with health and safety laws and codes that apply to private schools.
  • Another bullet that says comply with laws regarding private schools. They really mean it.
  • And, only employ teachers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher or at least 3 years experience in education. Legislators don’t want education options that think too far outside of the standard box. Only limited innovation will be encouraged, by people who’ve already been shaped by a certain system.

The state continues to strictly limit who may call themselves a  school; pandemic pods, self-directed education spaces, unschoolers aren’t covered. Many liberty minded educators, including homeschoolers, prefer not to take taxpayer money because it always comes with strings and interference. 

Some Standardized Testing

Standardized testing is among the most widely loathed aspects of government school programs. The rigid application of relatively arbitrary standards (these sight words in kindergarten, so many multiplication tables by second grade) ignores the diversity of our children. Memorization and teaching to the test damage children’s natural curiosity, limiting the true, organic potential of both teachers and students.  

This bill requires schools to administer at least three tests in math and language arts per year. To prove they conform to “standards,” schools will be required to recreate one of the worst parts of modern public schools.

Some Other Notes

One line in this bill really stands out to me:

The creation of the program or the granting of an account pursuant to this chapter shall not be construed to imply that a public school did not provide a free and appropriate public education for a student or constitute a waiver or admission by the state.

Lawmakers literally put propaganda into the bill itself. The most important people for this program to reach are those to whom currently public schools did not provide appropriate education. The eagerness of families to pull children from assigned schools the moment they can afford to is itself an indictment of assigned schools – whether the state ‘admits’ it or not. 

The Committee established by the bill will  set up the bureaucracy that funnels money from the state to eligible schools. The expensive administrative bloat is inevitable. Graft, cronyism, and rent-seeking will follow. 

But, hey, at least the $6,000 parents get back won’t be considered taxable income. That’s got to count for something.

Educational Freedom

I didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about this bill, but the truth is, it does create more choice for students in Georgia. It illustrates the difference between narrow “school choice” bills vs any kind of true educational freedom. The bill allows some state education money to “fund students, not systems,” but really only slightly expands the systems they’re willing to fund. Enforcing standardized testing and hours of bureaucratic compliance on innovative programs makes those programs look a lot like what’s already failing Georgia kids. You can “choose” anything at the burger joint, but it’s a limited menu.

Georgia lawmakers aren’t qualified to define what education should work for every kid. If parents are eager to move their kids into other options, let those options proliferate and diversify, customizing their offerings. 

To advance the short-term goal of improving the range of education options available to Georgians, I support this bill. But to move toward true educational freedom, get the ever-growing bureaucracy out of the way and let educators innovate. Give students the power of real choice.