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The Georgia governor’s race is in a deadlock, according to CNBC News, with Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp each polling at 47 percent as of Wednesday. In such a tight race, every vote will count, but voting rights advocates are raising the alarm over reports of voter suppression.
As Michael Harriot reports in The Root, the NAACP Georgia State Conference has filed complaints with the state Board of Elections over alleged voter suppression tactics. According to Harriot, voters have complained to the NAACP of multiple irregularities, including vote switching (usually from Democrat to Republican) and malfunctioning touchscreens.
Harriot writes that “NAACP Georgia State Conference president Phyllis T. Blake filed complaints with Georgia’s State Board [of] Elections after early voters and eyewitnesses in Bartow, Cobb, Henry, and Dodge County, Ga., notified the civil rights organization of the defective machines.”
Khyla Craine, the NAACP’s assistant general counsel, told The Root that “we’ve seen issues across the state of Georgia, and not just the Atlanta Metroplex. … We’ve seen this in central Georgia and have seen issues in southeastern Georgia, near Savannah.”
The machines are 17 years old and, as Harriot points out, Georgia “is one of five U.S. states whose voting machines have no paper trail, making them the most vulnerable to hacking, according to cybersecurity experts.”
Voting irregularities and potential voter suppression, however, are not limited to the machines:
Craine said that many Georgia voters who have requested or cast absentee ballots have been unable to track them using the Secretary of State’s “My Voter” page.
When a potential voter requests an absentee ballot, the voter is supposed to be able to enter their information on the Secretary of State’s website and see the status of their vote. Craine notes one specific incident in Candler County, Ga., where the county election official wasn’t even aware that they were supposed to input the information into the system.
All of this is “a very real threat” to election security, Robert DeMillo, a professor of computing at Georgia Institute of Technology and former chief technology officer at Hewlett-Packard, told The Root.
The NAACP says this is not the first time Georgia’s voting laws have come under fire in recent weeks.