On March 9, the Georgia Special Committee on Election Integrity held a meeting led by Chairman Stan Gunter. Although the official Meeting Notice said the agenda was “TBD,” the purpose was to consider House Bill 1464.
The proposed legislation would require a tighter chain of custody protocols for ballots, expand the rights of poll watchers to see what they’re supposed to be watching and allow the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to independently investigate election fraud. Surprising to most, as it stands now, the GBI does not have “original jurisdiction” on election fraud cases. Therefore, it does not have the authority to investigate based upon probable cause or complaint alone and must be invited by government officials to investigate election fraud.
Like a hotel sign that says, “Under New Management - Clean Rooms,” what we expected was happening all along, was not, but now it could be.
House Bill 1464 is also expected to address the regulation of private funds funneling to counties like the $350 Million from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg before the 2020 general election. We didn’t know at the time that the CTCL grants were being distributed to select counties in a highly targeted, partisan, and unregulated manner. The result in the state was that the funds yielded unnatural and unequal influence.
The day before the meeting, VoterGA’s Garland Favorito was prepared to share with legislators the impact unregulated and biased grant spending had on our elections. Mr. Favorito says that he talked to Chairman Gunter, who told him to come back the next day, and then he would be given time to voice his concerns and share information with the committee.
The next day Mr. Favorito returned to the Capitol and sat through the meeting, but when it was his time to speak, and as he approached the podium, Chairman Gunter rudely waved him off and adjourned the meeting 23 minutes early.
It seems clear that from their discussion the previous day, Stan Gunter knew the topic of Favorito’s comments and shut down the meeting at the precise moment Favorito approached. Seven people were seeking to address the committee, and each would have been afforded the standard 3 minutes. Everyone could have had time to speak before the bill was passed out of committee. Chairman Stan Gunter adjourned the meeting 23 minutes early with callous disregard for those waiting. He also passed the bill without it being on the agenda as required:
After waiting for two days and having done extensive research in preparation for the meeting, Mr. Favorito was rightfully furious. He was sure to let Chairman Gunter know how he was treated was unacceptable.
Some of the issues associated with the private grants Mr. Favorito may have addressed are the “free gifts” that come with the grants. CTCL partners, such as US Digital Response and the Elections Group, were dispatched to grant recipients where they provided services free of charge. For example, in Fulton County, US Digital Response built a web portal through which voters could request an absentee ballot. The information would go to a company called Runbeck, who would print and mail the absentee ballot directly to the voter, all with little involvement of county officials. This conveniently gave private firms access to the voter registration database and those who had already voted in real-time.
The Elections Group’s Ryan Macias and several others were sent to Fulton County to help prepare for the election. Ryan and his team oversaw and assisted Dominion staff with the programming logic and accuracy testing of voting equipment for Election Day. Before joining the Elections Group, Ryan worked for the EAC and was charged with the certification of voting equipment. He was also the Arizona Secretary of State’s appointed observer for the Maricopa County Audit. The Elections Group’s services were also provided free of charge.
Moreover, because it was from a private source, the free services tethered to the grant were performed without contracts or records. This resulted in no public oversight as the services were not brought before state or county election boards or committees. As shown through Open Records Requests, private companies are involved in our elections without approval or documentation.
The measure now moves to the Senate for more debate, and so does Mr. Favorito. Please go to VoterGA to review the proposed amendments they are trying to make to the bill.