Three Complaints Filed on Georgia SoS Inspector General
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 21, 2009
Three Complaints Filed Against Georgia Sec. of State Inspector General
ATLANTA, GA – Three citizens announced Thursday that they have filed three separate complaints in recent weeks against the office of the Inspector General for Georgia Secretary of State (SOS), Karen Handel. The office of Inspector General Shawn Lagrua investigates cases for the State Election Board (SEB).
The complaints filed against the Inspector General's office allege that investigations involving electronic voting machine defects and controversies were improperly handled. One citizen insists that his investigation complaint was lost. Another, asserts that an investigation was opened based on his grievances but then shut down without him ever being contacted for input. A third individual argues that she was referred for charges to the Attorney General without receiving any details of the allegations against her until her SEB hearing began.
In January 2009, VoterGA founder, Garland Favorito, filed a complaint alleging the illegal acquisition and certification of $54 million in voting equipment that is currently being used in Georgia. He contends that the IG office confirmed they received the complaint in February of 2009 but never provided a status or acknowledgement of it. Finally, after he wrote a formal letter to the SEB members in October requesting a response, Inspector General Lagrua replied in December that the office could not locate his complaint. He contends that reply is not credible.
Also in January, David Chastain spoke at an SEB meeting regarding the controversial 2005 Cobb County SPLOST tax referendum. In October, he was surprised to learn from the SEB meeting minutes that the IG office opened an investigation without contacting him and then shut it down after claiming everything was in order. He replied to the board with a list of his questions that were never answered. In that particular election, 285 blank voted ballots were cast by voters although the referendum was the only item on the ballot. The referendum was decided by only 114 votes out of 39,780 votes cast. Over one billion dollars in new taxes were then assessed, the majority of which are being paid by Cobb County residents. The contest was plagued by unexplained modem transmission difficulties, reporting delays, and a shift in preliminary results that took the SPLOST from apparent defeat to a razor-thin victory.
But perhaps the most astounding complaint is that of long-time voting machine technician, Laura Gallegos. Her Lowndes County Board of Elections certified 947 test votes in the 2008 general election results after her supervisor failed to match poll book voter totals to voting machine voter totals, a legally required task that would have revealed the error. Instead of accepting a slap on the wrist for the mistake, the well-connected supervisor secretly wrote to the IG implicating Mrs. Gallegos, who had no role in results tabulation. The IG office then filed a charge against Mrs. Gallegos alleging a testing violation that is also the legal responsibility of the supervisor.
The complaints, SEB letters, and other documents are available on the Complaints tab of the Voterga.org web site. The state Inspector General will now determine if such compromised investigations meet the definition of corruption under which it has jurisdiction to investigate.