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Three complaints filed against Georgia SoS inspector office

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Garland Favorito
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Three complaints filed against
Georgia SoS inspector office
ATLANTA, GA - Three citizens announced Thursday that they have filed three separate complaints in recent weeks against the office of the Inspector General for Secretary of State (SOS), Karen Handel. The office, led by Shawn Lagrua,investigates cases for the State Election Board (SEB). The complaints that were filed with the State Inspector General contend that the office improperly handled investigations involving electronic voting machine defects and controversies. 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 begun.
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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 confirmedthey 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 Lagruareplied in Decemberthatthe officecould 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 find out 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 is 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 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.


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Garland Favorito is a co-founder of VoterGA.

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