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Georgia Fights Donzella James E-Voting Lawsuit

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Message Matthew Cardinale

(APN) ATLANTA - Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox's Office has challenged Donzella James's lawsuit regarding electronic voting in Georgia, Atlanta Progressive News (APN) has learned.

James filed the lawsuit after her the so-called election "results" showed US Rep. David Scott (D-GA) beat her in the Democratic Primary.

James argued that because Georgia elections are essentially meaningless, so long as they are conducted electronically with no voter verifiable paper trail, therefore, Cox had no basis upon which to declare Scott the winner.

The courts "are just holding" the lawsuit, James told APN.

The state has "made two attempts to say Cathy Cox is not responsible. Then they said the State is not responsible. Then they came back again and said we did not ask for compensation or what we would want from it," James says.

"So we've had to write an answer, our reply, and we did ask for a paper trail. We said we want some way where they can audit those votes and we will know all the votes were recorded," James says.

Cox's Office issued a "Special Appearance Answer of Secretary of State Cox," and "Special Appearance Motion to Dismiss, Secretary of State Cox," on August 16, 2006. Both filings was obtained by APN.

A "Brief in Support of Special Appearance Motion to Dismiss, Secretary of State Cox" was filed by Thurbert Baker, Georgia Attorney General; Dennis Dunn, Deputy Attorney General; and two Senior Assistant Attorney Generals, Stefan Ritter and Penny Hannah. A copy of the brief was also obtained by APN.

The case is currently being heard in the Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia.

In the Motion to Dismiss, Baker argues on behalf of Cox she is not a proper defendant to the law in question, OCGA 21-2-520.

In Baker's Brief, he further details this argument. The law states, Baker argues, "defendants in suits such as the instant matter contesting elections are limited to..." candidates; persons whose eligibility to be candidates is challenged; the Election Superintendent(s) who conducted the contested election; or the "public officer who formally declared the number of votes for and against any question submitted to electors at an election."

Baker goes on to argue Cox is neither a candidate, nor a denied candidate, nor an Elections Superintendent. Nor, Baker argues, was there a ballot question being contested.

The Special Appearance Answer of Cathy Cox argues many defenses, but does not really "answer" the point of James's lawsuit.

"The Secretary of State is without sufficient knowledge or information so as to form a belief so as to admit or deny whether there were irregularities in the election at issue," Baker writes on behalf of Cox.

But Cox does not address the underlying unverifiable character of the E-voting machines, or thus, the elections she has been certifying.

Baker also claims parts of James's petition are "vague and unintelligible."

Baker also claims, "The Petition fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted;" and "The Petition fails to state a claim within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court."

James will officially announce tomorrow she is joining the VoterGA lawsuit as well, in addition to two other candidates, including a Republican and an Independent, Garland Favorito tells APN.

The VoterGA lawsuit challenges Georgia for the same main reasons as James's suit, except on behalf of the citizens of Georgia instead of any one candidate.

"We didn't ask for a new election," James says of her own lawsuit. "My Campaign Manager [Dr. Johnny Wilson, who wrote the filing] did not."

"At this point this is why I'm joining in the suit with VoterGA.," James says.

"I was one of the few Democratic leaders [in Georgia] to oppose E-voting from the beginning to the end," James says, referring also back to her days as a State Senator.

"The [State] Democratic leaders called me in three times and told me I better change my vote. I said if we're trying to solve fraud and problems with voting, electronic voting is going to be worse, like my grandmother said, like going from the frying pan to the fire," James says.

Garland Favorito of VoterGA expresses some doubt as to whether James's lawsuit will ultimately be successful.

"That's why I'm making sure I join in other lawsuits and I'm looking for a new lawyer to come in and work with me, because it's not too late," James says.

"If we need a new lawsuit, then we might have to do that," James says.

"Since we did put it in by the deadline, [we've been] trying to correct any problems we had in the lawsuit because it was my Campaign Manager and myself who tried to put this in. We didn't have a lawyer," James explained.

James also tells of getting a run-around from Cox's Office.

"I didn't find out until later it had a lot of holes in it," James says.

One problem is, "The main fact we didn't ask for some kind of compensation. We didn't ask for a remedy."

Actually, James did ask for a remedy; however, it is a systemic remedy which would effect all future elections in Georgia, and not one designed narrowly to address her specific Congressional race.

"And they continued to say we included Cathy Cox as part of the lawsuit, but she shouldn't have been in it," James says.

"We included the Secretary of State's Office, Cathy Cox, the State of Georgia government," James says.

"First, we filed with the Secretary of State's Office and asked them to look at throwing the election out," James says of the period right after the Primary.

"They told me the law of Georgia said you had to be within three percent to get an automatic recount. And I said that's not what we're asking for. There is no recount. What we're asking for is to throw that out if you're not sure that's how many votes we got, and where they came from, and you have to show us that," James says.

"The Secretary of State first said we had to wait until it was certified," James says.

"Then we still wrote a letter of complaint," James says.

"And then once they certified, we wanted to go through the process of contesting the election," James says.

"They waited until the day of the deadline to tell us to file the suit. They called and reached Dr. Wilson and when we found out he went down to see them. They said, no you got to get to the courthouse. When he got the courthouse, we had one hour left," James says.

"We thought Cathy Cox should have been part of [the lawsuit] because she's the one who made the decision, she's the one who brought Diebold to the table and made sure they were the only company who should [count our votes]," James says.

"Dr. Wilson did a suit in his own name for public records," James added.

"They replied they would be happy to give it to him. They said they would charge him like $3 a page. Everything was like 3000 pages. He said, can we get it on a disk?" James says. The records request is still in the works, James says.

"I don't know how much progress we're making, but somebody needed to contest this atrocity to the State of Georgia voting system," James concludes.

"In my opinion, somebody needed to do it and especially a candidate," James says.

"It was in front of me, I could have ignored it, but if I had done that and not tried I wouldn't have been happy with myself," James says.


Donzella James Contesting Primary in Georgia

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Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor and National Correspondent for Atlanta Progressive News. He may be reached at

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Matthew Cardinale is Editor of Atlanta Progressive News. He has written previously for the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, Shelterforce Magazine, The Advocate Magazine, The San Francisco Bay View, and the Berkeley Daily Planet Newspaper. He has also (more...)
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