APN Chat with Angela Moore, Candidate for Secretary of State

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(APN) ATLANTA — In our continuing coverage of the 2010 Statewide and Congressional Elections, we sat down with Angela Moore who is running again for Secretary of State of Georgia.

Moore previously ran in 2006 for the Democratic nomination and lost to Gail Buckner. Bucker ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel. Handel is now running for Governor.

Also running for this seat for the Democratic nomination this year are Buckner, now a State Senator who is giving up her seat; Gary Horlacher; and Michael Mills. Darryl Hicks is rumored to also be running again.

Moore gained notoriety in 2006 when she released a rap song written by a young supporter of hers called “Vote for Miss Angela.”

This year she has a slogan which plays on the Obama campaign slogan “Yes we can.” “Yes we count–every vote and prove it with a paper note.”

APN asked Moore 15 questions related to the Secretary of State’s office, particularly related to elections integrity. We are reaching out to each of the other campaigns to ask the same questions of the other candidates. Horlacher said he was interested in being interviewed. APN has been unable to reach Buckner in order to schedule as of yet, and will attempt to reach the Mills campaign shortly.

Elections integrity organization VoterGA helped APN in drafting some of the questions in this interview.

CAN THE CURRENT GEORGIA E-VOTING MACHINES BE TRUSTED TO COUNT EVERY VOTE ACCURATELY ON ELECTION NIGHT?

No. We are dealing with antiquated software more than eight years old. They can’t prove it- they cannot prove that they counted those votes- we can’t prove they exist because there’s no paper evidence…

It’s like playing someone’s stupid game going to stupid machines with no safety net, no evidence, and feeling good about it.

We’ve had so many abnormalities in the last five or six years that we know of. If one card is messed up, there’s 2,000 votes per machine, the whole machine’s votes are thrown out. One machine breakdown per precinct is enough to change the course of history.

Another reason is, we don’t own the software. We own the machines itself.

DO YOU SUPPORT KEEPING THE CURRENT SYSTEM, ADDING A VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL (VVPAT) TO THE CURRENT SYSTEM, SWITCHING TO OPTICAL SCAN, OR SOME OTHER OPTION GOING FORWARD? WHY?

Some other option going forward.

What I’d like to do is alleviate the current software of its duties. Georgia has enough talent right now in every university statewide to create our own software that can be competitive with other states.

Some might ask, how to pay for that? Open source, it’s free. We’re gonna have to tweak it for our own state. Every single university should be able to weigh in on it. At this point, we don’t know if the company making the software is nonpartisan. We’re gonna make it nonpartisan.

We will need new hardware [to print the paper evidence]. I have seen where you go to the electronic voting machine, cast your vote, and hit enter. Much like a lottery slip, it creates a slip. You the voter verify, that’s exactly how you voted, and put it in the ballot box. Not just any printer, not thermal paper, actual paper, voter verifiable paper.

We’re gonna count the paper and allow the paper record to be the ballot of record. Even in Maryland they’ve gone to paper ballots.

If we had a maintenance or upgrade agreement [with Diebold], roughly 33% of machines purchased at 159 million dollars wouldn’t be sitting in storage somewhere.

Diebold has printers. They print receipts every day at the ATM, at the grocery store.

DO YOU SUPPORT OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE CODE?

Yes. (See previous answer.)

HANDEL AS A CANDIDATE SAID SHE SUPPORTED VVPAT BUT DIDN’T DO IT. WHAT SPECIFIC STEPS WOULD YOU TAKE TO IMPLEMENT A NEW SYSTEM AND HOW LONG INTO YOUR TERM WILL IT TAKE? ONE YEAR? TWO YEARS?

Realistically it will take two years to get started. We know there’s testing. We need to find the people, create the software, preview it. Once we feel comfortable we would go forward.

APN: Would you need legislative approval?

The Secretary of State can do it herself. Realistically, we’re talking about more software, we’re gonna need more money. The Secretary of State’s office has a budget.

I want to have an Arts and Entertainment Commission, to include wrestling and boxing. That has the potential of making millions of dollars per year. All that money with the boxing commission, would go to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Secretary of State needs to be creative and self-sufficient. We can purchase bonds. We can start a museum, a new Georgia State History Museum. Write grants to upgrade our software. Brand our software.

Kemp has said [the printers] it will cost thirty million dollars. But what is the price of democracy? Period?

Every candidate wants to know whether their vote is secure. Every Secretary of State says they’re positive, but they’re not positive. They can’t prove it. I’m not saying they’re lying, but they can’t prove it. I asked fifth and sixth graders what do they trust more, a paper ballot or machine, and they all said the paper.

WHAT TYPE OF AUDITING OF ELECTIONS WOULD YOU SUPPORT? RANDOM AUDITING? HOW OFTEN, ETC.?

(Not relevant. If counting paper in every election would be no need for audit.)

HANDEL SAID IT WOULD BE TOO COSTLY TO CHANGE VOTING SYSTEMS. HOW MUCH IS TOO COSTLY FOR ELECTIONS INTEGRITY? IS THERE AN UPPER LIMIT?

What price- democracy? If I was Secretary of State, the chief elections officer for 11 million plus registered voters, I don’t even know how I could fix my mouth to say something as foolish as too much for democracy.

Someone needs to go to the Republicans in the legislature and say, you all have been elected, you may not be reelected. Wouldn’t you like to know whether you really lost the election or not? Every Secretary of State the last four or five terms has put a price on democracy instead of trying to raise money because it’s too tough for them, and then they want to run for Governor. The Constitution says we have that right [to fair elections].

DO YOU AGREE WITH FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE CATHY COX’S ORIGINAL PURCHASE OF THE DIEBOLD MACHINES? IF NOT, WHAT ASPECT OR PART OF THE PURCHASE DO YOU DISAGREE WITH?

One hundred and fifty nine million dollars, enough money to cure the entire famine of Africa. And we have no upgrade? It’s criminal. I don’t agree with her purchase. You didn’t even negotiate and you’re an attorney and a [former] legislator? It sounds like it didn’t go through the right channels.

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE BLANK VOTES IN THE COBB COUNTY SPLOST?

Yes.

REGARDING THE COBB COUNTY SPLOST, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT SAID THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF MACHINE ERROR. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT ANSWER- WHY OR WHY NOT?

I can’t speculate on that because we don’t have any evidence to prove whether there is [machine error] or not. If we had the technology to create a paper ballot, we wouldn’t be sitting there with 159 blank votes.

We don’t know what went wrong because it’s a computer, yes there’s no evidence. If I was in the same position [as the IG], I would close it [the case] too. I don’t know if it’s a hiccup or if someone caused the machine to do that.

DID YOU SUPPORT HB 1215 IN THE GEORGIA LEGISLATURE TO GET OPTICAL SCAN MACHINES AND ELIMINATE DRE’S?

No. I’m an advocate for paper evidence. We’re trading one computerized solution for another [with optical scan].

DO YOU AGREE WITH GEORGIA’S NEW VOTER ID LAW?

No, it’s definitely being biased and disenfranchisement of our citizens here.

DO YOU AGREE WITH THE CURRENT BALLOT ACCESS LAWS FOR THIRD PARTIES AND INDEPENDENTS?

No I don’t. I’m probably the only candidate who believes in ballot access, a three party system. I am a Democrat, but I believe this office is nonpartisan. if you choose not to be in either party there’s nowhere for you to go.

You should not be encumbered by signatures. Why should I have to run around and get signatures because I choose not to be a donkey or an elephant? [Faye Coffield attempted to get on the ballot as an independent in 2008 against US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)] Do you know that woman ran herself ragged?

You should be able to come in, pay your fee, and get on the ballot. There needs to be a third party for all the independents and everyone else. It would have a Primary.

[Editor’s note: It is important to clarify that there is no third party. There are many, many parties, while two of the more prominent parties outside of the binary are the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. The idea of a third-party catch-all party which would have its own Primary does not seem consistent with how other states handle parties outside the binary; nor does it seem consistent with the objective of the individuals in those parties, which is to create a viable party, not a miscellaneous “other.” In a follow-up conversation, Moore stated she is still developing her platform on this issue but she believes no one should have to petition to run for office.]

DO YOU AGREE WITH KAREN HANDEL IN THE FIGHT WITH THE US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REGARDING THE VOTER VERIFICATION SYSTEM?

No, that was political grandstanding for all apparent reasons. We’re back at voter disenfranchisement.

HAVE YOU ACCEPTED ANY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ANY VENDORS DOING BUSINESS WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE?

I don’t think so. If I had done that, I’d give that back. Yes, we vet donations.

WHAT SPECIFICALLY HAVE YOU DONE TO SUPPORT ELECTIONS INTEGRITY AND REFORM?

Educate the public. I asked people to vote by absentee ballot which creates paper evidence. I’ve been very involved with the Democratic Party. I would go to State Elections Board meetings and go back and inform the Party.

(END/2010)

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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