BREAKING: Donzella James Contesting Primary in Georgia (UPDATE 1)


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(APN) ATLANTA — US Congressional Candidate Donzella James has filed a legal contest of the results of her Primary race against US Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Atlanta Progressive News has learned. The suit has been filed in State Court in Fulton County, Georgia.

The lawsuit asserts Georgia’s election “results” are meaningless because they run on E-voting machines which have no verifiable paper trail or audit system.

“People know there’s a problem with auditing these machines. But no opponent has ever challenged after the race,” Donzella James told Atlanta Progressive News.

The lawsuit also lists instances of machine breakdowns and malfunctions in Georgia’s 13th Congressional District during the Primary. These instances are similar to those documented by US Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s (D-GA) Campaign in the 4th District, and discussed exclusively by Atlanta Progressive News.

The lawsuit is believed to set a national precedent.

“Good, I’m glad she’s challenging, she should!” Brad Friedman of the noted elections integrity website, BradBlog, said in a phone interview.

The Donzella James Campaign isn’t taking the same approach as say, Kerry/Edwards 2004. They aren’t trying to calculate the known malfunctions to see if they add up to greater than the margin of vote difference between more progressive James and the moderate Scott (35%). The point is, because of the lack of a paper trail, there is no way to determine how many unknown malfunctions there are.

“When you figure out something is wrong with these systems, you can’t get in there to see how much has gone wrong in these systems. It’s in the ether,” Friedman said.

The organization Open Voting Foundation has discovered this week what they are calling the worst known security flaw ever in E-voting machines, in the older model of Diebold machines that are used in Georgia and Maryland. Black Box Voting, which publicized the matter, said this flaw is even worse than those discovered in the newer Diebold models (Developing…)

Attorney Paul Lehto, who is contesting the Busby/Bilbray race in San Diego where voting machines were taken home with poll workers, has offered to provide informal advice to Donzella James. Expecting voters to trust E-voting as presently done is “like asking everyone to put blindfolds on,” Lehto said. “I endorse this. It’s exciting that there’s an elections contest in Georgia.”

Local organization VoterGA has also offered to help.

“We filed on Monday evening a petition to contest the election. The Clerk of Courts certified it. Yesterday we certified the petition sent to Secretary of State Cathy Cox’s Office. They in turn will respond and will recognize a hearing issue on this matter,” Johnny Wilson, of the James Camapign, said.

APN has also learned the US Dept. Of Justice (USDOJ) is conducting a preliminary investigation into evidence of elections problems in Georgia’s 4th District, according to a leading poll watcher who submitted the complaint. USDOJ is working on a comment but it was not in by press deadline. (Developing…)

James’s elections contest is essentially making the same central claims as the VoterGA lawsuit, which APN has also been following. VoterGA’s lawsuit does not challenge any specific election but is aimed at an injunction against the way Georgia’s elections are currently carried out. James’s suit, on the other hand, is using the same principles to question a specific election.

“We’ll be glad to help her any way she needs help,” Garland Favorito of VoterGA said.

“She’s asking the same questions that we are, on how could Georgia elections be legitimate if there is no direct physical evidence of voter intent? It is a very appropriate question for which the Secretary of State can provide no reasonable answer,” Favorito said.

“A recount is only a reprint of previous unverifiable results,” Favorito said.

James’s lawsuit does not seek a recount; it seeks for the present “results” to be overturned.

“The grounds for contest are based on the belief… a mistake or fraud had been made by Secretary of State to advertise, publish, display, distribute and announce “result of the count by the Election Committee” without an authentic and verifiable paper trail to independently verify that voters, voting for Donzella James, had their votes recorded,” the lawsuit filing says in “Count Two.”

“How do we know that the votes that went for opponent were not cast for contestant?” the filing says.

“How do we know that, absent of a paper trail, the outcome matches the voter tally produced by the electronic machine?” the filing says [commas added for flow].

The lawsuit also claims known malfunctions with E-voting such as machines breaking down and people not receiving the correct party ballot.

“When I went into my voting precinct, and I was the third person in line, there were two people in front of me, and those people were having problems with the machines. One of the machines had to be shut off immediately. They gave the people in front of me the wrong card. And then when it got to me I even got a Republican ballot,” James told Atlanta Progressive News.

“Okay, I knew and some of the people there knew, but suppose people who are not politically astute say, ‘Oh their name wasn’t on my ballot, so I must not be in their district’.”

“We only named a couple irregularities we reported from that day,” James said.

“I know in Clayton, Fulton, Douglas, and Cobb Counties, there were numerous complaints from candidates about those polls. If we put all of them together, we’d have several pages of complaints,” James said.

“The integrity of the vote is being questioned as a result of the voting machines, and we have apathy and complacency among voters throughout the nation, and we want to make sure we restore the integrity so they know their vote truly counts and they know they are making a difference and they do have input in their district and what happens in the electoral process,” James said.

Donzella James served in the Georgia State Legislature for several years, and during the most recent years of that time, she was one of the leading critics of E-Voting, she said.

Atlanta Progressive News will continue to follow this story.

CORRECTION: Paul Lehto is providing informal advice to the James Campaign and is not taking them on as a client which may seem to have been implied previously.

About the author:

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

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