APN Endorses Chastain, Libertarian, for Secretary of State


(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta Progressive News’s Board of Directors was pleased to endorse David Chastain in the General Election for Secretary of State of Georgia because of his commitment to restoring the integrity of our elections.

In 2006, APN endorsed Angela Moore in the Democratic Primary, but did not endorse in the General Election. Earlier this year, APN endorsed State Sen. Gail Buckner in the Democratic Primary Run-off Election, and is endorsing David Chastain, a Libertarian, in the General.

This is the first time we have endorsed a Libertarian for anything. It should be noted that we have strong concerns about Libertarian economic philosophy and policy, but let us save that for another discussion seeing as how the Secretary of State’s office does not set economic policy.

The most important function of the Secretary of State’s office is to maintain the integrity of our elections- and that’s not something that is determined by political party, but by an understanding of the importance of the integrity of elections to the legitimacy of democratic governance, and by a willingness to take stands based on principles.

As a point of reference, all of APN’s previous candidate endorsements since 2006 have either been Democratic candidates or candidates in a nonpartisan race, with one exception; we endorsed former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) as the Green Party nominee for President of the US in 2008, although she was not on the ballot in Georgia.

APN’s extensive investigation into Georgia’s E-voting machines has shown that they cannot be trusted and the voters have no way of knowing whether their votes are actually being counted.

As previously reported by APN prior to the election cycle, David Chastain has been an elections integrity activist, whose independent research led to a state investigation of blank votes while uncovering numerous races statewide with hundreds of questionable blank electronic ballots.

Atlanta Progressive News was the only publication to conduct full-length interviews with all five Democratic candidates for Secretary of State during this year’s Primary season, and Ms. Sinkfield was the weakest on elections integrity out of all five. The strongest had been Moore, followed by Gary Horlacher, Michael Mills, then Buckner [who showed improvement on the E-voting issue during the campaign], and finally, Sinkfield.

To be sure, Sinkfield did support legislation by State Rep. Karla Drenner in 2006 to make the paper audit trail three-county pilot project, to go statewide. This is one of the reasons that Garland Favorito, an elections integrity activist, supported Sinkfield over Buckner in the Primary.

And former Democratic candidates Moore and Buckner have both lined up behind Sinkfield to support her, although it’s not unusual for candidates in the same political party to support the ultimate nominee.

However, none of that adds up to much when Sinkfield does not recognize a problem with our E-voting system; when she says if there is a problem there is no viable solution; and that even if there was a solution we couldn’t afford it. Sinkfield may also have been a strong advocate in the State House regarding economic issues like fighting predatory lending, but again, that’s not an issue pertinent to the Secretary of State’s office. We are focused like a laser on the prize: a voter verifiable paper audit trail; David Chastain is the candidate to get us there.

Favorito, leader of VoterGA, which has sued to eliminate or modify Georgia’s non-verifiable E-voting machines, is also supporting Chastain in the General this year.

Chastain has also been accessible to our readers. Unlike Sinkfield and incumbent Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, Chastain participated as a speaker in APN’s Second Official Town Hall Meeting in September 2010, this one on ballot access for independent and political body candidates.

Chastain will also be a champion for expanding ballot access. Therefore, Chastain’s overall platform would result in not only safer, more trustworthy elections, but elections which offer more meaningful choices to the voter.

Chastain is in it to win it, and has been reaching out across the political, social, and economic spectrum for support, in order to force either Kemp or Sinkfield into a Run-off. His campaign has focused heavily on taking Republican support away from Mr. Kemp, but he has also reached out to progressives. He also spent both days at Atlanta’s Pride Festival 2010 at the Libertarian Party’s booth, the only Libertarian candidate to be spotted on both Saturday and Sunday.


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