A press release from the Constitution Party of Georgia highlights numerous instances of “lost” write-in votes in several of that state’s counties:
The Constitution Party of Georgia presented documentation today that showed the official 2008 Georgia election results failed to include more than 10% of the votes cast for Constitution Party Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin. As sample evidence, party officials contrasted the certified Cherokee County election results, which confirm 75 votes for Baldwin, with the official November 14th state results for Cherokee County, which show no votes for Baldwin. After sampling the official county results from 100 of Georgia’s 159 counties, party officials estimated that more than 130 of Baldwin’s 1,300 votes from 10 specific counties were missing.
The Constitution Party of Georgia has petitioned the Secretary of State to re-canvass each county and obtain the certified write in votes. While the Elections Division has corrected a couple of the most egregious errors, some county results still remain underreported. November 19th was the final deadline for election certifications as required by law. It is unclear if the results will ever be corrected to reflect the official county results.
The release also highlights that this is not the first election in which Georgian election officials mishandled write-ins, citing a 2006 State House race in which 238 of 240 write-ins for one Woody Holmes were lost, only to be found again on protest. The irregularities are not confined to Constitution Party candidates:
Equally as disturbing, the party also provided official state results from November 13th and 14th showing that official totals for all write-in candidates, including Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, were reduced by two thirds between the two days. For example, Mr. Baldwin was originally reported to have received over 3,600 votes on November 13th. Election workers blamed the discrepancy on a computer glitch that initially over-reported votes of all write in candidates.
The release notes that the CPGA is a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Georgia’s electronic voting machines, contending that “election results cannot be properly verified, audited and recounted.” CPGA chair Ricardo Davis also notes that a good deal of the effort involved in dealing with these write-in votes could have been avoided if not for Georgia’s draconian ballot-access laws, citing Ballot Access News that “some Georgia election regulations for some races are 10 times more restrictive than those of a combined national average of all other states.”