Breaking: Democratic Party of Georgia Calls on SAFE Commission to Delay Vote Following News That Voting Machine Lobbyist Is Longtime Kemp Crony
Chief Lobbyist for Elections Systems & Software Hired as Kemp’s Deputy Chief of Staff in Governor’s Office
Today, the Democratic Party of Georgia called on Brian Kemp’s SAFE Commission to delay any vote on recommendations for a new voting system following the discovery that a leading vendor under consideration, whose machines are currently being investigated in a lawsuit due to errors in the 2018 election, has deep connections to Brian Kemp’s office.
Charles “Chuck” Harper, chief lobbyist for Elections Systems & Software (ES&S), is a longtime associate of Brian Kemp, and worked as the lobbyist for the Secretary of State’s office. ES&S is the latest iteration of Diebold Elections Systems Inc., the company that manufactured Georgia’s current voting machines. Diebold sold its elections systems business to ES&S and now, ES&S, with representation by Charles Harper, is a top contender for a new $100+ million contract. This week, Harper was appointed by Kemp as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Governor’s office.
“It is no surprise to us that Brian Kemp, the architect of voter suppression, has hired the lobbyist for the voting machines as his Deputy Chief of Staff,” said Georgia Democratic Party Chair DuBose Porter. “But it is reprehensible. Georgia voters should be downright alarmed that Brian Kemp continues to orchestrate our elections system to benefit himself. It is deeply irresponsible for the SAFE Commission to make any recommendations on updates to our voting systems until the significant problems with current machines have been thoroughly investigated and until we can ensure that this decision is made transparently, and not in one of Brian Kemp’s backroom deals.”
The Democratic Party of Georgia has been concerned that the voting machine industry was pushing the Commission too fast to make a decision on machines– and ES&S has been leading the charge. Just today, a state court denied the state’s motion to dismiss a case alleging massive voting irregularities in the Lieutenant Governor’s race. At this time, the Commission has not fully investigated or evaluated what has happened.
“It’s not just foolish to move ahead without an evaluation of all of the irregularities that happened in 2018, it’s dangerous to our democracy. The SAFE Commission must delay any action and instead focus on the investigation.” said Porter.
The SAFE Commission meets Thursday at 9AM. The meeting is open to the public and community members are encouraged to attend.