Feb. 8, 2013 — Another consequence, perhaps unintended, lurks in an ethics bill moving through the Legislature. Enforcement of some aspects of campaign finance law, under a bill sponsored by House Speaker David Ralston, would shift to city clerks and county election superintendents. They would be expected to collect late fees from local candidates, recall committees and the like — a task now assigned to the state ethics commission. The question is: How diligently will local election officials rat out incumbents who are, in many cases, their bosses?
A dozen people, including a former sheriff, mishandled scores of absentee ballots cast in elections in four Georgia counties in 2008, state elections officials say. Investigators found ballots were requested or marked without voters’ knowledge, voters were assisted who did not need help, and some of the “helpers” covered their tracks by failing to sign paperwork to acknowledge their involvement. In Twiggs County, FBI analysis found fingerprints of former Sheriff Doyle Stone and his son, Greg Stone, on envelopes containing absentee ballots.
Fulton County officials admit serious violations of election rules for mishandling thousands of absentee ballots in 2008, attorneys said today. Hundreds of voters may have been disenfranchised because Fulton screwed up requests for mail-in ballots, state investigators found, and vote-counters ignored security and accuracy guidelines. Former judge Norman Underwood: Fulton’s 2008 performance was “unacceptable, unsatisfactory and embarrassing.”
Republicans on the State Election Board waded into a virtual GOP smackdown this week as they argued over Georgia’s controversial citizenship checks for potential voters. At issue: Justice Department findings, reported this week, that African-Americans were 60 percent more likely than whites to be flagged by the state’s citizen-verification process, which it described as “error-laden.” […]