After losing to Gingrey in the July 2012 primary, Opitz filed an Open Records Request with the Cobb Board of Elections to view the absentee ballots.
“I feel that it’s a candidate’s right to be able to review the ballots to ensure an accurate count,” Opitz said.
Gregg Litchfield, attorney for the elections board, denied the request.
“By law, these ballots, we’re required by law to put them under seal, so it is exempt from the Open Records Request,” Litchfield said.
Litchfield pointed out that the law was made by the Georgia General Assembly, not by him.
Opitz appealed to Cobb Superior Court, and on Friday Judge Adele Grubbs ruled that because Opitz did not give a compelling reason why he needed to see the ballots, state law required them to remain sealed.
While he doesn’t intend to appeal the case, Opitz said he does hope to use it as a spring board for convincing lawmakers to revise the law.
“I was not challenging the results of the election nor was I challenging any fraud or protesting any fraud,” Opitz said. “I think it’s a candidate’s right to be able to see and verify. There’s so much malfeasance in government from the IRS that there is a lack of trust, and we deserve the right in a free society. As Reagan said, ‘Trust but verify.’”
Opitz is president of the Madison Forum, a civic organization that uses the U.S. Constitution to promote good government.
Of the absentee ballots cast in the election, 1,337 went to Gingrey, 127 went to William Llop and 125 went to Opitz.
For the overall vote, Gingrey received 30,266 votes or 83.4 percent, while Llop received 2,771 and Opitz received 3,246, said Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb Board of Elections.
Opitz said he asked for the absentee ballots “since we can’t see the electronic ballots. There is no record kept of those; it’s impossible.”
Eveler said the electronic voting machines store the votes two ways.
One is on the memory cards, and the other is stored inside the machine itself.
“If the memory card were to fail you could create a new one using the backup that’s in the machine,” she said.