Judge denies Opitz request to see ballots
by Jon Gillooly
July 16, 2013 12:01 AM | 1508 views | 3 3 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A Cobb Superior Court judge denied Michael Opitz’s petition to view the absentee ballots from 2012’s primary where he squared off against U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta).

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.
Comments
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Ole Man
|
July 16, 2013
The current voting machines do not provide for

ANY verification of the vote. They can be manipulated to give the desired result, with no audit trail.

The only paper ballot that can be verified are the absentee ballots. These records should be available at least to the candidates. Trust But Verify. Remember He who counts the votes determines the results, not the voters.
East Cobber
|
July 16, 2013
Does Opitz really think he won? What a tool! Just another nut wasting more taxpayer money with his conspiracy theories.
SW Gal
|
July 29, 2013
Patriots have fought and died to preserve our most precious right to vote. GA currently has a duel distinction of being among the MOST unethical states and among the LEAST prepared states for honest, verifiable voting. We applaud Mr. Opitz for his efforts to draw this to the public's attention. Communist tyrant and mass murderer Josef Stalin said, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." It is time for Georgia to have a verifiable paper trail for the voting machines.
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