On Thursday, August 27, 2009, the State Board of Elections considered issues raised in an investigative summary by the Office of the Inspector General of the Secretary of State regarding allegations by James Quarterman arising out of the November, 2008 general election.
In the Inspector’s report, the investigator found no merit to dozens of allegations made by Mr. Quarterman.
The Inspector did find that the State BOE should consider issues arising out of three circumstances: (1) the omission of the middle initial “T.” in Derrick T. Broughton’s name on certain ballots used in early voting; (2) whether additional public notices should have been issued regarding continued “logic and accuracy” testing of voting equipment that was not completed in one day; (3) the discovery of 67 absentee ballots that have been inadvertently placed in a locked file cabinet by a temporary employee and were not counted in the general election.
The Douglas County BOE is pleased that the State Board of Elections found no basis for further review of the allegations surrounding the omission of Mr. Broughton’s middle initial. The State BOE did ask the State Law Department to review the legal issues regarding whether additional public notices are necessary if “logic and accuracy” testing of voting equipment cannot be completed in a single day. Notably, members of the State BOE noted that the statute in question did not specify that additional notices were required and asked the Secretary of State’s Office to study the issue and decide if clarification of the statute was necessary.
It is also important to recognize that the only issue in question was whether additional notices of testing days were required. There was no allegation whatsoever that the voting equipment was not accurate. The voting equipment passed all tests and no defects were found.
Finally, the State BOE asked the State Law Department to further review the issue concerning the 67 absentee ballots and technical issues regarding the tabulation and certification of these ballots since they were discovered after the election was concluded. Importantly, the State BOE noted that this issue had been addressed by Superior Court Judge Michael Clark, that Judge Clark had dismissed Mr. Quarterman’s lawsuit challenging the election and that the issue was now being reviewed on appeal by the State Supreme Court.
The Board also noted that the 67 absentee ballots were insufficient to affect the outcome of any election result.
The Douglas County Board of Elections will work cooperatively with the Department of Law regarding these remaining issues and is confident that the process will lead to further improvements of the safeguards instituted by the Board. Among the actions already undertaken by the Douglas County BOE are written procedures concerning the handling of absentee ballots. The Board is confident that these procedures will address the problem caused by the temporary clerk who misplaced the 67 absentee ballots.
Further information regarding the matter is available by contacting board attorney Ben Mathis at 770-818-1402.