A GOP poll watcher reported that officials allowed workers to use ballot machines that were missing security seals in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Beth Sexton first called into The Tennessee Star Election 2020 Unmasked tip line to report the incident on Monday.
According to the report Sexton gave the tip line, a group of concerned-looking poll workers were gathered around a ballot machine. When Sexton approached them, she overheard them discussing missing security seals.
Ballot box security seals are small colored plastic tags that have codes or numbers printed on them. Sexton asked a nearby polls manager what was occurring but was told she couldn’t ask questions.
At that point, Sexton reported that she called the hotline number they’d been given. The worker told her to take note of what happened and return to work. As soon as Sexton returned inside, she saw another group of concerned-looking poll workers gathered around a different ballot machine. She overheard them discussing more missing security seals.
Sexton relayed to The Star that she turned around immediately and called the hotline again.
“I went to the lobby area and he [the hotline agent] seemed very alarmed and told me to go back in and tell the poll manager that she wasn’t to use the machines.”
Sexton said that the polls manager brushed her off after she’d relayed what the hotline worker had informed her.
“She said to me, ‘Someone else must’ve cut them off, they probably didn’t know [they weren’t supposed to do that].’ But the way they are setting things up, I doubt that. They were setting things up one at a time, so I didn’t see how anybody could run around and cut the seals off.”
Later that day, Sexton said that a woman identifying herself as an area election manager approached her. The woman informed Sexton that the security seals probably came off in transit or were accidentally misplaced in some kind of bag. Sexton reported that the woman kept downplaying those particular security seals’ importance.
“They continued to use those machines that day. I mean, someone could’ve somewhere taken those security seals off the switch and inserted hardware that could alter or remove people’s votes. I was alarmed about it.”
Sexton also stated that there may have been other issues to occur – but it was difficult to watch the whole room with the amount of activity occurring.
“I was just one person – there’s no way that one person could stay on top of everything. [So] at other precincts, who knows if they had those issues?”
The security seals weren’t the only issues that alarmed Sexton. She reported that there were two Democrats that told her they’d flown in from San Francisco to be poll watchers. One of the two men would disappear at random, Sexton said, and she’d discover them outside talking to voters. Sexton added that she’d been instructed as a poll watcher to not talk with voters.
Tips can be reported via the 24-hour tip line at (615) 747-1500. Read more of The Star election coverage here.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gwinnett County Polling Place” by Gwinnett County.