ATLANTA – If someone wanted to know the real deal about elections in Georgia, the best person to ask may well be veteran election watchdog Garland Favorito. For nearly twenty years, Favorito — one of the co-founders of Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA) — has followed the development and implementation of voting machines. What Favarito has witnessed in the relentless push by the state to go with paperless ballots has left him convinced that corruption is at the heart of Georgia’s election process.
Favorito was scheduled present his assertions last week to a Georgia Senate Judiciary subcommittee, but was dropped to the bottom of the witness list on the day of the hearing and never called to offer any evidence. Some of the particulars of Favorito’s testimony may be found in a press release we published last Sunday – a release which was flagged by Facebook “fact-checkers” as “information (which) could mislead people.”
What exactly does Favorito know about elections in Georgia that is so controversial? Since he wasn’t allowed to testify at the subcommittee hearing, we thought we’d give him a call and ask.
BPE: Thank you for taking some time to speak with us today. I’d like to start by asking you to address the Facebook flag on your press release. The flag references a rumor floating around the internet which claims that your group either seized a Dominion vote counting machine or had direct access to one. Is there any truth at all to that rumor?
Favorito: That part of the Dominion story was fabricated. I don’t know where that came from. It certainly didn’t come from my press release. And it did not come from the affidavit that I have out on VoterGA; either on the legal tab, or the press release tab. So that part of the story is false. I think it was just generated by one individual and then repeated through social media many, many times.
BPE: Has the dissemination of that fabrication affected your factual presentation in any way?
Favorito: Well, it effects it in the sense that people – like Facebook – debunk the obviously false part of the story, and then try to claim that the entire story has been debunked, when in fact, it has not.
You know, we have five pieces of corroborating evidence to prove that 37 votes were switched to Joe Biden in the electronic vote count. That was proven by the hand-count audit of the county where that happened, and actually confirmed in writing from the elections directors out there.
BPE: Can you tell us a bit about how this audit came to be, and how you were able to obtain these five points of information?
Favorito: The first thing that happened in Georgia: they had a presidential election. And they published the election results, which we have – that’s the first one. Because of the closeness of the race, the secretary of state ordered a hand-count audit of the race. And then the audit produced its results.
The results showed on both of those two published reports, which are Secretary of State documents, that 37 votes were flipped – by the machines – from President Trump to Joe Biden. The hand-count audit confirmed that, and the hand-count audit is almost always the system of record.
One of our volunteers collected the information from the elections director of Ware County. The person who originally notified us was Dr. Earl Martin. He was a former Waycross City commission candidate – highly respected. He confirmed his information with the elections director. I asked Dr. Martin to go back and get that in writing, which he did, so that is the forth piece of corroborating evidence. Martin, of course, has already confirmed it. And then, because the elections director confirmed in writing that that’s what had occurred, I called him again and he confirmed that verbally with me.
So we have two verbal confirmations, one written confirmation, and two published documents from the secretary of state – all proving that vote flips did occur from Trump to Biden.
There really should be no dispute about that.
Now, we don’t know why it occurred – we don’t know why the system did that. Was it ballot definition foul? Was it a configuration mismatch, or was it malware on the software app? My affidavit concluded that it was most likely to be malware, but we won’t really know for sure until we have a forensic examination, and that’s what we requested.
We requested that forensic examination and basically all Hell’s broken loose ever since.
BPE: You say 37 votes in Ware County were flipped by the machines from President Trump to Joe Biden. What kind of an impact might that have had on the election statewide?
Favorito: The 37 swapped votes of the 74 total impacted ballots represents .26% of the 14,192 votes cast in Ware County. That’s exactly the same percentage as Biden’s total statewide margin of .26%.
BPE: Would you need to take a look at a handful of machines to make that determination or would you need to look at all the machines?
Favorito: We just need to look right now at Ware County. Impound the server and let’s see what’s on that, because it looks to me like there’s some algorithm on it that could swap votes. We don’t know for sure, but we’ve got to investigate because of the criticality of the issue.
But there’s been tremendous push-back from both the secretary of state’s office and the elections director to do that (investigation).
The secretary of state is saying that the elections director has control of the machines and he can do it, but the elections director doesn’t feel like he can do. So it’s kind of going back and forth.
BPE: That back and forth isn’t helping to expedite the efforts of the Trump team, is it?
Favorito: Well, it’s corrupt and it’s not helping efforts to insure the election integrity.
BPE: Are these same machines going to be used in the upcoming runoff election?
Favorito: Yeah, there won’t be a difference, and the same type of fraudulent procedures and questionable software and/or configurations could impact that race as well.
BPE: If there was manipulation going on in this last election, would the machines have to be reconfigured ahead of the runoff election? And if so, would that be done in place individually or is that something that could be done to all of the machines remotely?
Favorito: The machines have to be configured for each election. And it is not normal procedure to do that remotely. However, we do have evidence that in some cases, they have made remote updates and that sort of thing. We have affidavits from poll workers and managers who explained that. So there are occasions when they do update them remotely.
BPE: You mentioned a moment ago that the hand ballots are “usually” the instrument of record. Is that different in Georgia from one county to the next, and if so, how does the state handle those differences?
Favorito: Well, thanks for asking that. Ironically, the elections director decided to tell the counties to certify the Dominion results instead of the hand-count audit, as long as they counted all ballots. In a couple of cases where there were technical problems, and they didn’t count all the ballots, they would certify the audit results. But in all the other cases – which is probably over 150 of the 159 counties – they certified the Dominion results.
That alone probably cost President Trump about 500 votes
BPE: Are the paper ballots archived?
Favorito: Yes, they’re archived for 22 months here in Georgia, but no one is allowed to ever look at them.
BPE: You’re saying there’s no way to take a look at those ballots after the election and do a recount using them?
Favorito: That’s correct. We actually had a candidate who simply tried to view his own absentee ballots – in the custody of the elections director – and a court denied him, saying that he had no compelling reason to look at the ballots of his own election race.
BPE: So if I understand this correctly, ballots are counted by a Dominion machine, and the Dominion machine number is the final number that the county may certify. But if there’s a question about a potential problem with the tally done by a machine, a candidate has no right to ask for anyone to look at the ballots alone and check those totals against the count calculated by the Dominion machine?
Favorito: Right. I know that sounds totally bizarre to you, but that’s how corrupt the election law is here in Georgia.
BPE: Do you know if there is any truth to another internet rumor that paper ballots and other election artifacts have been shredded?
Favorito: Well, one of our members got videotape of ballots being shredded in Cobb County, but they were apparently unmarked or unused ballots. The elections director denied that, but she (our member) actually has it on videotape. The ballots being shredded were left overs, so I’m not really sure why the election director would deny that.
By the way, that group member was scheduled to testify before the senate subcommittee last week, but like me, she was also bumped off the agenda.
BPE: I’ve read that you were originally scheduled to be one of the first people to testify before the judiciary subcommittee, but you were bumped down to the end of the list. Is that correct?
Favorito: Right. The legal team for the President had me down at number six. They thought that my testimony was a value to the President’s arguments and they would have been. We could have corroborated much of what the previous witnesses had offered. But the chairman of the subcommittee basically singled me out and moved me to all the way to the bottom of the list, knowing that we would never get there.
BPE: Why would the chairman have done that?
Favorito: Well, my information was derogatory regarding the secretary of state. He certainly did not want to expose the vote flip, and there were other issues about the way the secretary conducted the audit – which was not appropriate.
The fact that the elections director certified the Dominion results – I had that in my statement. Plus the fact that our monitors were prohibited by his legal counsel from monitoring the election in two counties.
So, I had all that in my statement.
The chairman knew – because of my statement – I was going to raise those issues and make those points when I testified. I believe he decided to just flat scratch me and push me to the bottom of the list where he wouldn’t have to deal with that.
BPE: Was your statement and/or affidavit allowed to be entered into what the Trump team officially submitted to the subcommittee?
Favorito: Well, my statement was submitted in advance. That’s how they knew what I was going to say, and didn’t like what I was going to say. They get you to submit a statement and if they don’t like it – you’re cut. It’s kind of like editing a TV show.
BPE: You’ve said you signed a sworn affidavit to the presentation you were going make?
Favorito: I’ve actually signed several affidavits. I have a sworn affidavit about the Ware County vote flip, and I have another one where as I was monitoring interim results in Fulton County. I saw Biden’s totals go up by 20,000 while President Trump’s appeared to go down a 1,000. So I immediately filed for an open records request by the end results. I requested that and notified the elections director and all five of the election board members of Fulton County.
I also notified the county attorney for the elections – “here’s something that looks really wrong and I’ve requested open records.” That was November 5th, and it’s now been over a month. I’ve never heard a written response.
BPE: If they’re running a real time tally as they’re tabulating the votes, how does one candidate’s total go down?
Favorito: Yeah, that’s a great question. So, it is possible.
Let’s say they a remove a batch of ballots. Maybe they’re doing adjudication or something. And they remove a batch that they’ve already uploaded. It is possible for a candidate’s vote totals to go down. That actually didn’t bother me as much as the fact of a discrepancy – the discrepancy of having 20,000 more votes to 1,000, or even zero.
That creates a real concern for me because frankly you just don’t see that. Even in a county that’s fairly strongly aligned with the Democrats, you don’t see a 20-1 margins. You might see 70-30 or something like that. So the red flag to me was more of the disparities than it was an apparent negative number.
BPE: You don’t usually see a 20-1 margin at Thanksgiving dinner, do you?
Favorito: Yeah (laughing) I think you made the point better than I did.
BPE: Were you present at the senate judiciary committee hearing when Jackie Pick presented the CCTV video of what appears to be election workers counting ballots after the counting center was supposedly closed down?
Favorito: I’m glad to talk to you about that. What the video shows was absolutely compelling. And we have more corroborating evidence.
In the morning, when there was this alleged water main break – that never happened – and the people stopped working, a table was brought in and set up with a skirt on it. Now, you shouldn’t normally have skirted tables in elections processing – that’s the first red flag. And the water main break that delayed processing of the absentee ballots for two or three hours? That turned out to be a leaky urinal.
So they had delayed processing apparently for no real reason. That threw them behind and the video shows that suitcases or bins were put under the skirted table. They stayed stored there all day, and then in the evening, somebody came out and announced they were done for the night. According to three affidavits, the three monitors – two Republican and one Democrat – left the arena and went over to the tabulation center, only to find out that the workers never stopped scanning.
That’s when the video showed that the workers pulled out these ballots and started scanning them for the next two hours.
I think it was maybe four suitcases (filled with ballots).
In two hours they were alone, they could have easily scanned 15-20,000 ballots.
The scanners could actually do 5,000 per hour, and they had three scanners there. That would mean as many 30,000 could have been scanned, but we think it was somewhere closer to 15,000.
That all occurred, as I said, for about two hours, and then all of a sudden, the workers wrap up at around 12:45 am. At that point in time, the scanned ballot images are on compact flash cards, or memory sticks, and they’re taken over to the warehouse for tabulation. So about a 45 minutes after they finish, there is a bump in the election live feed for Joe Biden in Georgia by over 100,000 votes. The bump in the election results for Biden correlates to these very suspicious ballots that were introduced into the count
BPE: Can the timestamps on the video be tied directly to those to those bumps?
Favorito: They can be tied directly to the hour before the bounce occurred, then you add the time it would take to get those memory sticks over to the warehouse to tabulate the votes. They had ballot scanners at State Farm Arena, but not the means to tabulate the votes. So, yeah, when you allow for travel time from one place to the other, they correlate exactly.
The other thing that’s concerning to people is the question: If they introduced extra ballots, why doesn’t it show in your total vote count when you match the number of ballots processed with the number of voters who voted? Well, the same individual controls the departments that do both of those things, so they have access to the absentee ballot list, as well as the absentee ballot processing. If you have all that control under one roof, you can basically manipulate the results and cover your tracks.
BPE: There have been some conflicting reports about how many people were in that counting room at the State Farm Arena.
Favorito: It’s actually the scanning room. I don’t think most people are familiar with the process. I was at State Farm Arena in that room, and in the warehouse, so I know where the tabulation was done and where the ballots were opened.
BPE: Were you in the scanning room at State Farm Arena at any point as an observer?
Favorito: Oh yeah.
BPE: From where they had you standing to watch the process, could you see the scanning machines?
Favorito: No, we didn’t have a clear view of the machines because the room is so curved. You only have access to view about half the room, which made it very hard to see what was going on.
BPE: This is more of a subjective question, but what kind of impact do you think that CCTV video has made in this election?
Favorito: I think it’s been dramatic. I mean you basically have highly suspicious activity on video recordings from the State Farm Arena, and it’s very, very compelling. Yet despite the compelling nature of this video, the secretary of state’s office is still in cover-up mode and trying to protect Fulton County – which they’ve never done before.
It’s just really bizarre. I never would have thought they would have come out as they have and try to protect Fulton County.
BPE: Do you know if any of the individuals who were involved in that suspicious activity have been questioned by law enforcement?
Favorito: I don’t know.
BPE: Please allow me to digress and ask if you would tell us a bit about your background and how you became involved with VoterGA?
Favorito: Sure, I’m a 40-year career IT professional and experienced with a wide variety of disciplines. I co-founded VoterGA about 16 years ago and we’ve kind of lead the election integrity movement in Georgia.
BPE: What spurred you to pursue election integrity?
Favorito: Oh, great question. I went to a conference in Cincinnati in 2000, when everything was calm. Nobody even thought about elections back then. At the conference they said, “Watch out. There’s a whole new wave of voting equipment coming that you can’t verify and can’t audit. And they’re going to implement these machines nationwide.”
Again, this was in the summer of 2000, when nobody was thinking about electronic elections.
I said to myself, “That’s kind of crazy – I don’t know if I believe this” but it sounded interesting, so I went with it. Sure enough, after I looked at the presentation, I said, “Oh my gosh! They are totally, completely right. If we had this type of electronic voting, it can’t be verified, it can’t be audited, it can’t be recounted.”
Sure enough, there was this massive push for paperless ballots/paperless systems after the hanging chad incident in Florida. And, much to my dismay, Georgia, was the first state to implement a statewide system like that – over objections which I made in writing to the secretary of state and evaluators before they ever purchased the machines.
I suggested to them, because of those decisions, that the machines are probably unconstitutional.
They ignored our objections.
The case went to the Georgia Supreme Court where we lost in 2009. And then in 2019, a Federal U.S. District Court ruled that, yes, they are unconstitutional and banned those older machines for future use – basically confirming that I was right 17 years earlier.
BPE: How do you think all the challenges to this current election are going to play out?
Favorito: I think there’s going to be a massive legal fight for the electoral votes in battleground states just based on what I’m seeing in Fulton County. You know, we have four affidavits that there are fraudulent ballots there.
We are trying to press Fulton County to let us look at this to figure out who really won and how many ballots there are. I think that President Trump will win the electoral votes in Georgia, one way or another. If he doesn’t, it would be a travesty, because there appears to be enough fraud that would have overturned the election. And no one wants to even look at it to determine whether or not there’s enough fraud.
BPE: I keep hearing that the Republicans in Georgia are somewhat split on whether or not to vote in the upcoming runoff election – the sticking point for them being the question of integrity. Is that true?
Favorito: Well, it’s a good question, but I’m sure they will vote, no matter what. Trump is encouraging them to vote. However, the bigger point is, if we allow them to steal the presidential election in Georgia, they will steal the senate races as well.
It’s that bad.
And that’s what we’ve got to stop. We have to verify if Biden really won here in Georgia. I don’t believe he did.
BPE: Looking beyond 2020, do you think there will be any kind of a movement to dispense with these machines once and for all, or is the country stuck with them?
Favorito: Well Georgia is pretty much stuck. I think other states will wise up now that we’ve seen the problems with these systems. But it’s just a massive effort to try to prevent elections officials from buying corrupt equipment, because the lobbyists are lining their pockets – either with money or power. They will do anything, regardless of whether it makes any sense or not, and that’s what happened here in Georgia.
We argued for years with hundreds of people testifying at the legislature; testifying to their voting system commission; explaining all these problems. We explained that we did not want a system that accumulates votes out of a bar code that the voter cannot verify.
The state bought it anyway.
They spent hundreds of millions of dollars and will continue to spend it over the next 10 years — knowing that it was a highly flawed system. The only reason you’d made that kind of a decision is if you had been corrupted and compromised, and you’re getting money under the table, or you’re getting the power through your reelection.
Those are your only logical explanations.
BPE: So, no matter how you slice it, the voting machines are a means of corruption?
Favorito: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
BPE: Thank you.
(Below we’ve added a short video in which the Coffee County Georgia Election Director demonstrates how easy it is to change votes using ballot adjudication software.)<
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Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony’s poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, “Thou shalt not steal.”