For Bill Simon and GriftDrift

In some comments Bill, Grift and I have been arguing about the elections division. One arcane piece of argument has been about the Elections Division providing timely and easy access to absentee ballot request information. My contention is that in 2006, the Secretary of State made this data easily available online. Bill doesn’t believe me that the Secretary of State’s Election Division is the statewide aggregator of this information instead of the counties on an individual basis and Grift doesn’t believe that things have changed.

Well, here is the website from 2006 with the last General Election absentee request file on a statewide basis still available for download:

Nothing from 2008 and no indication that they are in the works to do anything. But hey I love to be pleasantly surprised and maybe they are working on something as we speak. So far, though, I’ve had to file 3 open records requests to get this information in a timely manner (two for the primary data and one so far for the General Election data). Each time I do the request I have to drive to the Elections Division and plunk down $15 for a disc. Surely just sticking it on the website would save everyone time. They already have that nifty domain mentioned above…just update the page guys! Put some real teeth behind the transparency in government initiative.

On and PS to South Fulton guy and anyone else who doesn’t know: My name is Chris Huttman.


  1. Icarus says:

    Why are you not trying to get the info directly from Dekalb county. It would seem that would be more convenient for you, and you would also have a quicker turnaround since you wouldn’t have to wait for them to transmit the data to the SOS?

  2. griftdrift says:

    Where did I say things haven’t changed? WHERE?! The state office changed landlords and parties. Guess what? Things changed! SHOCKING!

    But once again a Democrat is choosing to put words in my mouth while ignoring everything else I say.

    I am up to here with the arrogance of Democrats in the past week. Done. Absolutely effin done.

  3. Icarus, good question. The counties now input this information directly into the SOS computer and can not get the information back in anything but printouts. Since I don’t really want to rekey printed out information back into the computer it’s much easier to get the data back in an electronic format and just match the file.

    As for why I want statewide data I am helping many candidates across the state coordinate their data for the general election. Grift perhaps I should say that you don’t think things have changed due to partisanship or some sort of partisan conspiracy.

    In my opinion, you are the one that is eager to call me and others partisan conspiracy theorists when we talk about this stuff. I’m just laying it all out there. I will tell you this – there is no eagerness on the part of the people that run Elections to help to accommodate these requests by simply putting the data online like it used to be done. C’mon dude, why would a change of policy in 2008 be to STOP putting things online? And when I first requested this data with an Open Records Request, I went to the office on Day 3 (when they must reply) to meet with Wes Tailor and was told he was at lunch (so I came back), in a meeting (so I waited) and then had to leave the building.

    So what I did was I left him a note that said I’m heading over to the AG’s office to discuss my experiences with the Elections Division and within minutes I had a faxed response from Wes Tailor (who supposedly had to leave, I guess not) to my original request.

    I’ve been careful not to allege any sort of conspiracy. I just think they are acting in a partisan manner on some matters (Powell, Conlon) and that their inaction is questionable on others (this data).

    I was also told that it was impossible to produce credit for voting data for the primary to get the names of those eligible to vote in the runoff in a quick period of time. I have email records from 2006’s primary where they turned it around and emailed it back out in a week. I have a lot of experience dealing with this office in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and things have changed. You don’t have to believe me, but like with this post to respond to Bill I would be glad to further document the changes with emails, open record requests and the like.

  4. griftdrift says:

    Oh Chris. I think things have changed due to partisanship. Let me see. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah! About a dozen times out of my own mouth!

    What I don’t believe in is conspiracy. And when you and some of your cohorts start drifting over into cuckoo-land, it becomes very difficult for people who might listen to your arguments to follow.

    And every Republican on this site knows that all they have to do is say “still bitter because of 2000” and the trap will be sprung. But hey walk right into it. Again.

  5. Who are my cohorts? Every one of my claims (Powell, Conlon, absentee data, election history) has either already been proven right by me/documented or is about to be (in the case of Conlon). Sure there is a lot of off the wall talk out there and wild stuff being accused. But I also believe that citizens such as myself have the right to question and correct how our public offices are run and that’s what I’ve been doing. Call me crazy if you want to because of that.

  6. Did someone call me. I thought I heard “crazy wacko that wants a level playing field ”

    Chris, if you manage to get what you want, let me know how you did it. I’d like to see (so does 55% of Americans) Bob Barr in the debates. Partisan exclussion sucks.

  7. MelGX says:

    The other thing this SOS (or her web team), has done that’s gone completely unnoticed (except by those of us trying to circulate the link), is to repeatedly change the link to access the ABR from from the SOS website.

  8. Dave Bearse says:

    I recollect the SOS office funding public service advertising by Cathy Cox on some matter or another. Now Falcons games will include SOS office public service advertising on voting requirments by Karen Handel.

    Some things don’t change.

    It remains to be seen is if Handel will be criticized for the public service advertising by the same folks that criticized Cox’ advertising. Some things do change.

  9. Bill Simon says:


    It appears that Website was a “special” item set-up by Cathy Cox’s office for you.

    Here’s a question: WHY didn’t Cox’s office ever seek to set a standard across all county boards of elections so that all of the absentee data would be accessible by all?

    Instead, you whine and blame Handel for not continuing with YOUR special treatment by the SOS’s office.

    Doesn’t the legislature have enough prima donnas already rather than make room for one more (i.e., you)?

  10. Bill my understanding is that HAVA requires the state elections officials to standardize and centralize this stuff.

    As for special website for me…ok. That’s a new one. I never asked for this data back in 2006, I just got an email from people that work in the elections division saying by the way we’ve set up this new website that you might like. Of course I got the email because I was the contact at the Democratic Party. I’m sure the Republicans were using it too (although if any want to jump in and confirm that go ahead).

    From my conversations with the party this year, they are not being given this same opportunity this year. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would be so hostile to members of the public getting a hold of publicly available data. I’ve gotten 3 discs so far from the SOS (and have one waiting for me) with this data on it. It would be easier for everyone to have access to it at a website than for me or others to get discs. That’s all I’m saying.

    Wouldn’t you like to use it when helping a candidate?

  11. Bill Simon says:

    Yes, Chris. But exactly how was such a capability communicated to you? By letter? By e-mail? By a press release by Cathy Cox’s office stating this was available to all and the AJC would have covered it?

    Which of these magical methods was the avenue the SOS’s office chose to inform the Democratic Party of Georgia?

  12. ChambleeElite says:

    If the Cox SOS only tipped off the DPG about the absentee ballot data, that’s bad and partisan. Does that make it all right for the Handle SOS to operate in the same way?

    And if the Handel SOS is doing this with both parties, it’s wasting a lot of time and resources, both governmental and private.

    I’m still not sure what’s wrong with complaining about the problem and trying to get it fixed.

  13. Perdue’s campaign ran a sophisticated absentee ballot turnout program. I’d be amazed if they weren’t using this information to track their progress. I’d also be amazed if they weren’t the ones who made the suggestion that the SOS make the data available in 2006.

  14. Bill Simon says:

    “Perdue’s campaign ran a sophisticated absentee ballot turnout program. I’d be amazed if they weren’t using this information to track their progress. I’d also be amazed if they weren’t the ones who made the suggestion that the SOS make the data available in 2006.”

    A-ha-ha-ha-! And you think Cathy Cox would have taken his suggestion and implemented it?

    You forget, Chris, that Barnes was feared by even elected constitutional officers. Cox would not have dared do something so as to facilitate the Perdue campaign, no matter how helpful it might have been.

    For the record, the Dems didn’t have the sophistication back then to figure out the value of implementing an absentee ballot program. Chances are, they still don’t.

  15. Bill Simon says:

    CORRECTION: Scratch the “Barnes” comment; I thought you were referring to 2002.

    The remainder still applies. The dems to this day don’t know how to implement an absentee ballot program.

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