When hundreds of Georgia ballot staff open their voting areas on Election Day, they are going to be outfitted with a brand new software designed to assist defend them — a textual content alert system to report any threats at their polling locations.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s workplace created the incident reporting software in response to threats made towards state ballot staff throughout and after the 2020 election.
Gabriel Sterling, a prime official within the Secretary of State’s Workplace, stated the purpose is to offer county administrators and state officers “actual time intelligence” from every of the state’s 159 counties.
“We’re placing this within the fingers of the ballot managers and the elections administrators so the accountable events can get the data to the correct folks on the proper time,” he stated.
The alert system, which was activated Monday, the primary day of early voting within the state, will enable ballot managers in each precinct to textual content a particular, five-digit quantity and report any threats or regarding actions going down at their polling areas.
That data will then be despatched to each county election workplaces and the secretary of state’s elections division throughout the early voting interval and to the secretary of state’s “battle room” — a command middle the place legislation enforcement and different officers collect — that will likely be arrange on Election Day.
“We’re appearing as a useful resource for no matter they want,” Sterling stated, including that the extent of response will differ primarily based on the magnitude of the risk acquired. “We are able to concentrate on it and get to them with the sources they want to allow them to really feel secure.”
Relying on the severity of the risk, that response may embrace dispatching legislation enforcement to answer reported issues, he stated.
The brand new system comes after Georgia noticed unprecedented threats to elections staff following the 2020 presidential election. One notable case in Fulton County concerned election staff Shaye Moss and her mom Ruby Freeman, who testified to the Home Jan. 6 committee that they have been “compelled into hiding” after election lies unfold by Trump associates led to repeated threats.
Richard Barron, who ran Fulton County elections in 2020, advised NBC Information in April the threats his workplace acquired led to report turnover.
“The stress simply wore folks down,” Barron stated earlier this yr.
Sterling stated they must strike a fragile steadiness between vigilance and never giving the opportunity of threats an excessive amount of consideration.
“The issue is, for those who shine an excessive amount of of a light-weight on it, you’re inviting additional ones,” Sterling stated. “You’ve obtained to concentrate on it, however you’ll be able to’t over put together for it. As a result of at that time, you’re inflicting folks to be scared and frightened.”
“The principle factor is voting has to all the time maintain going,” he added. “Nothing will get in the way in which of voting.”