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Raffensperger: Tougher penalties for anyone who tampers

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(The Center Square) — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wants state lawmakers to increase the penalties for anyone who tampers or tries to tamper with voting machines in the state.

According to Raffensperger’s office, anyone convicted of attempting to interfere with a voting machine — a felony in Georgia— faces between one and 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 penalty.

“Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and those who attempt to interfere with that fundamental right should be subject to higher penalties,” Raffensperger, a Republican, said in a Monday statement. “A felony with a short sentence or small fine is not sufficient justice for those who attempt to interfere with our democracy.

“I believe our equipment is critical infrastructure and should be treated that way,” Raffensperger added. “It is time for the Legislature to update the penalties to a $1 million fine and a minimum of 10 years in jail associated with crimes against elections. Extremist groups that seek to invalidate the security of our elections should face serious legal consequences for their actions. Groups that attempt to gain illegal access or give illegal access to voting machines should be subject to high fines and minimum jail time.”

Raffensperger has drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump and some Republicans for his response to the 2020 election. Since the election, Raffensperger has sought to portray the state and its election approach as “a national leader in elections.”

Last week, the State Election Board dismissed a lingering case from the 2020 election. In wrapping the long-running investigation into allegations against the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections, the board concluded that accusations against two election workers were unsubstantiated.

Additionally, the Georgia Republican Party has raised concerns about a 2021 report by Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer science and engineering professor. According to the state party, the report, filed as part of a federal lawsuit over the state’s voting system and recently unsealed, uncovered vulnerabilities.

“Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are rightly dismayed that no attempt is being made to address the vulnerabilities identified by the report before the 2024 Presidential Election,” Josh McKoon, the party’s chairman, said in a statement last week. “Given the breach of confidence in recent election cycles, plagued with irregularities, now more than ever Georgians deserve to know their votes are secure.”

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