Atlanta/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on June 20, 2024
Bibb County GOP Leader's Efforts to Challenge Voter Registrations with Eagle AI Tool Rejected by Local BoardSource: Unsplash/ Element5 Digital

During the early voting phase of the May primary in Bibb County, Georgia, David Sumrall, heading the local Republican Party, came forward with an attempt to challenge nearly 800 voter registrations. According to GPB News, Sumrall's efforts were fueled by a controversial data tool known as Eagle AI. His allegations tied to registrations included supposed issues like P.O. Box addresses and what he considered double-registrations.

The hearing, packed with observers, highlighted the ease with which Sumrall, and others like him, can seek to actively remove voters from the rolls, circumventing the traditional processes that were intended to protect against such hasty judgments. Sumrall's data, which he presented to the Bibb County Board of Elections, was met with skepticism, particularly from board member Karen Evans-Daniels who dismissed it with the remark, "Anybody can make a spreadsheet," as per GPB News. The challenges Sumrall presented were ultimately rejected when the board voted down his claims, which led to applause from those in attendance. Their rationale was firmly planted; the evidence Sumrall brought forth failed to convincingly demonstrate grounds for disenfranchising the voters in question.

Eagle AI, developed by Georgia doctor John W. “Rick” Richards Jr., stands at the center of these challenges, representing a streamlined way to aggregate public records into challenge lists. The tool has started to gain traction among certain "election integrity" activists. However, it has equally raised alarm among voting rights advocates who see it as a potential instrument to unjustly purge legitimate voters. Richards has expressed his desire for Eagle AI to access the same datasets utilized by the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a system providing essential data for voter list maintenance and held in higher regard by the state, according to Mike Hassinger, spokesperson for Georgia's secretary of state’s office, as per GPB News.

The implications of widespread adoption of tools like Eagle AI are vast. Marisa Pyle from All Voting is Local warned of the risks, saying, "It's an ouroboros of, sort of, disinformation at this point," emphasizing the vicious cycle that such systems could perpetuate. Further compounding concerns, Florida's director of elections took seriously an Eagle AI-generated list of 10,000 names challenged by "a concerned citizen," indicating a spread of Eagle AI's influence. Back in Georgia, Richards’ home county has already moved towards adopting the use of Eagle AI, pending training and procedural setups. Despite the setbacks in Bibb County, Sumrall's action, enabled by Eagle AI, may just be an early glimpse of the challenges expected in the upcoming election cycle, as the state readies itself for new laws governing the voter challenge process to take effect in July, as reported by GPB News.