Federal Judge Bans Paperless Voting Machines in Georgia for 2020 Elections

August 15, 2019 by Dan McCue

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Georgia to stop using its “unsecure … and grossly outdated” voting machines after this year and to have hand-marked paper ballots at the ready if new, more secure machines aren’t in place by the state’s presidential primary.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s 153-page ruling allows 310 local elections planned for this fall to go forward using the state’s 17-year-old voting machines, despite her concern that “the threat of election interference has only grown” since the plaintiffs in the underlying case filed their lawsuit.

The plaintiffs, which include election integrity organizations and individual Georgia voters, argued that the paper touch screen voting machines Georgia has relied on since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking, tampering and malfunctions, undermining fundamental voting rights.

They were hoping Judge Totenberg would immediately ban the old machines and make the use of hand-marked paper ballots mandatory in all 159 of Georgia’s counties.

But the judge noted the Georgia legislature has approved specifications for a new voting system, and that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has committed to spending $107 million to upgrade the state’s voting system in time for its presidential primary election on March 24.

The new equipment will include paper ballots along with touchscreen voting machines.

She also partly sided with lawyers for the defendants, which included state and local election officials, who argued it would be too costly and burdensome to use an interim system for elections this fall and then switch to the new permanent system next year.

Totenberg said using hand-marked paper ballots was at least feasible for the special and municipal elections that will be held in Georgia this year, but she expressed reservations about the state’s ability to manage an interim system while also trying to transition to a new one.

Georgia’s voting system has been under a microscope since Republican Brian Kemp, then the state’s top election official, narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to become governor during last year’s midterm election.

Election officials said there’s no evidence that the state’s voting system has ever been compromised, and they said the transition to a new voting system purchased from Dominion Voting Systems, the nation’s second-largest elections machine company, should satisfy concerns about election security going forward.

Voting

Trump, Battered In New Poll, Says 'Love Me Or Hate Me' You Have to Vote For Me Political News
Trump, Battered In New Poll, Says 'Love Me Or Hate Me' You Have to Vote For Me
August 16, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - With polls suggesting his disapproval rating is near an all-time high, President Donald Trump told attendees at a boisterous New Hampshire campaign rally Thursday night they had to vote for him "whether you love me or hate me." A Fox News survey on Wednesday... Read More

States Struggle To Update Election Systems Ahead of 2020 Elections
States Struggle To Update Election Systems Ahead of 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. states operating outdated and insecure voting machines face major hurdles in protecting them in time for the 2020 presidential election, officials said at a meeting of elections experts. Budgets are strained, decision-making authority is diffused and standards put in place years ago haven’t... Read More

Federal Judge Bans Paperless Voting Machines in Georgia for 2020 Elections Voting
Federal Judge Bans Paperless Voting Machines in Georgia for 2020 Elections
August 15, 2019
by Dan McCue

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Georgia to stop using its "unsecure ... and grossly outdated" voting machines after this year and to have hand-marked paper ballots at the ready if new, more secure machines aren't in place by the state's presidential primary. U.S. District Judge... Read More

Stacey Abrams Launches National Expansion of Voting Rights Group Political News
Stacey Abrams Launches National Expansion of Voting Rights Group

LAS VEGAS — Before a convention hall packed with left-leaning union members, Stacey Abrams unveiled a plan Tuesday to expand her Georgia-based voting rights group across the nation by training staffers in 20 competitive states to protect against threats of voter suppression. The program, Fair Fight... Read More

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Bipartisan Bid For Redistricting Commission State News
New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Bipartisan Bid For Redistricting Commission
August 13, 2019
by Dan McCue

New Hampshire's Republican governor, Chris Sununu vetoed a bipartisan bill Friday that would have created an independent redistricting commission to draw the state's legislative and congressional district maps following the 2020 elections. In a letter explaining his veto, Sununu said he believes issues related to partisan... Read More

Trump’s New Hard-Line Immigration Rule at Odds With Independent Voters’ Views Immigration
Trump’s New Hard-Line Immigration Rule at Odds With Independent Voters’ Views

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday again answered a chorus of criticism by pivoting to a hard-line immigration policy, even though it could drive away independent voters in key battleground states. With the commander in chief on his third full day of a 10-day “working... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top