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A federal judge on Thursday ordered Georgia to stop using its “unsecure … and grossly outdated” voting machines after this year and to have hand-marked paper ballots at the ready if new, more secure machines aren’t in place by the state’s presidential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

Former FEC Chairs Offer Bipartisan Endorsement of For The People Act
Elections
Former FEC Chairs Offer Bipartisan Endorsement of For The People Act
February 23, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Two former chairs of the Federal Elections Commission -- one a Democrat, the other a Republican -- have thrown their support behind the election reform provisions of the For the People Act. In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate, Trevor... Read More

Election Commission Plans for More Secure Votes and Elections
Elections
Election Commission Plans for More Secure Votes and Elections
February 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A federal election official described the 2020 vote as one of the most difficult in American history during a congressional hearing Monday. The COVID-19 pandemic, reports of attempted foreign cyberattacks and allegations of fraud by President Donald Trump and his supporters played havoc with... Read More

GOP Lawmakers Seek Tougher Voting Rules after Record Turnout
State News
GOP Lawmakers Seek Tougher Voting Rules after Record Turnout

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican lawmakers in statehouses across the country are moving swiftly to attack some of the voting methods that fueled the highest turnout for a presidential election in 50 years. Although most legislative sessions are just getting underway, the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute,... Read More

Voting Machine Company Sues Giuliani for Defamation
Litigation
Voting Machine Company Sues Giuliani for Defamation
January 26, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Another Trump administration lawyer was hit with a billion-dollar plus lawsuit for defamation Monday after he alleged the company that supplied the voting machines in the 2020 presidential election was implicated in fraud. This time the defendant is Rudolph W. Giuliani, former New York... Read More

USPS Says it Delivered More than 136 Million Ballots During the 2020 Election Cycle
Postal Service
USPS Says it Delivered More than 136 Million Ballots During the 2020 Election Cycle
January 22, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - More than 136 million ballots passed through U.S. Postal Service facilities and were delivered to state election officials during the 2020 election cycle, a new report from the USPS says. The data includes mail-in ballots sent in by voters in the Georgia Senate Run-off... Read More

Intervention to Encourage Voting by Mail Worked, Researchers Say
2020 Elections
Intervention to Encourage Voting by Mail Worked, Researchers Say
January 19, 2021
by Dan McCue

Pennsylvania voters who received a postcard encouraging them to vote by mail in the state's June 2 primary were more likely to request a ballot and successfully cast it than voters who did not receive the reminder, a University of Pennsylvania study found. Pennsylvania was one... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top