Activists Lose Bid to Replace Georgia Voting System
October 12, 2020
The judge pointed to warnings from the U.S. Supreme Court asking lower courts to use restraint in ordering procedural changes so close to an election.
ATLANTA (CN) — A federal judge on Sunday again rejected voting integrity activists’ efforts to force Georgia election officials to abandon the state’s new touchscreen voting machines in favor of hand-marked paper ballots for the November election in light of security concerns.
For the fourth time since activists brought a 2017 lawsuit challenging the integrity of Georgia’s voting machines, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg refused to order top election officials to replace touchscreen ballot-marking devices with hand-marked paper ballots despite concerns that the voting machines are vulnerable to security risks.
In a 147-page order issued the day before early voting began in the Peach State, Totenberg, a Barack Obama appointee, ruled that a “fundamental modification in the election system” so close to Election Day would overwhelm the secretary of state and county election offices.
“The court has already seen in the record of this case enough election chaos, operational deficiencies, and challenges on all levels, plus stress in the system spiked further by Covid-19 complications, that the court cannot embrace a rosy view of the simplicity of moving to a total, comprehensive paper ballot system with so little time to prepare for such a major transition,” the judge wrote.
However, Totenberg did order election officials to find a way to review ballot images to ensure that voting scanner software isn’t overlooking partially marked ballot ovals. The judge ordered a resolution to be developed and implemented for elections after the January 2021 runoffs for U.S. Senate.
Activists from the Coalition for Good Governance claim that the state’s new $107 million voting system places an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote because voters cannot be sure their vote is accurately counted.