Judge allows Georgia to use aging voting system, takes officials to task for lagging behind

A judge ruled Monday night that despite serious questions about election security  Georgia can continue to use its touchscreen voting system in the 2018 election rather than add paper ballots to the mix but issued a scathing rebuke of the state’s usage of such old machinery.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg admonished Georgia officials for sticking their “head in the sand” in the face of evidence that showed the state’s election systems had security holes.

In a court ruling, Judge Richard Leon described the agency’s tactics as "almost Orwellian".
In a court ruling, Judge Richard Leon described the agency’s tactics as "almost Orwellian".

Totenberg said “further delay is not tolerable “ and that “a wound or reasonably threatened wound to the integrity of a state’s election system carries grave consequences beyond the results in any particular election.”

It can, as a result, pierce “citizens’ confidence in the electoral system and discourage voting, she said. 

“Although the court late last night denied our preliminary injunction aimed at securing the midterm elections in Georgia, it found that the current system is critically unsecure and that a new, secure system with a verifiable paper trail is required before the next elections,” said David Cross, a partner with Morrison & Foerster, which filed for the injunction. “The court takes election officials to task for their ‘head in the sand’ approach to the extraordinary threat facing Georgia voters this fall and the little understanding they exhibited about election security.”

Cross noted, “The court emphasizes that our case will move forward expeditiously with discovery in pursuit of a permanent injunction,” but concluded “it’s too late to implement paper ballots this fall (the court noted that the timing of our motion for preliminary injunction was delayed by forces beyond our clients’ control).”

It is ironic that “the ineptitude demonstrated by certain state election officials in this case likely played a significant part in the decision that those officials could not manage a change now,” Cross said. “We will continue the fight for all Georgia voters — and the Court makes clear that while we lost this initial battle, we are on track to win the war for safe, secure, transparent, honest elections in Georgia.”

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