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Federal Court permits use of electronic voting machines in November

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Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg issued an order permitting the November mid-term elections to be conducted using Georgia’s current electronic voting system. The decision came in response to Coalition for Good Governance’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, seeking to sideline the paperless electronic voting machines, and use paper ballots instead.

Attorneys for the Coalition argued the state’s voting machines are unreliable and un-auditable.

“The Secretary of State Kemp, the State Election Board, and the bi-partisan Fulton County Election Board refused to act in response to serious and repeated warnings from Congress, federal agencies, National Academy of Science and scores of expert voting system computer scientists that the paperless system is unfit for conducting public elections,” Executive Director of Coalition for Good Governance, Marilyn Marks.

“Defendants will fail to address that reality if they demean as paranoia the research-based findings of national cybersecurity engineers and experts in the field of elections.” – U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg

The Coalition joined with several Georgia voters to file for the injunction. Marks says the fact that the election is just two months away put the Court in a “difficult position”.

“Although the concerns of a transition to paper ballots are exaggerated, the defendants can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of election day chaos and voter disenfranchisement,” she says.

Cybersecurity concerns a “reality”

In her ruling, Judge Totenberg states, “Advanced persistent threats in this data-driven world and ordinary hacking are unfortunately here to stay. Defendants will fail to address that reality if they demean as paranoia the research-based findings of national cybersecurity engineers and experts in the field of elections.” She concludes, “The 2020 elections are around the corner. If a new balloting system is to be launched in Georgia in an effective manner, it should address democracy’s critical need for transparent, fair, accurate, and verifiable election processes that guarantee each citizen’s fundamental right to cast an accountable vote.”

“Judge Totenberg’s decision is broadly consistent with the positions that the Coalition is taking in the case – particularly the urgent need for Georgia, as soon as feasible, to switch to paper ballots,” says Atlanta attorney for the Coalition Bruce P. Brown, .

The plaintiffs will now seek a ruling to mandate paper ballots for the December 2018 runoff elections.

“Although we were unfortunately unable to obtain preliminary relief in time for this November, we are glad the case can now move forward on the merits,” says lead Coalition attorney Robert A McGuire. “We will continue to press these voting rights claims, and we fully expect to prevail in the end.”

Read Judge Totenberg’s decision here 

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