A federal choose on Thursday ordered the state of Georgia to cease utilizing paperless touchscreen voting machines forward of the 2020 election, citing safety issues.
In a 153-page ruling, U.S. District Decide Amy Totenberg mentioned that hand-marked paper ballots should be used if a brand new system isn’t in place by subsequent yr’s presidential primaries.
Election integrity advocates argued in a 2017 lawsuit that paperless touchscreen voting machines in use since 2002 have been weak to hacking and couldn’t be audited.
Nonetheless, in a choice issued final yr, Totenberg decided that switching to a paper poll system for the 2018 and 2019 elections would have proved to be too sophisticated logistically.
The older machines have been described by the choose as “unsecure, unreliable and grossly outdated expertise,” and will probably be used one final time in 2019 for the statewide municipal and county elections scheduled for November.
“The Courtroom stays involved, primarily based upon everything of the document proof, concerning the State’s capability to handle a transition to paper ballots for the 2019 elections whereas overseeing and present process a simultaneous transition to the newly enacted voting system throughout this time,” Totenberg wrote in her order on Thursday.
In late July, Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger introduced the state’s new elections vendor will probably be Dominion Voting Techniques. The newer touchscreen machines will print a paper poll that features a abstract of the voter’s choice plus a QR code that’s scanned and saved. The system will probably be in place by the point the presidential major rolls round in March 2020.
The integrity of Georgia’s voting system got here into query final yr in the course of the midterm elections. Republican Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state and the state’s chief elections officer, narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams within the gubernatorial race, which was plagued with voting points.
Not solely did Kemp, as secretary of state, oversee that election — a transparent battle of curiosity — however he additionally oversaw a significant voter roll purge, which led to tens of 1000’s of residents dropping their proper to vote forward of the election, for inconsequential causes. The transfer was seen by critics as a option to disenfranchise a big bloc of principally minority voters.
Abrams has spent the vast majority of her post-election profession devoted to voting rights and election safety within the state.