Secretary of State, Election Board to Appeal Paper Ballot Ruling

State officials are appealing the ruling, arguing the suit should be dismissed because they are immune from liability.

Even though Totenberg rejected the emergency paper ballot petition, she also held that four Georgia voters and a Colorado-based coalition seeking a return to paper ballots have demonstrated a likelihood that some of their claims will succeed on the merits.

The judge said the plaintiffs demonstrated the state’s “continued reliance on the use of [computer] voting machines in public elections likely results in a debasement or dilution of the weight of plaintiffs’ votes, even if such conduct does not completely deny plaintiffs the right to vote.”

Kemp, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket, and election board members will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta to overturn Totenberg’s refusal to dismiss the case and her ruling that state election officials are not entitled to immunity in this instance.

Salter is defending Kemp and elections board members with law partner and former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes.

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Read the Ruling: Judge Amy Totenberg's Federal Ruling on Preliminary Injunction for Statewide Paper Ballots by November

There are no easy answers to the conflicts posed here. In a democracy, citizens want to be assured of the integrity of the voting process, that their ballots are properly counted and not diluted by inaccurate or manipulated counting, and that the privacy of their votes and personal information required for voter registration is maintained.

As stated above, the Court finds that the Coalition Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that the State Defendants play a significant role in the continued use and security of DREs, and therefore the requested injunction would help redress some of the Coalition Plaintiffs’ injury. The Secretary of State both has the authority and obligation to investigate complaints regarding the accuracy and safety of the DRE voting system and to take appropriate corrective action in connection with the continued use of the DRE system. O.C.G.A. § 21-2-379.2.



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Judge Orders "Re-Run" of Georgia House District 28 Primary Election Due to Illegal Votes

“It’s the court’s view that a new election will have to be held so that people will have confidence in the results,” Sweat said in handing down his ruling.

Voters in Habersham, Banks, and Stephens counties will head back to the polls on December 4th to decide who’ll be their next state representative. During a court hearing Wednesday in Banks County, Senior Judge David Sweat set the date and conditions for a primary “re-run” between incumbent Rep. Dan Gasaway and challenger Chris Erwin.

The Evidence

When Rep. Gasaway contested the election results and filed a lawsuit back in June, Habersham County joined with other defendants in trying to dismiss the case. Three months later, on Aug. 29, the county did a complete turnaround. Habersham County admitted 70 votes were illegally cast in the May 22nd primary by Republican voters assigned to the wrong State House districts.

Habersham County Board of Elections Supervisor Laurel Ellison testified in court there were 37 Republicans who voted in the House District 10 primary who should have voted in District 28, and 33 who cast ballots in District 28 who should have voted in House District 10.

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Judge Says Georgia’s “Vulnerable” Voting System May Be Unconstitutional But Can Stay Through Midterms

Late Monday, a federal judge ruled that Georgia’s electronic voting system, which lacks any paper trail, may violate the constitutional rights of Georgia voters. But the judge declined to force the state to switch to paper ballots before the midterm elections, which are less than two months away.

A group of voters and election security experts sued the state last July in hopes of forcing it to replace its old electronic machines with a system that provides a verifiable paper trail. Security experts have warned that the state’s antiquated election system is vulnerable to hacking and manipulation. The worst-case scenario is a hack that alters the result but cannot be detected due to the lack of a paper trail. 

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In Georgia, a legal battle over electronic vs. paper voting

On one side are activists who have sued the state to switch to paper ballots in the November midterm elections to guard against the potential threat of Russian hacking or other foreign interference. On the other is Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who has declared the electronic system secure and contends that moving to paper ballots with less than two months to Election Day will spawn chaos and could undermine confidence among Georgia’s 6.8 million voters.

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Reporter's Notebook: What was said in court case arguing Georgia election security

Atlanta Bureau Chief Ashley Bridges was in oral arguments as attorneys for Secretary Brian Kemp and the Georgia Secretary of State's office fought back against a suit to immediately move to paper ballots due to the insecurity of Georgia's election system.

Federal Court proceedings do not allow recording devices, but here's a rough log of Bridges' "Reporter's Notebook."  Areas that may be of particular interest, or that grew particularly heated.

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Federal Judge to Rule on Midterm Paper Ballots by Monday

Totenberg on Wednesday acknowledged the machine’s susceptibility to hackers. “It’s not a theoretical, paranoid notion at this point,” she said. “We can’t see our vote and what happened to it.”

“To call it paranoia, you don’t deal with it,” she added, “and I suspect we have to deal with it.”

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Fact Check Brian Kemp

SOS False Claim [11]: “ §21-2-381 requires early voting to be on a DRE

FACT: The statute cited as authority by the SOS (§21-2-381) has nothing to do with DREs but is the process for applying for a mail ballot. This is standard operating style for the SOS office, playing fast and loose with citing law to end discussions, knowing that most citizens won’t fact check them. In order to defend DRE use, on September 22, 2017 Harvey testified to the Georgia House Committee on Science and Technology that Georgia Code section 21-2-397 mandated DRE use.  There is no code section 21-2-397. Secretary Kemp is recently on record falsely claiming as well that the statutes mandate DREs. They resort to inventing statutes that don’t exist to defend their stance for un-auditable balloting.  

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Marilyn Marks
Frozen machines, 243-percent turnout, and other woes in Georgia voting

With worn-out clichés about the dead voting, Chicago used to be the poster child for voter fraud. But if any state is a poster child for terrible election practices, it is surely Georgia. Bold claims demand bold evidence, and unfortunately there's plenty; on Monday, McClatchy reported a string of irregularities from the state's primary election in May, including one precinct with a 243-percent turnout.

Multiple sworn statements from voters describe how they turned up at their polling stations only to be turned away or directed to other precincts. Even more statements allege incorrect ballots, frozen voting machines, and other issues.

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Could Georgia Have Paper Ballots By November? Look To Virginia

A federal judge wants to know what it would take to shift Georgia to a paper ballot voting system in the three months before the November election. A former Virginia election official says it’s possible.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ordered the Georgia secretary of state’s office, among others, to look into the “concrete realities” of moving to a paper ballot election in a time crunch. The move is in response to a lawsuit, filed in July by a group of election integrity activists, meant to stop Georgia from using electronic voting machines that have no paper backup.

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Bizarre tales, confusing ballots from Georgia’s primary contained in federal lawsuit

It appeared, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, that Habersham County’s Mud Creek precinct in northeastern Georgia had 276 registered voters ahead of the state’s primary elections in May.

Some 670 ballots were cast, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office, indicating a 243 percent turnout.

But on Tuesday at 10 a.m., the number of registered voters on the secretary of state’s website was changed for Mud Creek to 3,704 registered voters, reflecting a more likely turnout of about 18 percent.

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