An effort to have the federal Department of Homeland Security conduct a cyber-security threat assessment of Shelby County’s touchscreen voting machines and a have a special master review the county’s voting system has been denied in Memphis Federal Court. The temporary restraining order seeking those measures was sought by the group Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections – or SAVE – before the Oct. 17 start of early voting in advance of the Nov. 6 election day. The request was part of a larger lawsuit still pending before U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker that seeks to bar the use of the touchscreen voting machines after the November election. “Although the law recognizes the voters’ rights can be impaired any number of ways, to be actionable under due process, the system must be fundamentally unfair,” Parker wrote in the Oct. 24 ruling, adding SAVE has not shown that.
“They have no convincing evidence verifying their claims of disenfranchisement as a result of the voting system in place,” he wrote. “Instead they argue that, without paper verification for every vote, it is possible that the votes are not being accurately recorded or cast at all.”
In seeking the order, attorney Carol Chumney, representing SAVE, argued the touchscreen machines now in use “create no verifiable record of voter intent, paper ballot or paper verification of the votes cast, unlike optical scanner components that rely on a voter-marked paper ballot as a verifiable official record.”