A judge directed Alabama election officials Monday afternoon to preserve all digital ballot images in Tuesday’s hotly contested U.S. Senate special election. An order granting a preliminary injunction was filed at 1:36 p.m. Monday – less than 24 hours before voting is to begin. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of four Alabama voters who argued that the state is required to maintain the images under state and federal law. “All counties employing digital ballot scanners in the Dec. 12, 2017 election are hereby ordered to set their voting machines to save all processed images in order to preserve all digital ballot images,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge Roman Ashley Shaul wrote in the order.
Priscilla Duncan, attorney for the plaintiffs, applauded the order. “[The images] need to be preserved at least six months under the statute,” Duncan told AL.com Monday afternoon. “They are being told at this point to preserve all digital ballot records.”
Reached by phone shortly after the injunction was issued Monday, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill declined to comment. Merrill and Ed Packard, the state administrator of elections, are the two defendants named in the suit filed Thursday.