A federal judge ruled Monday that Georgia can continue using electronic voting machines in November’s election despite concerns they could be hacked. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg denied a request for an injunction that would have forced the state’s 6.8 million voters to switch to hand-marked paper ballots. Totenberg made her decision in an ongoing lawsuit from voters and election integrity organizations who say Georgia’s direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines are untrustworthy and insecure. Georgia is one of five states that relies entirely on electronic voting machines without a verifiable paper backup. Her 46-page order Monday said she was concerned about “voter frustration and disaffection from the voting process” if she had prohibited electronic voting machines just weeks before the election. “There is nothing like bureaucratic confusion and long lines to sour a citizen,” Totenberg wrote.
Georgia election officials had warned of chaos if the state were forced to change to paper on short notice before a major election. Early voting begins Oct. 15 for the Nov. 6 election featuring the governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is responsible for elections administration.
Totenberg criticized state election officials, writing that they “had buried their heads in the sand” about the vulnerabilities of Georgia’s voting system.
Election officials said in court last week the government would have struggled to find money to buy enough paper ballots, count them in a timely manner, ensure accuracy and prevent long lines.