Georgia

Articles about voting issues in Georgia.

Georgia: Bill seeks switch to ballot-marking devices for Georgia elections | Atlanta Journal Constitution

A broad elections bill introduced Thursday would replace Georgia’s electronic voting system with touchscreens that print ballots before they’re counted. The printed ballots would create a paper trail to check the accuracy of election results. Georgia’s current direct-recording electronic voting machines lack a paper backup. The legislation, House Bill 316, follows the recommendations of a voting commission created by Gov. Brian Kemp last year when he was secretary of state. The commission favored the touchscreens, called ballot-marking devices, over paper ballots filled out with a pen or pencil. Election integrity advocates say paper ballots filled out by hand are more secure, but supporters of ballot-marking devices say they’re easier to use and more likely to accurately record votes. Ballot-marking devices print ballots that are then counted by optical scanning machines.

Georgia: Voting irregularities raise more troubling questions about the state’s elections | Politico

Lawsuits, complaints about lax security and accusations of voter suppression marred Georgia’s election for governor in November. But the state’s race for lieutenant governor had its own trouble, Democrats and election security advocates say. The contest between Republican Geoff Duncan and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico drew far less national attention than the marquee governor’s race in which GOP candidate Brian Kemp narrowly defeated Stacey Abrams. But plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state say abnormalities in the lieutenant governor’s election raise questions about Duncan’s victory — and potentially about the outcome of other races on the ballot if the state’s electronic voting machines were to blame. In addition to the lawsuit, Amico asked the state to investigate irregularities in the election. The problem: Georgians cast nearly 4 million ballots on Election Day, but about 160,000 of them showed no vote cast in the lieutenant governor race, about 4.3 percent of ballots. To election experts, this so-called “undervote” rate — when a race is left blank — is evidence either that Georgia voters were unusually apathetic about their lieutenant governor, or that something went wrong.

Full Article: Georgia voting irregularities raise more troubling questions about the state’s elections - POLITICO.

Georgia: New Analysis Suggests Link Between Race And Odd Vote Count In Georgia’s 2018 Midterms | WABE

A new data analysis suggests the sharp drop in votes in the lieutenant governor’s election last year may be connected to the race of voters. The finding raised more questions about the results of the down-ballot contest in which Republican Geoff Duncan handily defeated Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico. Compared to the governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, about 160,000 fewer votes were cast in the lieutenant governor’s contest, while just 82,000 fewer votes were cast in the attorney general’s contest.

Full Article: New Analysis Suggests Link Between Race And Odd Vote Count In Georgia’s 2018 Midterms | 90.1 FM WABE.

Georgia: US appeals court ruling allows paper ballots lawsuit to move ahead | Atlanta Journal Constitution

A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a judge’s ruling that said Georgia’s electronic voting system poses a “concrete risk” to secure elections. The decision from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows the voting system lawsuit to move forward. The plaintiffs, who are election integrity advocates and concerned voters, want U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg to switch Georgia’s statewide voting system to hand-marked paper ballots. Totenberg ruled in September that the plaintiffs will likely succeed in the lawsuit, but she denied their request to immediately switch to paper ballots so close to November’s midterm elections. “Now we can get past the defendants’ delays and move forward with the case on the merits and get the relief Judge Totenberg already ruled we’re entitled to,” said David Cross, an attorney for Georgia voters who sued. “This appeal was meritless from the start.”

Full Article: US appeals court ruling allows paper ballots lawsuit to move ahead.

Georgia: Appeals Court: Georgia ‘Paper Ballot’ Lawsuit Can Continue | NPR

A federal appeals court says a lawsuit over the state’s outdated election system can continue. The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday that said that it did not have the jurisdiciton to hear the state’s assertion the two groups of plaintiffs had standing to file suit, and that the state was not immune from being sued in this particular case. In September, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg denied a preliminary injunction that would have moved the state’s 159 counties to hand-marked paper ballots ahead of the Nov. 6 general election, and also denied the state’s request to dismiss the suit. In October, Totenberg issued a stay in the proceedings pending the appeal to the 11th Circuit.

Georgia: Botched election for Georgia House must be redone yet again | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A judge on Friday ordered a rare second do-over election for a northeast Georgia House seat, finding that four voters didn’t live in the district, throwing its outcome into doubt. The new election means that voters will return to the polls for a third time to decide between Republicans Dan Gasaway and Chris Erwin. Erwin appeared to win the first redo of the election in December by just two votes, but Senior Superior Court Judge David Sweat decided Friday that four voters had moved out of House District 28 more than 30 days before the election. Because the contest was so close, the judge found that the four improper votes justified a new election. “If you’re in an election, you should want to win it legally. We all should,” Gasaway said. “I don’t know that I’ll win, but if I win I want it to be a legal election, and if I lose I want it to be a legal election.”

Full Article: Judge orders second redo of Georgia House election..

Georgia: Stacey Abrams to Take to Georgia Airwaves During Super Bowl Calling for Hand-Marked Paper Ballots | Associated Press

Before Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams delivers her party’s rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, she’ll take her voting rights campaign to the airwaves during the Super Bowl. Abrams’ political group, Fair Fight, has bought airtime on Georgia affiliates during Sunday’s NFL broadcast so the Atlanta Democrat can push for election law changes. Abrams narrowly lost her November bid to become the first black woman to be elected governor, in a contest marred by disputes over ballot access and integrity. But she is still a rising star among national Democrats and is their top choice to run for a Georgia Senate seat in 2020. In the Super Bowl ad, Abrams appears alongside a white Republican county commissioner from north Georgia. They call for hand-marked paper ballots to replace Georgia’s touch-screen voting system. “We don’t agree on everything,” says the Republican, Natalie Crawford. “But we love Georgia,” Abrams says, later adding, “Every vote should be counted, from every corner of our state.”

Full Article: Stacey Abrams to Take to Georgia Airwaves During Super Bowl - The New York Times.

Georgia: ES&S’s close ties to election officials stir concerns about voting system purchase | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When Gov. Brian Kemp hired an election company’s lobbyist this month, the move raised alarm bells about one company’s influence on Georgia’s upcoming purchase of a new statewide voting system. Concerns from government accountability advocates only grew days later, when a commission created by Kemp recommended that the state buy the type of voting machines sold by the lobbyist’s company, Election Systems & Software. Several other vendors also offer similar voting machines. Then Kemp proposed spending $150 million on a new statewide voting system, an amount that matches estimates for the cost of the system promoted by ES&S, called ballot-marking devices, which use a combination of touchscreens and ballot printers. The latest moves fueled suspicions that cozy connections between lobbyists, Kemp and other elected officials will lead to ES&S winning a rich contract to sell its computerized voting products to the state government, even though 55 percent of Georgia voters said in a poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this month that they prefer a cheaper system where paper ballots are filled in by voters.

Full Article: Advocates question election company's links to Georgia officials.

Georgia: State Election Officials Defends Use of Hack-Prone Voting Machines at 11th Circuit | Courthouse News

The battle over how Georgia voters cast their ballots continued Wednesday in the 11th Circuit as attorneys for state election officials asked a three-judge panel to reject a lawsuit claiming the integrity of state elections is compromised by electronic voting machines. Last September, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg denied the Coalition for Good Governance’s request for an emergency preliminary injunction which would have forced Georgia voters to switch to paper ballots, ruling that the state could use its direct-recording electronic voting machines in the November midterm election. Totenberg acknowledged that the state’s 27,000 DRE voting machines are susceptible to “malicious intrusion,” but found that there were significant “fiscal, organizational and practical impediments” associated with orchestrating a large-scale change to the state’s voting systems just weeks before early voting was scheduled to begin. In the ruling, Totenberg advised state election officials to be prepared to switch to a more secure system by 2020, acknowledging warnings from cyber security experts who say that Georgia’s DRE machines are particularly vulnerable to hacking because they lack a physical paper-trail backup.

Full Article: Georgia Defends Use of Hack-Prone Voting Machines at 11th Circuit.

Georgia: Election officials asks judge to toss suit challenging election system | Associated Press

Georgia election officials on Monday asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by an organization backed by unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams that challenges the way the state’s elections are run. Lawyers for recently sworn-in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is the state’s top elections official, and election board members said in a motion to dismiss that the lawsuit fails to bring valid claims. They also argue that state officials are not responsible for any of the harm alleged and are immune from such suits. The lawsuit was filed by Fair Fight Action, a group associated with Abrams and staffed by some of her former campaign workers. In a speech ending her bid for governor 10 days after the November midterm election, Abrams promised a lawsuit against the state “for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”

Full Article: Georgia asks judge to toss suit challenging election system | National | dailyjournalonline.com.

Georgia: Secretary of State seeks to replace criticized voting machines | Associated Press

Georgia’s new elections chief asked lawmakers Wednesday for $150 million to replace the state’s outdated electronic voting machines. In doing so, he all but closed the door on a hand-marked paper balloting system that experts say is cheapest and most secure. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Georgia legislators meeting for budget hearings that a new voting system is his top priority. Cybersecurity experts and voting integrity activists say the touch-screen machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and can’t be audited effectively because they produce no verifiable paper record. The current machines and Georgia’s registration practices became the subject of national criticism during last year’s governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp served as secretary of state and refused calls to resign from overseeing his own election. He stepped down two days postelection after declaring himself the winner.

Full Article: Georgia SOS seeks to replace criticized voting machines.

Georgia: Suit dismissed that challenged results of lieutenant governor race | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Cobb County Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed a case contesting the election of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. Senior Judge Adele Grubbs said while she “respected” the argument there may be some issues with the entire voting system, the plaintiffs did not prove specific problems with the recording of ballots in the lieutenant governor’s race that would alter the outcome of the election. The plaintiffs in the case said they plan to appeal. Attorneys for the plaintiffs tried to prove that a drop-off in votes cast in the lieutenant governor’s race indicated the election between Duncan, a Republican, and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico was caused by malfunctioning voting machines. Duncan won by more than 123,000 votes.

Full Article: Suit dismissed that challenged results of Georgia lt. gov race.

Georgia: Watchdog says Georgia Voting Machine Commission Recommended “Unsafe Voting Systems” | AllOnGeorgia

The final report expected this week from Brian Kemp’s Secure, Accurate and Fair Elections (SAFE) commission will recommend voting systems that experts deem unsafe. The report will recommend electronic ballot markers over hand marked paper ballots including ballot markers that embed hidden unverifiable votes in digital bar codes for tabulation. Such systems were strongly discouraged as security risks by computer scientists, Election Integrity advocates, public speakers at all commission meetings and even the commission’s own cyber security expert.

Full Article: Watchdog says Georgia Voting Machine Commission Recommended "Unsafe Voting Systems" - AllOnGeorgia.

Georgia: General Assembly will consider changes to election laws | Atlanta Journal Constitution

Along with a new Georgia election system, a government panel is also proposing changes to state laws intended to make voting easier and more accurate. The panel, appointed by Gov.-elect Brian Kemp last summer, voted Thursday to recommend that the General Assembly revise how the state handles recounts, absentee ballots and election audits.

Full Article: Georgia General Assembly will consider changes to election laws.

Georgia: Panel backs new voting machines over hand-marked paper ballots | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A panel formed by Gov.-elect Brian Kemp voted Thursday to replace Georgia’s electronic voting machines with a computerized system that prints paper ballots, despite opposition from a crowd of voters who said paper ballots filled out by hand are more secure and less expensive. The endorsement of ballot printers over hand-marked paper ballots will carry weight with the Georgia General Assembly when it considers buying a new statewide voting system during this year’s legislative session, which begins Monday. The Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission voted 13-3 to recommend a voting system with touchscreens and printers, called ballot-marking devices, that would cost taxpayers well over $100 million. A system using paper ballots bubbled in with a pen would cost around $30 million. The vote came the same week Kemp announced he was hiring former state Rep. Chuck Harper, a lobbyist for the state’s current election vendor, Election Systems & Software, as his deputy chief of staff. The company sells the same kind of voting system that the commission recommended. … Except for election officials and lobbyists, every voter who made public comments Thursday supported hand-marked paper ballots. County election supervisors backed ballot-marking devices, saying they’re similar to the touchscreens that voters are accustomed to.

Full Article: Commission backs new voting system to replace Georgia's machines.

Georgia: Commission recommends machine-marked ballots for Georgia | Associated Press

After Georgia’s 2018 elections focused stinging criticism on the state’s outdated election system, a study commission voted Thursday to recommend the use of machines that record votes and print a record. Members of the panel tasked with considering a potential replacement chose that option over hand-marked paper ballots favored by cybersecurity experts. The Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections, or SAFE, Commission voted 13-3 for a draft of a report to be sent to lawmakers, who are expected to decide on criteria for a new system during the legislative session that begins Monday. The commission includes lawmakers, political party representatives, voters and election officials. … Verified Voting, a nonprofit group that advocates ensuring the accuracy of elections, last week urged the commission to recommend hand-marked paper ballots. “A paper ballot that is indelibly marked by hand and physically secured from the moment of casting is the most reliable record of voter intent,” president Marian Schneider wrote in a Jan. 4 letter. “A hand-marked paper ballot is the only kind of record not vulnerable to software errors, configuration errors, or hacking.”

Full Article: Commission recommends machine-marked ballots for Georgia - ABC News.

Georgia: Hearing set in challenge to lieutenant governor’s election | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Cobb County judge will hold a hearing Thursday in a lawsuit challenging the election of Lt. Gov.-elect Geoff Duncan. The case alleges that a drop-off in votes for lieutenant governor indicates the election between Duncan, a Republican, and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico was flawed and should be redone. Duncan won by more than 123,000 votes. While it’s not unusual for voters to skip down-ballot races, the lawsuit raises suspicions about potential irregularities in the lieutenant governor’s election. The suit, filed Nov. 23 by an election integrity advocacy group and three voters, blames the state’s 16-year-old direct-recording electronic voting system. About 80,000 fewer votes were counted in the lieutenant governor’s race than the average of ballots recorded in 10 statewide contests in the Nov. 6 election.

Full Article: Hearing set in challenge to Georgia lieutenant gov's election.

Georgia: SAFE Commission recommends new voting machines, meeting to wrap up Thursday | Rome News Tribune

A state committee charged with recommending changes to Georgia’s voting machines is slated to hold its final meeting Thursday in Atlanta. The Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections Commission plans to take a final round of public comment before discussing recommendations that have come out of three meetings with voting rights advocates, cybersecurity experts, elections officials and vendors. Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome, said he expects action during the 2019 Georgia General Assembly session that starts Monday. Lumsden said he’s looked at the voting machine options being proposed, but he’s waiting for committee hearings in the Legislature to decide where he stands.

Full Article: SAFE Commission recommends new voting machines, meeting to wrap up Thursday | Local News | northwestgeorgianews.com.

Georgia: Lawmakers prepare for fight over switch to paper ballots | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Battles over election integrity that helped define Georgia’s race for governor will play out at the Capitol this year, when state legislators plan to replace the state’s 27,000 electronic voting machines and review voting access laws. The multimillion-dollar purchase of a more secure statewide voting system is a priority for this year’s legislative session, which starts Monday. Legislators generally agree that the state should start using paper ballots to replace the all-digital touchscreen system in place since 2002, but they strongly differ over what kind of paper-based system to buy. Intense debates over voter disenfranchisement are also certain to arise. A bill has already been filed to curb mass voter registration cancellations, and other measures could address ballot cancellations, voting hours, early voting times, precinct closures and district boundaries.

Full Article: Elections and paper voting debated by Georgia legislators.

Georgia: Will Georgia Double Down on Non-Transparent, Vulnerable Election Machines? | WhoWhatWhy

How could Georgia make its current voting system worse? Officials seem to have found a way. Even before the 2018 midterm election, the Peach State had achieved notoriety based on, among other things, its use of hackable paperless voting machines. Paperless voting machines are considered an especially attractive target for hackers and corrupt insiders because they provide no independent paper record of voter intent that can be used to determine whether electronic tallies are legitimate. Thus, Georgia is one of just a handful of states that still exclusively use such paperless machines. The good news is that Georgia, which was the first state in the country to deploy paperless machines statewide, has finally decided to replace these machines. But Georgia’s newly elected Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger (R), hopes to replace them not with hand-marked paper ballots and scanners (as virtually all independent cybersecurity election experts recommend), but rather with touchscreen ballot-marking devices, a prime example of which is the ExpressVote system from Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S). The ExpressVote is the specific system that Governor-elect Brian Kemp (R) began promoting last year. ES&S is Georgia’s current vendor.

Full Article: Will Georgia Double Down on Non-Transparent, Vulnerable Election Machines? - WhoWhatWhy.