Georgia election officials are appealing a federal judge’s decision to allow voters to continue a challenge to the state’s practice of relying solely on electronic voting machines in its elections. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp filed a notice of appeal Tuesday evening after U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled the Coalition for Good Governance had validly stated a claim that the machines used in the state’s election are vulnerable to hacking. The group, representing voters across the state, had hoped Totenberg would issue a preliminary injunction and order the state to use paper ballots during the November midterm election. Totenberg declined to do so due to the lack of time to get the new system in place before November 6.
Articles about voting issues in Georgia.
Georgia won’t be required to make a last-minute switch to paper ballots for the November midterm elections, but a federal judge still sent a strong message to election officials that she saw significant flaws with the state’s “dated, vulnerable” voting system. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg on Monday denied a motion by a group of voters seeking to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp and county election offices to stop using direct recording electronic voting machines, or DREs, for anyone other than people with disabilities in 2018. DREs use reprogrammable, removable memory cards vulnerable to hackers and don’t produce an independent paper audit trail. In her order, Totenberg noted that during recent testimony she heard from both county and state officials that the logistics of moving to a paper ballot with early voting coming next month would create chaos for voters. But the judge also emphasized that she “advises the Defendants that further delay is not tolerable in their confronting of and tackling the challenges before the State’s election balloting system.”
A judge said he will order a Georgia Legislature district to redo a primary election between two Republicans because errors in voter data called the results into question. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Dan Gasaway that challenged the legitimacy of the election he lost by 67 votes to businessman Chris Erwin in May. Following his loss, Gasaway personally examined voter rolls and determined that “cross-contamination” in his district’s voter information had led to at least 67 people voting in the wrong district, according to his lawsuit.
Georgia: This Judge Just Cast More Doubt on Elections Security Right Before Midterms | InsideSources
Right before midterms, a United States District Court judge found that Georgia’s electronic voting machines are extremely vulnerable to hacking and foreign meddling — including from Russia — but ruled against changing the state’s elections systems to avoid voter confusion and chaos. But by simply highlighting the vulnerability of Georgia’s electronic voting machines, the judge may have already undermined voter confidence just weeks before the midterms. The new ruling from Judge Amy Totenberg in Curling v. Kemp found that Georgia’s electronic voting machines are so easily hacked that it is irresponsible for a locality or state to use them without a paper audit trail. Georgia’s machines do not have paper audit trails. Totenberg admonished the state of Georgia for not properly addressing election security issues in time for the 2018 midterm elections, reminding them that “2020 elections are around the corner” and that “if a new balloting system is to be launched in Georgia in an effective manner, it should address democracy’s critical need for transparent, fair, accurate, and verifiable election processes that guarantee each citizen’s fundamental right to cast an accountable vote.”
As Georgia’s top elections official runs for governor, a federal judge said the state has stalled too long in the face of “a mounting tide of evidence of the inadequacy and security risks” of its voting system. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, is in the midst of a closely watched race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state House minority leader who’s trying to become the country’s first black, female governor. He has repeatedly insisted that Georgia’s current voting system is secure. Voting integrity advocates sued last year, arguing that the touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and provide no way to confirm that votes have been recorded correctly because there’s no paper trail. They sought an immediate change to paper ballots for the midterm elections while the case is pending. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg declined to grant that request Monday, saying that although voting integrity advocates have demonstrated “the threat of real harms to their constitutional interests,” she worried about the “massive scrambling” required for a last-minute change to paper ballots. Early voting starts Oct. 15 for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
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.
A federal judge ruled Monday that forcing Georgia to scrap its electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots for the upcoming midterm elections is too risky, though she said she has grave concerns about the machines that experts have said are vulnerable to hacking. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s ruling means the state won’t have to use paper ballots for this year’s midterm elections, including a high-profile gubernatorial contest between the state’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state House minority leader who’s trying to become the country’s first black, female governor. Voting integrity advocates and Georgia voters sued state and county election officials, arguing the touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and provide no way to confirm that votes have been recorded correctly because there’s no paper trail.
WJBF 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. Attorneys referenced below for the Plaintiff’s filing the case are Cross, Macguire and Brown. \Attorneys for Kemp and the Secretary of State are former Governor Roy Barnes and his son-in-law John Salter. (A political twist that surprised many when Democrat Barnes took the case, instead of Georgia’s own attorney general) Totenberg is the judge.
Plaintiffs: Present a just-released National Academy of Sciences report claiming, “Every effort should be made to use human-readable paper ballots in the 2018 election.”
Salter for Secretary of State: Claimed Kemp believes that the election can be “safely and accurately” conducted and Plaintiffs want judge to “rule to make this elephant have wings and fly”
Totenberg: “The reality is times change and we’re in a rapidly changing time”
Logan Lamb, a cybersecurity sleuth, thought he was conducting an innocuous Google search to pull up information on Georgia’s centralized system for conducting elections. He was taken aback when the query turned up a file with a list of voters and then alarmed when a subsequent simple data pull retrieved the birth dates, drivers’ license numbers and partial Social Security numbers of more than 6 million voters, as well as county election supervisors’ passwords for use on Election Day. He also discovered the server had a software flaw that an attacker could exploit to take control of the machine. The unsecured server that Lamb exposed in August 2016 is part of an election system — the only one in the country that is centrally run and relies upon computerized touch-screen machines for its voters — that is now at the heart of a legal and political battle with national security implications. 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.
A federal judge who’s considering whether Georgia should have to switch from electronic voting machines to paper ballots for the November election called the situation “a catch-22.” Voting integrity groups and individuals sued state and county election officials, arguing that the touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and provide no way to confirm that votes have been recorded correctly because they don’t produce a paper trail. They’ve asked U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg to order Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, to implement the use of paper ballots for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.