SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A federal judge on Thursday made a ruling in the long drawn out court case on Georgia’s election system, specifically the use of electronic voting machines. The ruling says the machines cannot be used after the end of 2019, and if a new system (currently being planned) is not ready by early, 2020 then the state must use paper ballots.
“The judge has told us the system in use today is unconstitutional, it can’t be relied upon, it’s insecure,” said
Marilyn Marks from the Coalition for Good Governance, who is one of the lawsuit plaintiffs. “This is going to send a major wave of communications to those jurisdictions across the country that are still using this type of voting.”
Marks endorses the use of paper ballots now, urging local citizens to ask that paper ballots be used in November municipal elections.
However, the judge did not rule in favor of that, saying there might be too much confusion among voters regarding the method of how they should cast their vote. The judge’s order allows the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to continue using its presents machines in this fall’s elections. However, it states that by 2020 if a new system is not ready by the March presidential primaries that paper ballots must be used.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he is pleased the court endorses them moving to a new system while not disrupting 2019 elections.
The state is spending $110 million to change to a ballot marking device (which is electronic). That device prints a piece of paper that is then counted by using a digital scanner to scan the paper. The state says the paper is then available for a “paper trail.”
Marks though dispute that the piece of paper is representative of a true paper ballot. “This a completely unverifiable system that we are going to challenge,” said Marks.
Marks says within the next three weeks, the plaintiffs may be filing amended legal action to prevent the new system from going into effect.
Meanwhile, Raffensperger told News 3 in a statement that he expects “these activists and their attorneys to incessantly use scare tactics to undermine Georgia elections but their own experts admit there’s no evidence of Georgia’s current voting machines ever being compromised or not accurately recording votes.”