As HB 316 sits on Kemp’s desk, lawsuit over paper ballots continues

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How you vote in future elections in Georgia continues to be the source of controversy.

A group that filed a federal lawsuit in 2017 and that is demanding the use of paper ballots, is still pursuing legal action and seeking a remedy to what it terms “voter issues.”

Now, those plaintiffs are indicating to attorneys for Georgia’s Secretary of State that a proposed remedy in the form of House Bill 316 is “no remedy at all.”

The bill recently passed in both the House and Senate and calls for the use of electronic ballot marking devices. It’s a move supported by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who says the new system will create a paper ballot which voters can first view before then casting their ballot officially.  

That would be done by the use of an electronic scanning machine which would count the ballot.

But lawsuit plaintiff says “HB 316 does not address fundamental issues” raised in their amended complaint. 

In other words, plaintiffs say the new system being called for by lawmakers won’t address past problems and therefore won’t address future ones either.

Marilyn Marks with the Coalition for Good Governance told News 3 several weeks ago that the new Electronic Marking Device system, estimated to cost at least $150 million, would be a “waste of taxpayer money and not one bit better than the garbage system Georgia has now.” 

In its letter, plaintiffs say that vendors of this new system don’t all print an actual paper ballot, but rather a barcode. Marks says a “barcode is not a verifiable, paper ballot.”

The letter says “we intend to challenge the BMDs as an unconstitutional infringement on a citizen’s right to vote and to have the vote counted accurately.”

News 3 reached out to the Secretary of State’s office for comment about the letter to its attorneys, but have not heard back. Raffensperger did put out a call for vendors about a week ago.  

HB 316 is currently on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk.

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