Judge: Georgia must scrap old voting machines after 2019
Thursday, 15 August 2019 () ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge overseeing a challenge to Georgia's outdated voting system said that after years of inaction in the face of warnings about vulnerabilities, state officials have finally taken a solid step in the right direction. But she foreshadowed a looming fight over the state's new system, writing that "it may be 'like 'déjà vu all over again.'"
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg's order on Thursday prohibits the state from using its antiquated paperless touchscreen machines and election management system beyond this year. She also said the state must be ready to use hand-marked paper ballots if its new system isn't in place for the March 24 presidential primary election.
"Georgia's current voting equipment, software, election and voter databases, are antiquated, seriously flawed, and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination, and attack," she wrote.
Totenberg also said the plaintiffs would likely win at trial, citing "the mountain of voter testimony showing that these vulnerabilities have a tangible impact on these voters' attempts to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot and have their vote counted."
Election integrity advocates and individual voters sued Georgia election officials in 2017 alleging that the touchscreen voting machines the state has used since 2002 are unsecure and vulnerable to hacking. They had asked Totenberg to order an immediate switch to hand-marked paper ballots.
Totenberg had declined a similar request last year ahead of last November's gubernatorial election, and she again held back from ordering an immediate switch on Thursday, citing concerns about the state's capacity to make an interim switch to hand-marked paper ballots for special and municipal elections this fall while also working to implement a new system.