A long-standing lawsuit over the reliability and security of Georgia’s elections system will go to trial in January.
The case was filed by voters who want hand-marked paper ballots to replace the existing system of machines sold to the state by Dominion Voting Systems, although as noted by the Associated Press, it began three years before the allegations over Dominion’s machines that became part of the contentious aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
On Nov. 10, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg issued a ruling rejecting the state’s position that no trial was necessary. The ruling called for the state and its critics to try to resolve their differences without a trial.
“The Court cannot wave a magic wand in this case to address the varied challenges to our democracy and election system in recent years, including those presented in this case,” she wrote.
“But reasonable, timely discussion and compromise in this case, coupled with prompt, informed legislative action, might certainly make a difference that benefits the parties and the public,” she wrote.
But that seems unlikely.
“The court’s order makes it clear that Georgia’s status quo is far too risky, and that these concerning issues merit a trial. We look forward to prevailing at trial as we demonstrate why touchscreen BMDs (ballot-marking devices) cannot be used safely,” said Marilyn Marks, executive director for the Coalition for Good Governance, one plaintiff suing the state, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
David Cross, an attorney for some plaintiffs, said the court ruling noted “a long story of incompetence, conflicting claims, and misinformation.”
Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs seemed disinclined for a chat.
“We don’t negotiate with election deniers,” Fuchs said. “If they have an idea that wouldn’t take Georgia back to the days of hanging chads and stuffed ballot boxes, they should offer it.”
Amid the 135 pages of her ruling, Totenberg pushed back against labeling the plaintiffs.
“The Court notes that the record evidence does not suggest that the Plaintiffs are conspiracy theorists of any variety. Indeed, some of the nation’s leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists have provided testimony and affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs’ case in the long course of this litigation,” she wrote.
One report was filed by Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan.
His report, produced in 2021, said Georgia’s system “suffers from critical vulnerabilities that can be exploited to subvert all of its security mechanisms,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Halderman said anyone with physical access to a voting machine had the capability to alter votes on the machine, and that someone who accessed the election management system could do more than change one machine.
According to the Associated Press, the state has said it will not install a software update that could address the issues raised by Halderman.
Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer in the Secretary of State’s office has mocked Halderman’s conclusions as “hypothetical scenarios that can’t work.”
But those pushing for change say just going to trial shows there is a problem.
“We look forward to presenting our full evidence at trial and obtaining critical relief for Georgia voters,” Cross said. “But we hope this decision will be a much-needed wakeup call for the Secretary and SEB, and finally spur them to work with us on a negotiated resolution that secures the right to vote in Georgia.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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