Yesterday two Georgia voters who are in leadership positions with Georgians for Verified Voting and an election reform non-profit filed a lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and election directors of the three counties making up Georgia's 6th Congressional District. They are seeking a preliminary injunction against the use of touchscreen voting machines in the upcoming special election on June 20th. Early voting is scheduled to begin in 4 days on May 30th. They will be filing a motion for a temporary restraining order this morning. Marilyn Marks, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Foundation, the organization spearheading the lawsuit, said in a late-night phone interview that they were anticipating a hearing this afternoon.
Documents filed in the lawsuit claim that the machines have numerous safety and accuracy concerns including:
- A breach in the security of the Center for Election Systems that was investigated by the FBI
- An encryption key that was released onto the internet
- The Possibility of a corrupt database
- A demonstration model of the voting machine in use was hacked and infected with vote stealing software by a security team, and no evidence has been provided that the known security flaw was repaired.
- The inability of the system to identify the introduction of improper data
- Inadequate physical security for the machines
- The system not appearing to meet fundamental standards for federal certification
- The system being 15 years old and relying on a non-industrial strength database
- Two letters from sixteen prominent computer scientists expressing that they were, "profoundly concerned about the security of Georgia’s votes."
According to the suit, Georgia law requires that officials be able to demonstrate that voting machines can be safely and accurately used, and that if reexamination shows that not to be the case - then the approval of the system "shall immediately be revoked by the Secretary of State; and no such system shall thereafter ... be used in this state."
The suit further states that the remedy under Georgia law if the machines cannot be used is to use hand-counted paper ballots. Virginia Martin, an election official in Columbia County, New York, where paper ballots and hand counting are used, said, "I believe that Georgia could run its special election on paper ballots ... Despite the length of time involved, the benefit of having auditable paper records, given the election problems the state has recently experienced, should be very appealing ... For election boards that don’t currently conduct hand counts, this is an easy election to begin on. Counters could be recruited over the next weeks and trained. Unforeseen wrinkles in the process could be discovered during a mock count, which would show both recruits and staff what to expect. The ballot’s simplicity makes it perfect for a hand count, just like in recent European elections."