Monday, May 20, 2024

Will Georgia Use Dominion Voting in 2024? Ongoing Trial Could Decide

'We’re hopeful but we recognize it’s an uphill fight for 2024, just on the timing...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) A nearly seven-year legal battle is wrapping up in Georgia, where election integrity activists are in an ongoing trial to get the state to declare that the Dominion Voting Systems touchscreen voting machines are so flawed they are unconstitutional.

Right now, Georgia is set to use Dominion in the upcoming 2024 election, despite a forensic report showing cybersecurity flaws in Dominion’s voting machines. Georgia election officials said that the machines won’t be updated until after the 2024 elections because it’s such a massive undertaking.

But in an ongoing trial that began last week, the Coalition for Good Governance and several voters are making the case that the state should switch to hand-marked paper ballots tallied by scanners.

Presiding U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, said in an October order that she cannot order the state to use hand-marked paper ballots. But activists say prohibiting the use of the touchscreen machines would effectively force the use of hand-marked paper ballots because that’s the emergency backup provided for in state law.

The trial is expected to last through this week.

David Cross, a lawyer for some of the individual voters, said the judge has only seen a sliver of their evidence so far. He said he believes she’ll find in their favor, but he doesn’t expect to see any changes before Georgia’s presidential primary in March. He said changes might be possible before the general election in November if Totenberg rules quickly.

“We’re hopeful but we recognize it’s an uphill fight for 2024, just on the timing,” he said, acknowledging the likelihood that the state would appeal any ruling in the activists’ favor.

The activists had planned to call the secretary of state to testify. They wanted to ask why he chose a voting system that uses QR codes that aren’t readable by voters. They also believe his office has failed to investigate or to implement proper safeguards after the Coffee County breach and wanted to ask him about it under oath.

The judge ordered him to appear over the objections of his lawyers. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled he doesn’t have to testify, citing his status as a top official and saying the plaintiffs didn’t show his testimony was necessary.

The trial stems from a lawsuit that long predates claims about the 2020 election. It was originally filed in 2017 by several individual voters and the Coalition for Good Governance, which advocates for election integrity, and targeted the outdated, paperless voting system used at the time.

Totenberg in August 2019 prohibited the state from using the antiquated machines beyond that year. The state had agreed to purchase new voting machines from Dominion a few weeks earlier and scrambled to deploy them ahead of the 2020 election cycle. Before the machines were distributed statewide, the activists amended their lawsuit to take aim at the new system.

They argued that the system has serious security vulnerabilities that could be exploited without detection and that the state has done little to address those problems. Additionally, voters cannot be sure their votes are accurately recorded because they cannot read the QR code, they argued. And the voting machines’ large, upright screens make it easy to see a voter’s selections, violating the right to ballot secrecy, they added.

Lawyers for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wrote in a recent court filing that he “vigorously disputes” the activists’ claims and “strongly believes” their case is “legally and factually meritless.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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