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Decide bars Georgia from utilizing present voting expertise in 2020 – CNET

A court docket order requires Georgia to have new election expertise in place for elections in 2020.


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The state of Georgia cannot use its present digital voting machines, election administration software program or servers after 2019, in keeping with an order from a federal choose Thursday. It is the most recent choice in a long-running authorized struggle over the safety of voting tech within the state, and successfully requires Georgia to get a brand new system in place for the 2020 presidential primaries.

The order, written by District Decide Amy Totenberg, requires Georgia to give you a plan that’ll enable the state to keep away from utilizing its present expertise, which incorporates digital voting machines with no paper data of ballots. Georgia is one of many final states to solely depend on such machines, and voting rights advocates across the nation are pushing to finish their use. Voting machine producer ES&S can be phasing out paperless machines.

The state of Georgia is within the technique of getting new digital voting machines and vote tallying software program. Totenberg’s order means the state cannot fall again on the previous election administration software program and paperless machines and election administration software program — known as the GEMS/DRE system — if the brand new tech is not prepared in time. That would imply utilizing paper hand-marked ballots and forgoing voting machines altogether.

“Continued use of the GEMS/DRE system previous this 2019 cycle of elections is indefensible given the operational and constitutional points at stake,” Totenberg wrote.

Totenberg stated Georgia has had sufficient time to get a brand new system in place. That is totally different from final yr, when Totenberg discovered the safety of the expertise inadequate however stated there wasn’t sufficient time for Georgia election officers to vary it earlier than the 2018 midterm and gubernatorial elections.

“It is a large win for all Georgia voters and people working throughout the nation to safe elections and defend the proper to vote,” stated David Cross, an lawyer for the plaintiffs who sued to problem the usage of the state’s present election expertise. “The court docket ordered Georgia to lastly take essential steps it has lengthy refused to take to guard elections in opposition to interference and voters in opposition to disenfranchisement.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stated in an announcement that the plaintiffs are activists “making an attempt to power their most well-liked coverage outcomes on Georgia voters with out success.” Nonetheless, Raffensperger stated his workplace is happy with the choose’s approval of the state’s plan to maneuver to a brand new paper poll voting system.

“The secretary of state’s workplace is already transferring full steam forward to implement Georgia’s new paper poll voting system in time for the March 2020 presidential desire major,” Raffensperger stated.

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