Ensuring that elections are free, fair, transparent and credibly run should be the chief concern of all election officials and courts. It makes sense then that when voting machines are faulty you certainly cannot guarantee that the vote is credible. Those machines must be replaced and time should not be an excuse to do so. Of course, voting machines can easily be replaced by paper ballots but that is for another day. This day has to be about whether we agree that it is an outrage to use possibly faulty machines to count votes.
It seems U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg doesn’t agree. On the night of September 17, she refused to order Georgia to replace its faulty machines citing the limited amount of time left before the midterms in November. The Judge, however, kept options open for the future. She iterated that the future system must address issues of democracy, transparency, fairness, and accuracy but still allowed for the possibility that the faulty machines be used. See page 46 of the court order here.
This decision is inconsistent with democracy and is regrettable. The machines Georgians will have to use during the midterms “are easily hacked and do not leave a paper trail” according to election expert Richard Winger at Ballot Access News. The people of Georgia will have to go to the polls knowing their vote is not secure. It’s unacceptable.
Many opportunities have been missed. Only a week ago the Georgia State Election Board in Atlanta unanimously voted against mandating hand-marked paper ballots for this year’s election. It can never be too late to protect democracy. The courts or the legislature must redress this situation immediately. If it requires that voting is postponed in Georgia in order to ensure that the wishes of the Georgian electorate are taken into consideration, then let it be so.
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