BREAKING: New Lawsuit Filed Over Georgia E-Voting
The Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Writ of Mandamus was filed in Fulton County Superior Court.
The plaintiffs have also filed for an emergency injunction, for which an emergency hearing has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today, May 26, 2017.
The injunction seeks to prevent Georgia and three Metro Atlanta counties from using E-voting machines in the U.S. Congressional race in Georgia’s Sixth District, where candidate Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, has attracted national attention and support.
Atlanta Progressive News has been reporting on the fundamental unreliability of Georgia’s E-voting machines from many years – at one point referring to Georgia’s elections as “so-called elections” until it became confusing for readers unfamiliar with our E-voting coverage.
In reality, Georgia has been operating for some sixteen years with unreliable machines – a period that remarkably coincides with the Republican Party’s period of winning most or all statewide offices in Georgia.
Various groups of citizens, advocates, and computer scientists have sent a series of at least three letters to Secretary Kemp challenging Georgia’s E-voting regime, including a March 2017 letter sent by computer experts and two letters in May 2017.
In the new lawsuit, Donna Curling, Donna Price, and the Rocky Mountain Foundation are the plaintiffs.
The named Defendants are Secretary of State Brian Kemp; and Richard Barron, Maxine Daniels, and Janine Eveler, the elections directors for Fulton, DeKalb, and Cobb Counties, respectively.
It is at least the second lawsuit filed regarding E-voting in Georgia.
The previous lawsuit filed by VoterGA in 2006, as covered by Atlanta Progressive News, was not successful.
In that case, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that even though there is no record of individual votes with E-voting in Georgia, no paper trail, and no way to know that the reported vote totals on the E-voting machines reflect the actual votes, that the machines were acceptable because voters still had the option to vote by mail if it made them more comfortable.
The current case–rather than focusing on the fundamental deprivation of the right to vote–focuses on a little-known state provision allowing Georgia voters to request an official administrative reexamination of the voting machines.
Under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 21-2-379 allows a group of ten voters to request that the Georgia Secretary of State reexamine the E-voting machines.
Per law, the Secretary is required to perform the examination and issue a report.
Further, if the Secretary finds the machines “can no longer be safely or accurately used by electors at primaries or elections as provided in this chapter because of any problem concerning its ability to accurately record or tabulate votes, the approval of the same shall immediately be revoked by the Secretary of State.”
In such an instance, an election would have to be conducted by paper ballot.
The Plaintiffs argue there are widely known, severe safety and accuracy problems plaguing Georgia E-voting.
“First, numerous critical security vulnerabilities and deficiencies have been recently identified at the State’s Center for Election Systems (“CES”),” the Plaintiffs state.
“Second, on May 24, 2017 sixteen computer scientists wrote Defendant Kemp expressing profound concerns about the lack of verifiability and poor security of Georgia’s DRE-Based Voting System,” the Plaintiffs state.
“Third, failures in Georgia’s DRE-Based Voting System caused improper memory cards to be uploaded into the election database during the April 18, 2017, Special Election for the Sixth Congressional District,” the Plaintiffs state.
“Fourth, Fulton County transmits ballot data from touchscreen machine memory cards to the GEMS tabulation server… via modem in an unauthorized configuration that, on information and belief, does not use adequate encryption. At one point in time, the system encryption key was in the public domain, rendering the encryption useless,” the Plaintiffs state.
“Fifth, the physical security of DRE voting equipment used in Georgia’s DRE-Based Voting System has been inadequate during pre- and post-election machine storage, leaving the machines vulnerable to attack and compromise,” the Plaintiffs state.
“Sixth… Georgia’s DRE-Based Voting System appears not to meet fundamental voting system standards for federal certification, including mandatory audit capacity standards required by the Help America Vote Act, 52 U.S.C. § 21081,” the Plaintiffs state.
Also, Plaintiff complain that Georgia’s E-voting regime “relies upon a back-end database that is not industrial-strength, and runs on an operating system that is currently past its support life.”
The Complaint notes that the Plaintiffs requested that Secretary Kemp conduct the reexamination required by law, but that he has failed to respond.
Also, APN previously reported that Donna Curling, one of the Plaintiffs in this case, is a Democratic-leaning donor and activist whose husband, Doug Curling, was the former President of Choicepoint.
Ironically, Choicepoint acquired a firm that was involved in improperly removing thousands of Florida voters from the rolls in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election.