The heated battle for paper ballots in Georgia is over…for now. A federal judge ruled late Monday night that voters will vote using the same electronic voting machines this November.
But, the judge did not say that was the right decision…simply the necessary, practical one.
While the judge denied that emergency injunction to switch to paper ballots immediately — you’d be hard pressed to say that she ruled in favor of the defendants, including Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
She lambasted them for “burying their heads in the sand” but ultimately ruled this election will take place on machines she acknowledged as insecure…a move some see as rewarding the very alleged incompetence and reticence that created this last minute Catch-22
The order initially read as favoring the plaintiff’s pleas for paper — acknowledging the risks of hacking as ‘not an unfounded fear,’ then accusing the Secretary of State’s office of ‘not taking steps to secure the systems’ and ‘being limited by their lack of computer science expertise and apparent knowledge’…even acknowledging that the use of the machines ‘likely results in a debasement or dilution of votes’
But, turning to the Catch-22, saying given the lack of preparation, a switch could hurt Georgia voters with long lines and confusion. So, order that, because The Secretary of State’s office ‘stood by for far too long’ and ‘buried their heads in the sand,’ they get to keep the insecure system.
In some sense those filing the suit view this as a victory, since the judge did acknowledge the value of their points and said the trouble was with the timing.
Some voter rights advocates are actually encouraging voters to force the state’s hand by requesting absentee ballots en masse — something the state legally must accommodate.