The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.
The Georgia voting system is under scrutiny this week, with a federal judge holding court hearings to decide whether the state’s new voting touchscreens should be replaced and reports of double voting. The judge’s decision may drastically change how voting takes place come Election Day.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg is set to rule on motions to discard the state’s new $104 million voting system, require updating paper voting registration lists at polling locations and conduct stricter audits of election results, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Totenberg will deliver her ruling after holding two days of court hearings this week.
Advocates for voting integrity claim that the state’s voting touchscreens are vulnerable by hackers. The Coalition for Good Governance, the plaintiffs in the suit, allege hackers could alter the votes on the voting computers and said that the printed-out paper ballots are not a perfect solution.
Election officials, meanwhile, counter that the printed-out ballots improve election security, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
It remains unclear how Totenberg, who previously rejected efforts to switch to manual paper ballots, will rule. The judge criticized state elections officials in 2018, saying they “had buried their heads in the sand” about vulnerabilities in the state’s voting system.
Reports of Double Voting
As if the federal lawsuit wasn’t enough to rock Georgia’s voting system, authorities are threatening criminal action against 1,000 Georgia voters who allegedly voted twice during the state’s June primary and August runoff election.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on September 8 that investigators are looking into evidence of 1,000 instances of double voting. The investigations are occurring in 100 of the state’s 159 counties, The New York Times reported. Double voting is a felony in Georgia and carries a penalty of one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
Raffensperger, a Republican, said that authorities will decide on a case-by-case basis whether they will bring criminal charges for double voting. The attorney general noted that the cases of double voting did not change the outcomes of the state’s primary races.
“A double voter knows exactly what they’re doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law,” Raffensperger said, according to Axios. “Those that make the choice to game the system are breaking the law. And as secretary of state, I will not tolerate it.”
News of double voting came shortly after President Donald Trump suggested voters should vote in person after returning their mail-in ballot during a visit to North Carolina. The president's suggestion of double voting to test the mail-in system led North Carolina’s election board to issue a warning that the action is illegal in the state.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.