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GA Supreme Court upholds lower ruling on touch screen voting

The Georgia Supreme Court announced Monday that it has unanimously affirmed a Fulton County Superior Court decision handed down in September 2008 that upheld the use of touch screen voting machines.

Read the court’s full opinion.

A 2006 lawsuit filed by a group of eight citizens known as VoterGA against Gov. Sonny Perdue, Secretary of State Karen Handel, and the Georgia State Election Board claims the touch screen machines violate their constitutional right to vote.

Justice George Carley, in the opinion for the court, writes in part on Monday:

“We cannot say that use of paperless, touchscreen voting systems severely restricts the right to vote. No balloting system is perfect. Traditional paper ballots, as became evident during the 2000 presidential election, are prone to overvotes, undervotes, ‘hanging chads,’ and other mechanical and human errors that may thwart voter intent….The unfortunate reality is that the possibility of electoral fraud can never be completely eliminated, no matter which type of ballot is used.”

Carley adds that Georgia officials “made a reasonable, politically neutral and non-discriminatory choice to certify touchscreen systems as an alternative to paper ballots…Nothing in the Constitution forbids this choice.”

The lawsuit also claims that voters who use touch screen machines are treated differently from absentee voters who cast paper ballots, a situation plaintiffs claim violate their right to equal protection.

The Georgia Supreme Court concurred with the lower court’s conclusion that their equal rights are not violated because, as Carley writes, all voters “have the option of casting an absentee ballot or using the electronic machines on election day.”

APN has compiled some extensive coverage on this case, starting with a June 2006 story when VoterGA announced it would file a suit and another story when they filed the suit one month later.

VoterGA updated the public one year later on the case. In September 2008, the Fulton County Superior Court ruled for the state officials. The original VoterGA lawsuit is available here (scroll to bottom of page).


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