On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over whether touch-screen voting those controversial courtesy of Diebold that were ushered in after the 2000 presidential election clusterfuck should be used in the state.
The case stems from a 2006 challenge brought by Garland Favorito, who says the machines don't produce a recorded ballot you know, with results and are open to tampering. (You can read about the plaintiffs' concerns at Voter GA.)
After the jump, the case summary from the state Supreme Court communications office:
FAVORITO ET AL. V. HANDEL ET AL. (S09A1367)
In this Fulton County case, a group of citizens is challenging Georgias use of electronic
FACTS: Georgia adopted the electronic machines following the Florida debacle during the 2000 presidential race, when the deciphering of the hanging chads of voter punch-cards
required the U.S. Supreme Court to decide who won the election. In response, Congress passed a law to provide federal funds to states to replace their outmoded voting systems. After soliciting bids, Georgia awarded a $54 million contract to Diebold Election Systems, Inc., becoming in 2002 the first in the country to have a uniform system of touch screen voting across the state. In 2006, Garland Favorito and seven others sued the governor, the Secretary of State and the Georgia State Election Board, arguing that the machines do not produce tangible records that can be audited and do not protect against fraudulent manipulation of reported results. The trial court ruled in favor of the state officials, granting them summary judgment determining a trial was not needed because, based on undisputed facts, the law entitled them to prevail. The court dismissed all the citizens complaints, and they now appeal to the state Supreme Court.
ARGUMENTS: Favorito and the others argue that the trial court made a number of
errors, including that it violated their due process by denying them the right to a trial and issuing an order that contains numerous errors of fact. The trial court also applied the wrong legal standards in reaching its decision, they contend. The essence of their argument is that state officials are currently conducting elections with no way to assure the public that electronic ballots cast on election day are recorded and tabulated correctly. The states use of voting equipment that does not provide an independent audit trail of the votes cast is deficient. The Georgia Constitution requires that elections be conducted by ballot, and electronic voting
machines do not contain such a ballot. Georgias system of administering elections threatens
the foundations of our democracy, they argue in briefs, and deprives citizens of openly
conducted, transparent elections.
The State argues the trial court ruled correctly and that the citizens provide no proof that
anyone was deprived of their fundamental right to vote. Georgias electronic voting system has
proven to be far less vulnerable to fraud and error than the paper ballot system. Prior to purchase, all touch-screen voting systems met federal and state certification requirements. Georgias voting machines are also never connected to the Internet, the State points out. The machines do create a paper trail and the results can in fact be physically audited, the State contends. Any voter can still choose to vote with a mail-in absentee ballot, which is a paper ballot.
Attorney for Appellants (Favorito): Walker Chandler
Attorneys for Appellees (Handel): Thurbert Baker, Attorney General, Dennis Dunn, Dep. A.G., Stefan Ritter, Sr. Asst. A.G.
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