ATLANTA – Today, Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo issued the following statement on Judge Amy Totenberg’s order in Curling v Raffensperger:
“This order reflects the gross incompetence of Brian Kemp and his allies in administering elections, along with the massive irregularities and vulnerabilities that disenfranchised voters in 2018 — but more importantly, it reflects the ability of the courts to provide relief to Team Kemp’s failures and to protect the Constitutional rights of voters. We are pleased the ruling mandated that the 17-year-old unauditable machines that disenfranchised voters and led to lines as long as five hours will be taken out of use after this year. Moreover, Judge Totenberg’s ordering of a viable backup plan if a new voting system is not implemented properly is critical and wise.
“We commend the coalition plaintiffs in the Curling case for their continuing successful efforts to make Georgia elections free, fair, and secure, and we commend their decision to pursue further litigation to protect the right to vote. As their important work continues, and Fair Fight Action v Raffensperger moves forward, Georgians will continue to have their day in court to fight against widespread and multilayered voter suppression.
“Voters can have confidence that, while Team Kemp has failed in its duties, the courts have already begun to provide a remedy to election practices that suppress voters and infringe on their Constitutional rights. The people of Georgia must not be discouraged from participating in our democracy.”
Key excerpts from the ruling:
“This case arises in a technology context where Georgia’s current voting equipment, software, election and voter databases, are antiquated, seriously flawed, and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination, and attack.”
“Contrary to the State Defendants’ assertion that complete relief cannot be afforded without joinder of the municipalities, the Secretary of State is the chief election official. Georgia law confers primary authority on Georgia’s Secretary of State to manage Georgia’s electoral system…. The Secretary of State and State Election Board also have significant statutory oversight authority to train local elections officials, set election standards, and investigate failures of local elections officials…”
“The testimony of Theresa Payton and the restricted scope of the three cybersecurity evaluations performed makes clear that the surface of SOS cybersecurity issues was barely scratched.”
“The above findings coincide with and support the validity of the broad range of voter complaints in 2017 and 2018 regarding the inaccuracy and jumbled status of the voter registration records that burdened or deprived them of their voting rights, discussed later in this Order.”
“The voter registration database, containing millions of Georgia voters’ personal identifying information, plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the voting system. Yet it has been open to access, alteration, and likely some degree of virus and malware infection for years,”
“All told, though, the picture remains that in the current cyber environment, the present voting system and voter registration database and system, as constituted and administered by the SOS and counties, bear critical deficiencies and risks that impact the reliability and integrity of the voting system process… If voters’ capacity to cast votes are thwarted through an inaccurate express pollbook voting check-in or voter website, this burdens their right to cast votes, scrambles election day voting procedures, and ultimately, in turn affects voting results.”
“Given this slippage in just the initial stages of implementation of the new voting system and the State’s significant scaling back of the planned pilot program for testing purposes, the Court has concerns about the State’s ability to procure, test, and install the equipment for all 159 counties, implement an entirely new elections management, ballot building, and voter registration system, and perform the necessary training of local election officials in the schedule set by the State. As Plaintiffs have convincingly presented, the threat of election interference has only grown since they were here before the Court seeking relief one year ago in September 2018, while the State Defendants have only just begun to launch necessary steps to provide a more secure election”
“As discussed further below, the Court again finds that the Plaintiffs have continued to demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their claims that the current non-auditable Georgia GEMS/DRE voting system, as implemented, burdens and deprives them of their rights to cast secure votes that are reliably counted, as guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”