Voters in three Georgia counties waited hours in line to cast ballots in Tuesday’s midterm elections, as hundreds of voting machines sat locked away in warehouses, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
> The machines were sequestered by local officials because of an ongoing federal lawsuit that argues Georgia’s electronic voting machines could be hacked or tampered with.
> With fewer machines in precincts, voters faced heavy delays, often more than an hour, before they got to the front of the line. The issue affected voters in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, the three jurisdictions covered by the court case.
> Election officials said Wednesday that the lack of voting machines — combined with high turnout and wordy constitutional amendments — created some of the longest lines in years. They said that by the time they realized turnout would significantly exceed the last midterm election, there wasn’t time to find additional machines.
Cobb County rolled out about 1,050 voting machines, with about 550 left in storage. About 700 went unused in Fulton and another 585 machines were out of service in DeKaulb.
> The machines are set aside because of an order by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg last December that called for preservation of evidence in a lawsuit seeking to move Georgia from electronic voting machines to paper ballots. Totenberg denied a motion in September to immediately throw out the state’s voting machines, but the lawsuit is still underway.
> Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which include election integrity groups and Georgia voters, want to examine a sample of each county’s voting machines to prove that they’re inherently insecure, alleging there’s no way to verify that their election results match voters’ selections. That examination hasn’t yet occurred, and the case is on hold while it’s being appealed.
Bruce Brown, an attorney for some of the plaintiffs, told the Journal-Constitution that county election officials should have been better prepared for election day:
> “No judge anywhere, at any time, has ever ordered Fulton County or any other county to set aside more machines than they said they could spare,” Brown said. “No request was ever made by anyone to plaintiffs or the court suggesting that Fulton or anyone else needed more machines for this or any other election.”
> All three counties impacted by the shortage favored Democrat Stacey Abrams over Republican Brian Kemp, who is the state’s top election official.
> But Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office, said county election officials manage their plans for allocating and deploying voting equipment, and they don’t share those plans with Kemp’s office