Officials Warn Against Switching Georgia Voting Systems, Cite Risk of Unrest and Violence

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Election authorities are urgently appealing to a federal judge to refrain from mandating the state of Georgia to abandon its current electronic voting systems. They express grave concerns that such a directive could incite a backlash fraught with violence.

This situation has placed U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg in the spotlight, recalling her decision five years prior that compelled Georgia to replace its then-voting machines due to their susceptibility to cyber-attacks. However, this time, the call for change comes at a critical juncture, just months before the upcoming November elections, and has garnered warnings from a bipartisan array of officials at various levels of government, as highlighted in a report by Politico.

Sara Tindall Ghazal, the sole Democratic member of Georgia’s State Election Board and a party in the ongoing legal scrutiny under Judge Totenberg, voiced a stark warning: initiating such changes at this juncture could be a catalyst for disorder and potentially violent outcomes.

The legal proceedings, which commenced on January 9 in Atlanta, are drawing to a close, with expectations for arguments to wrap up shortly. This places Judge Totenberg, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, in a pivotal role concerning the electoral processes in Georgia—a state that played a critical role in the 2020 elections, swinging in favor of President Joe Biden. This outcome was a focal point in the subsequent legal actions against former President Donald Trump and several associates, accused of attempting to overturn the election results.

The trial delves into the security of the voting machines procured from Dominion Voting Systems, amidst the ongoing erosion of public trust in the electoral system, significantly influenced by Trump’s unfounded allegations of election fraud. Sara Tindall Ghazal highlighted the gravity of the situation by referencing the considerable number of Georgians who are influenced by figures like Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a prominent Trump supporter, who propagated baseless claims about the voting systems.

Dominion Voting Systems has actively defended its reputation, engaging in legal battles against Lindell and others who have perpetuated conspiracy theories about its technology. Notably, the company secured a substantial settlement from Fox News, addressing the misinformation spread about its equipment. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs, led by the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, argue in the current trial that the Dominion machines are vulnerable to tampering and must be scrutinized further.

Supporting the plaintiffs’ stance are top experts in voting machine security, who argue that the state has not adequately addressed the risks associated with the machines. They point to incidents where pro-Trump activists allegedly accessed Dominion’s systems unlawfully, potentially laying the groundwork for future cyber threats.

Judge Totenberg, while weighing the arguments, has indicated a preference for implementing “reasonable fixes” rather than outright banning the machines, similar to her 2019 decision. However, experts caution that the timing of any potential changes could pose significant challenges.

Gregory Miller, from the Open Source Election Technology Institute, emphasized the dilemma, acknowledging the complex timing of such interventions but also recognizing the critical need to address the vulnerabilities in the election system. This trial, according to Miller, is a crucial step toward a more robust and transparent electoral process, focusing on the integrity of ballot casting, counting, and auditing.

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