Appeals Court: Georgia 'Paper Ballot' Lawsuit Can Continue

Feb 7, 2019

A federal appeals court says a lawsuit over the state's outdated election system can continue.

The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday that said that it did not have the jurisdiciton to hear the state's assertion the two groups of plaintiffs had standing to file suit, and that the state was not immune from being sued in this particular case.

In September, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg denied a preliminary injunction that would have moved the state's 159 counties to hand-marked paper ballots ahead of the Nov. 6 general election, and also denied the state's request to dismiss the suit. In October, Totenberg issued a stay in the proceedings pending the appeal to the 11th Circuit.

A bipartisan commission of lawmakers, experts and elections officials made a recommendation in January that Georgia update its 17-year-old touchscreen voting system to include some sort of voter-verifiable paper trail, and switch to a ballot-marking device that uses both touchscreens and paper to cast and count votes.

In the coming weeks, lawmakers are expected to file bills that would enable the change to the state's voting system. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he hopes the new machines would be in place for the 2020 election cycle.