July 13, 2006
ATLANTA - Just days before Georgia's primary elections, a coalition of groups opposed to the state's electronic voting machines filed a lawsuit challenging the system.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court, claims the system is illegal and unconstitutional because it fails to give voters a verifiable record showing their ballot was recorded correctly. It asks the court to stop the state from using the system.
Georgia implemented the new system in 2002.
"If I had some evil intent and I wanted to disenfranchise an entire state, what better job could I do than what happened in 2002?" said Garland Favorito, a plaintiff in the suit and co-founder of VoterGA, the coalition that filed the lawsuit.
The lawsuit comes one day after a federal judge blocked a new Georgia law requiring voters to show a picture ID in next week's primaries and the Nov. 7 general election.
The voting group is not seeking to halt Tuesday's election, or the use of electronic voting in it, and says the suit was not timed to embarrass Secretary of State Cathy Cox.
Cox spearheaded the implementation of the system, at an initial cost of $54 million, and is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
Secretary of State spokeswoman Kara Sinkule said Thursday she had not read the specifics of the lawsuit, but said computerized voting has been popular among voters, and complaints about it are based on "a lot of misinformation."
"The reality of it is that millions and millions of Georgians have voted safely and accurately on our voting system in hundreds of elections throughout the state over the last four years," she said.
In the wake of the controversial 2000 presidential vote in Florida, Cox led the move to the new voting system. Like Florida, Georgia used a variety of different voting methods, including optical scan ballots and traditional punch cards.
Cox said that if Georgia's vote had been scrutinized as closely a Florida's, problems with voting accuracy also would have been exposed.
© 2006 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
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