Alabama Lawyer Blasts Last Minute Court Ruling Allowing Destruction of Digital Voting Records Amid Hacking Fears
In what is being described as a “spurious,” ruling, an Alabama court says officials can destroy all digital voting records for the state’s special Senate election between Republican Judge Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.
At 1:36 p.m. Monday, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge issued an order directing Alabama election officials to preserve all digital ballot images created at polling places across the state today.
But at 4:32 p.m. Monday, attorneys for Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Ed Packard, the state administrator of elections, filed an “emergency motion to stay” that order, which the state Supreme Court granted minutes after Merrill and Packard’s motion was filed.
By granting the stay, the court effectively told the state that it does not in fact have to preserve the digital ballot images – essentially digitized versions of the paper ballots voters fill out at the voting booth – created today.
But Priscilla Duncan, attorney for four Alabama voters who sued the state last week in an attempt to force election officials to preserve the digital records, said Tuesday that their argument was “spurious” and misleading.
Alabama attorney Priscilla Duncan blasted the decision saying, “They made a bunch of spurious arguments that they don’t have the authority to tell [election officials across the state] what to do – well, they’re already telling them what to do – and that it will cause a bunch of confusion at the polls, but the voters wouldn’t even know if they changed their retention policy.”
The ruling comes amid hacking fears, prompting Department of Homeland Security officials to boost the state’s cybersecurity.
“What I’m worried about is undermining the broader confidence in the vote,” he said. “My [ideal] outcome is ensuring the American people have confidence that their vote matters when they show up to vote — whether it’s at a state, a mayor, county commissioner or for president,” says DHS official Chris Krebs.
“We learned our lessons last year.” Krebs added.