In a pro bono case of first impression, Halsey Knapp and Adam Sparks joined forces with David Cross and a team of attorneys at Morrison Foerster LLP to represent Georgia voters seeking secure, accessible, verifiable elections using paper ballots capable of after-election auditing. Georgia remains one of just five states that relies exclusively on all-electronic voting machines that do not use an auditable paper ballot or receipt, leaving its elections systems particularly vulnerable to election interference through cyberattack, hacking, or systems failure. A consensus study report of a committee charged by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with examining voting technologies and challenges and charting a path forward recently recommended that any electronic machines should have a verified paper trail moving forward.
The clients filed a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent Georgia from using the vulnerable machines in the November 2018 general election, and by thereby depriving Georgia voters of their fundamental right to vote ballots that would be reliably cast and accurately counted. The court, while declining to issue a wide-ranging remedy close to the election, found that the voters had shown a substantial likelihood of succeeding on the merits and that defendants had effectively “buried their heads in the sand” when confronted with mounting systems vulnerabilities. See the court’s order in Curling v. Kemp, No. 1:17-cv-2989-AT (N.D. Ga.) below, which is now on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.