Federal Court Demands Georgia Do Better With Provisional Ballot Counting Process

November 12, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Alexandra Ringe; alexandra.ringe@nyu.edu, 646 925 8744

New York, N.Y. – A federal court in Atlanta on Monday issued an order requiring the state to take a number of steps to protect voters who had to cast provisional ballots because of registration problems. For example, Georgia officials must establish a hotline and website for voters to check if their ballots were counted; conduct a thorough review of provisional ballots; and provide detailed information about every provisional ballot cast in Tuesday’s election.

The order came at the request of Common Cause Georgia and its attorneys at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. In a lawsuit filed Monday night, Common Cause of Georgia alleged that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp recklessly publicized vulnerabilities in the state’s voter registration database, which exacerbated voters’ risk of having their registration information manipulated.

“The right to vote is fundamental, and no one should lose that right because of mistakes in the voter registration database. The Georgians who voted in this election deserve better than what the state wanted to give them,” said Myrna Perez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s democracy program, who argued the case with Farrah Berse of Paul, Weiss on Thursday in Atlanta.

According to the lawsuit filed Monday in the Northern District of Georgia, multiple parties informed Secretary Kemp that the state’s voter information portal was vulnerable to meddling. Instead of taking steps to secure registration information, Kemp released a series of statements that only served to draw attention to the security gaps.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the voters of Georgia. We are all stronger when every eligible voter is allowed to participate in our elections,” said Sara Henderson, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “This victory helps achieve greater voter confidence in our elections.”

Documents from the lawsuit are available here.

For more information:

Common Cause Georgia

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP