Suit seeks to ban Indiana voting machines lacking paper trail

A lawsuit filed in Indianapolis on Thursday morning asks a federal judge to decertify—before the 2020 election—voting machines in Indiana that do not provide a voter-verified paper trail. The suit says about 58 of Indiana’s 92 counties continue to use machines at the polls that lack a paper trail and are therefore not sufficiently secure.

Not-for-profit Indiana Vote by Mail and several Indiana voters are asking a federal court to compel state election officials to decertify voting machines they say are insecure.

“Indiana is one of a handful of states that permits paperless voting, and most Indiana counties use voting machines with no paper trail,” Barbara Tully, president of Indiana Vote by Mail, said in a written statement announcing the filing of the suit. “Vote by Mail has advocated for secure voting procedures around the state. Unfortunately, it appears that most counties will not take action to ensure secure voting machines before the 2020 election.”

Indianapolis attorneys Bill Groth and Jim Harper represent the plaintiffs in the suit before Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker.

“Indiana lawmakers have recognized that we have a problem, and they had identified the solution,” Harper said. “Unfortunately, they have decided not to implement that solution until 2030. Hoosier voters face critical elections in 2020, and the time to act is now.”

A spokeswoman for the office of Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said the office does not comment on pending litigation.

Marion County is among those in central Indiana where voters use a paper ballot that they mark before feeding it into an optical scan device that tallies votes. Nearby Hancock, Johnson and Madison counties likewise use optical scanners and paper ballots. However, voters in central Indiana’s Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Morgan and Shelby counties use digital record electronic machines that have no paper trail. The lawsuit seeks a court order to decertify such machines.

In Indiana’s other population centers, larger counties using paperless machines the suit aims to invalidate include Allen, Delaware, Elkhart, Grant, Kosciusko, Lake, LaPorte, Tippecanoe and Wayne, according to data from the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office.

“All Hoosiers, not just those who reside in the 34 counties which already use machines that generate a paper trail, are entitled to know that our elections are secure and honest, and that their vote will be accurately counted. Mounting evidence indicates that foreign actors, including agents of the Russian government, have tried and will continue to try to hack into American voting machines,” Groth said in a statement announcing the suit.

“Cybersecurity experts agree that the most important steps that states can take is to adopt machines with a paper trail and to conduct random, risk-limiting audits. Unfortunately, most Indiana counties have not taken either of these steps.”

Groth noted the Indiana suit comes after a federal judge in Atlanta decertified voting machines without a paper trail in Georgia for the 2020 elections and thereafter. In August, District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that DRE machines were “particularly susceptible to manipulation and malfunction” and that systems that did not have a paper trail were “not reliably secure.” The Atlanta district judge allowed the machines to be used in elections this year, but not afterward.

Indiana Vote by Mail says it works to protect the integrity of Hoosier elections.

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One thought on “Suit seeks to ban Indiana voting machines lacking paper trail

  1. Unfortuntately, no system that uses computers or electronics tied to a network is secure. Are the optical scanners off-line at all times. If so, how are they programmed? And does the voter actually get to check their vote on an optical scanning system? I have used them in the past and have never seen what got recorded as my votes. Lastly, anyone trying to hack the voting machines (optical scanning or electronic) can have the screen show the proper vote but behind the scenes record something different; this is a problem with any programmable system. Eliminating just electronic voting machines without paper trail does not solve the overall problem of all the other machines. Unfortunately, paper only voting systems and the old lever voting machines are also not infallible.