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Alabama Supreme Court stays judge’s order to preserve voting records in Senate election

December 14, 2017

12/12/2017

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The Alabama Supreme Court has reportedly stayed a lower court’s order to election officials that would have required the preservation of voting records in Tuesday’s Senate special election.

A circuit judge on Monday ordered election officials to set voting machines to save all digital ballot images, which would preserve voting records in the event of a recount.

Alabama’s AL.com said Tuesday morning that the state’s Supreme Court had blocked the order.

A group of four Alabama voters filed a lawsuit last Thursday arguing that the state is required by law to preserve the images. The voters’ attorney, Priscilla Duncan, said that the circuit judge’s order would protect votes if there were an “election challenge.”

“People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that that’s what counted,” Duncan told AL.com. “But it’s not, the paper ballot is not what’s counted. That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election.”

The judge’s order, which argued that voters would “suffer irreparable and immediate harm if digital ballot images are not preserved,” would have required the images to be saved for six months.

The Alabama Supreme Court’s decision to stay the order came just hours before polls opened in the special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s former Senate seat, pitting Democrat Doug Jones against GOP candidate Roy Moore.

The election has been the focus of national attention in recent weeks as Moore faces mounting allegations of sexual misconduct and assault involving teenage girls. Nine women have come forward with accusations that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman said he touched her sexually when she was 14 years old and he was 32.

President Trump has thrown his full support behind Moore, telling Alabama voters Tuesday morning to vote for the controversial candidate because he will “always” vote with Senate Republicans.

 

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