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2020

Lawsuit aims at saving digital ballot images

The lawsuit seeks to require all supervisors to preserve digital ballot images.

The Florida Democratic Party, Democratic lawmakers and other plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit seeking to require county supervisors of elections to preserve digital ballot images generated in this year’s elections.

The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday in Leon County circuit court, focuses on ballot images that are created when ballots are scanned. It contends that some county supervisors of elections do not preserve the images, which could be needed to verify the accuracy of vote counts.

“Despite the automatic availability of the digital electronic voting systems to create permanent digital ballot images, some Florida elections officials have refused to preserve or mandate the preservation of the digital ballot images,” the 35-page lawsuit said. “This refusal imperils the validity and accuracy of the votes actually cast in every Florida election in which counties are not preserving ballot images, including those on which federal candidates appear.”

The lawsuit names as defendants Secretary of State Laurel Lee, state Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews and elections supervisors in Broward, Orange, Lee, Duval, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties.

Among the plaintiffs are state Sen. Victor Torres, an Orlando Democrat, state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, a Democrat from Windermere, and state Rep. Joe Geller, an Aventura Democrat.

The lawsuit seeks to require all supervisors to preserve digital ballot images from the Aug. 18 primary elections and the Nov. 3 general election and to require Lee and the state Division of Elections to produce a rule that would require preserving ballot images.

The lawsuit was filed two days after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an elections bill (HB 1005) that allows the use of digital ballot images in recounts. But the lawsuit said the bill does not require the preservation of the images.

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Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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