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Secretary of state addresses voting process amid Blanchard lawsuit

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Lindy Blanchard is suing Alabama election officials, including the secretary of state, for what she calls an unsecure voting process. Last Tuesday, Blanchard lost the primary election to Gov. Kay Ivey. However, the lawsuit was filed six days before then.

Five members make up the state’s Electronic Voting Committee. They are Alabama voter registration supervisor Jeff Elrod, Chief Deputy Attorney General Clay Crenshaw, state Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, state Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Montgomery, and Lee County Probate Judge Bill Englisha.

All five of them are named in the claim that says electronic voting machines create doubt and room for interference.

The lawsuit claims “these machines undermine public confidence in the validity of election results.”

Blanchard wants to see the machines replaced with a paper ballot system. The demands include:

  • Ballots are cast by voters filling out paper ballots, by hand, and placed in a sealed ballot box
  • Each ballot bears a discrete, unique identification number
  • Voters can later verify whether their ballot was counted properly
  • All ballots will be printed on specialized paper
  • Votes counted by three people
  • The process is recorded on camera

Secretary of State John Merrill is a defendant in the case as well, but he is not a member of the commission.

“The electronic voting committee is an entity that evaluates and assesses all electronic means of communication related to the administration of an election,” said Merrill.

He says the devices they review - the same ones under question in the lawsuit - are not connected to the internet.

“Our tabulators are not connected to the internet, they don’t have a modem component, there’s no way for data to be transferred electronically from point A to point B,” he said. “However, the electronic poll books that are used to check people in use a Bluetooth technology.”

Blanchard has said before how she supports a paper ballot system. WSFA 12 News reached out to her to talk about the lawsuit but did not hear back.

The next statewide election will be on June 21.

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