ATLANTA — Georgia’s contentious battle for a new voting system is at the center of another complaint in federal court.

The Coalition for Good Governance, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and a group of attorneys — including Atlanta attorneys Bruce Brown and Cary Ichter — filed a supplemental complaint challenging the reliability of the state’s new touch-screen voting system, saying it violates constitutional amendments.

The voter advocates filed the complaint after a federal judge ruled last month that Georgia needed to do away with its old voting system. Widely opposing electronic voting, the nonprofit group, the Coalition for Good Governance, was planning to sue over the new system as well.

The suit says the new Dominion Voting System has security flaws similar to the previous DRE system, was not tested and certified properly and, if implemented, violates the First and 14th Amendments protecting voters rights to a transparent and anonymous process.

“The new electronic system converts voters’ votes and ballots into undecipherable bar codes, forcing voters to cast a vote that they cannot read,” Marilyn Marks, executive director of the coalition, said in a statement. “The bar codes can be miscoded or hacked without detection. Every voter, not just legal scholars, can see why this method of conducting elections is unconstitutional.”

Tess Hammock, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State's office, said the new system is separate from the old DRE system being challenged in court.

“The new Ballot Marking Device system is completely different from the DREs which are the subject of the suit,” Hammock wrote in a statement. “It is a different technology, on a different platform, from a different vendor. To try to say they are related somehow is an illogical leap. These machines haven't even been used yet in Georgia so they aren't even ripe to be litigated at all.”

Georgia voters who prefer landmarked ballots have previously sent a petition to the Secretary of State’s office, calling for a withdrawal of certification and re-examination of the system. Petitioners also claim it does not comply with Georgia’s state election code.

The new $107 million system — which voting officials are rushing to implement before the presidential primaries — will be the first update to Georgia’s election system since 2002.

Riley Bunch covers the Georgia Statehouse for The Valdosta Daily Times, CNHI's newspapers and websites.

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