US appeals court rejects Tennessee election security lawsuit

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MEMPHIS, Teen. (AP) — A federal appeals court has sided with a lower court in rejecting a lawsuit that challenges the security of voting machines in Tennessee's largest county.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a September district court ruling against the Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections lawsuit.

Appellate judges wrote that the plaintiffs failed to show that there's an imminent risk that people will hack voting machines in the county. The court rejected the lawsuit's citing of a separate case that required a county in Georgia to replace its identical voting machines after they were hacked twice.

“But even if we agreed with the court that examples of hackers disrupting those particular voting machines showed an imminent harm somewhere in Georgia — or for that matter anywhere in the United States — that does not translate into an imminent risk that individuals will hack the voting machines in Shelby County, Tennessee,” the ruling states.

The Shelby advocacy group had sued for a switch to handwritten ballots and a voter-verifiable paper trail, arguing that outdated touchscreen voting machines used in the Memphis area aren’t secure, and more safeguards are needed to shield the system from outside manipulation.

The Shelby County Election Commission is considering new machines that have a touchscreen component and also produce a paper trail. The Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections have pushed for officials to instead move toward hand-marked paper ballots that are then scanned.

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