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Judge upholds voting machine use
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ATLANTA -- A judge has rejected a lawsuit that alleged electronic voting machines in Georgia are susceptible to fraud and should be scrapped.

Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson on Monday also refused to declare the machines unconstitutional. A coalition of groups calling itself Voter GA had brought the lawsuit.

Johnson issued summary judgment for the state just minutes after hearing two hours of oral arguments.

Lawyers for Voter GA said they planned to appeal. They said Georgia machines lack a paper trail, which is critical to verify that a vote was recorded correctly.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter said electronic voting is not impervious to tampering. But he said there have been "no documented cases of fraud" with the state's system. He called the touch-screen machines "state of the art" and said older voting methods, like paper ballots, are far more vulnerable to fraud.

"It is the best choice. It is not perfect," Ritter said.

Todd Harding, lawyer for Voter GA, said the machines violated voters rights to equal protection under the law by creating a paper trail for those who cast absentee ballots but not for those who vote electronically.

"It creates insecurity and uncertainty," he said.

The state started using the machines in 2002 following the chaos that surrounded the recount of presidential ballots in Florida. Georgia was first in the nation to implement a system statewide.

Before Monday's hearing, Johnson said any ruling that blocked the use of the machines would not apply to the Nov. 4 election.

The courtroom was packed with opponents of electronic voting.

"Police state wins again," said one after the ruling.

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