Federal judge orders Georgia officials not to wipe, reset or alter Dominion voting machines

A federal judge in Georgia has issued a temporary injunction barring state election officials from erasing data on the Dominion Voting System machines in three counties.

Late Sunday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten of the Northern District of Georgia directed Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and other state election officials to preserve data on voting machines in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee Counties.

Plaintiffs sought the emergency injunction as part of their effort to have their own experts conduct a forensic electronic inspection on the machines as part of attorney Sidney Powell’s case alleging vote fraud and ballot manipulation during the Nov. 3 election.

“Defendants are hereby enjoined and restrained from altering, destroying, or erasing, or allowing the alteration, destruction, or erasure of, any software or data on any Dominion voting machine” in the three named counties, Batten’s order said.

The temporary restraining order also instructs the defendants to file a brief by 5 p.m. Wednesday, laying out legal arguments as to why the court should not allow the forensic inspections.

“The brief should be accompanied and supported by affidavit or other evidence, if appropriate,” the order states.

During a Zoom hearing earlier in the evening, the defendants argued that the Georgia secretary of state has no authority over county election officials, and thus cannot order machines to be preserved.

Also, the defendants said that allowing machines to be inspected “would pose substantial security and proprietary/trade secret risks” to Dominion.

But defendants countered that the complaint could be altered to include county election officials as plaintiffs. In addition, they argued that the inspection could be performed for state experts as well and that any findings be sequestered and provided only to the court for further inspection.

In addition to ordering the machines’ data preserved, for the time being, Batten also ordered the state to provide plaintiffs with a copy of the contract between Georgia and Dominion.

The order came after a day filled with a flurry of legal action and two previous decisions by Batten.

Earlier, Wood noted on Twitter that Batten ordered the state “to maintain the statue [sic] quo & are temporarily enjoined from wiping or resetting any voting machines in the State of Georgia until further order of the Court.”

But Batten reversed his decision a short time later after the state argued it had no control over Georgia counties — a ruling that Batten’s third-order vacated.

If the state responds by Wednesday as ordered, plaintiffs will have until Thursday to respond to the state’s argument. Batten has scheduled a hearing on the original motion for Friday morning.

Last week, Powell filed suit in Georgia seeking to decertify the state’s election results giving Democrat Joe Biden a victory, alleging “massive election fraud” and “multiple violations” of state laws.

As part of the suit, Powell sought an “emergency declaratory judgment that voting machines be seized and impounded immediately for a forensic audit.”

“The scheme and artifice to defraud was for the purpose of illegally and fraudulently manipulating the vote count to make certain the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States,” said the complaint.

“There is incontrovertible physical evidence that the standards of physical security of the voting machines and the software were breached, and machines were connected to the internet in violation of professional standards and state and federal laws,” it further states.

“The massive fraud begins with the election software and hardware from Dominion Voting Systems Corporation (‘Dominion’) only recently purchased and rushed into use by Defendants Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and the Georgia Board of Elections,” the complaint adds.

“Sequoia voting machines were used in 16 states and the District of Colombia in 2006. Smartmatic, which has revenue of about $100 million, focuses on Venezuela and other markets outside the U.S,” it continued.

Jon Dougherty

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