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Federal judge reapproves emergency order blocking Georgia from wiping state voting machines

The order is part of Sidney Powell's ongoing election lawsuits in Georgia.

Updated: November 30, 2020 - 10:42am

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order late Sunday night barring Georgia election officials from resetting or otherwise altering Dominion Voting Systems machines used during the November presidential election. 

The order was issued as a part of attorney Sidney Powell's ongoing election lawsuit in Georgia and was the third emergency order issued Sunday night to ensure "voting machines be seized and impounded immediately for forensic audit by plaintiffs' experts," according to Powell's suit.

However, Judge Timothy Batten Sr. told Powell that her request to seize and impound the voting machines failed because the voting equipment she wants to impound is in the possession of county election officials. So any injunction the court issues would extend only to the defendants and those within their control.

"Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that county election officials are within defendants' control," the judge wrote. "Defendants cannot serve as a proxy for local election officials against whom the relief should be sought."

Still, Batten told Powell she could amend her complaint by adding election officials in relevant counties to the list, and in the meantime, defendants are "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 Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee counties."

The effect of the judge's order is that the voting machines will not be allowed to be touched for the sake of resetting or reprogramming by election officials until Powell has had time to amend her lawsuit.

According to an affidavit from a Republican poll worker, an election official on Nov. 25 said that the Dominion ballot-counting machines were scheduled to be reset on Monday in order to be used in the recount effort requested by the Trump campaign, the deadline for which is midnight on Dec. 2.

The poll worker, according to the affidavit, alerted a supervisor due to concern over wiping the machines. 

"I am seeing lots of notices from lawyers about possibly impounding the machines," wrote the poll worker. "Lawyers are now saying that the machines should be confiscated immediately before this happens to protect forensic data. They are saying those machines need to be impounded ASAP. Yikes. Maybe I'm being overly paranoid but let's be sure this is what we're supposed to be doing."

"It's what we are supposed to do," the supervisor replied. "It will take a court order to stop this process — so I guess we need to keep watching the news."

According to the supervisor, Atlanta election officials have already wiped their voting machines. 

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