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Judge sides with supervisors on ballot images

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to ensure county elections supervisors preserve digital ballot images.

A group of voters filed the lawsuit in November against elections supervisors and the Florida secretary of state, alleging that some supervisors were not preserving digital ballot images created by voting machines.

The lawsuit said the supervisors are required to do so by law. But Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker last week issued a six-page ruling that dismissed the case, saying in part that federal law doesn’t provide an avenue for the suit.

Walker wrote that provisions in the law "do not indicate Congress’ intent to create a private right or remedy. Instead, the enforcement mechanism appears to rest with the Attorney General of the United States or his representative."

Walker also rejected constitutional equal-protection arguments raised by the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed after the November elections, which led to three statewide recounts. It alleged that as a "'result of defendants’ failure to comply with federal and state law requiring the preservation of all election materials for 22 months, digital ballot images used for tabulating votes and possible post-election adjudication are in the process of being destroyed and overwritten."