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Blanchard withdraws from electronic voting machines suit; Siegelman backs it

Former Gov. Don Siegelman said he was the victim of electronic vote manipulation in his failed 2002 race for governor.

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Former gubernatorial candidate Lindy Blanchard is withdrawing from a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s electric voting machines, while former governor Don Siegelman is lending his support to the challenge.

Blanchard joined the lawsuit after finishing second to Gov. Kay Ivey in the Republican gubernatioral primary. But Blanchard asked the court last week to dismiss her from the case, with no reason started for the departure.

The suit will continue under other plaintiffs including state Rep. Tommy Hanes, R- Jackson County, and Dr. David Calderwood of Madison County.

Siegelman filed a declaration in support of the suit, claiming that voting manipulation cost him the governor’s seat 20 years ago.

“I personally experienced how votes can be electronically manipulated,” Siegelman said in the declaration.

Unofficial numbers in the 2002 race showed Siegelman defeating Republican Bob Riley for the seat, but Baldwin County election officials said a glitch had resulted in 6,000 additional votes for Siegelman.

Without those votes, Riley went on to win the election by 3,000 votes.

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“It was a physical impossibility that thousands of votes could have simply disappeared from my vote total and no other candidate be impacted,” Siegelman said in the declaration.

Secretary of State John Merrill and five members of Alabama’s Electronic Voting Committee are defendants in the case.

Attorney General Steve Marshall, who is representing the defendants, has asked the court to dismiss the case entirely, writing in a declaration that the suit is “based on nothing more than speculation and innuendo.”

The motion to dismiss the case will be held on Aug. 30 in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to prevent the machines from being used in the upcoming General Election.

Merrill said the machines have never caused an issue and should remain in use for the election.

“We’ve never had a negative incident or occurrence related to the use of electronic voting equipment,” Merrill said. “No vulnerabilities have ever been exposed or introduced at any level and I’m confident that will remain the standard. If I was not confident, we would be addressing that.”

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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