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December 12, 2017
Steve Marshall
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General issued the following statement today
responding to confusion concerning the State’s position on preserving digital images of election
“Media and social media stories that the State of Alabama is seeking to prevent the preservation
of records in the event of a recount or challenge of the December 12 election are false,” said
Attorney General Steve Marshall. “Recent confusion over Alabama election record keeping
procedures has led to a misunderstanding of the facts. Alabama election procedures already
provide a path to a recount. The plaintiff’s lawsuit and resulting Circuit Court order, which
have fortunately been stayed, would have only created chaos and delay in the election process.
The Alabama Supreme Court’s actions helped ensure a smooth election and will not result in
the destruction of records needed if there is a recount or a challenge to the election.”
Here are the facts.
1) Digital images of ballots are not required in the event of a recount or an election contest.
Original paper ballots are preserved while electronic images generally are not
preserved. The same records have always been used in election contests and recounts.
2) The vast majority of Alabama ballot scanning machines are not programmed to preserve
the images. To change them, as the plaintiffs seek, would not mean simply flipping a
switch, but would require the third-party vendor, Elections Systems and Software, to
travel to 2000 voting machines around Alabama to change them. This process could not
be completed in a day. To attempt it the day before and day of the election would cause
chaos, confusion, and delay.
3) The lawsuit was filed against the Secretary of State and a member of his staff, but no
other parties. The Secretary does not have the authority to require changes to voting
machines. That authority resides with Alabama’s probate judges who were not included
in the plaintiff’s lawsuit. Therefore, the proper parties were not before the court in order
to provide the relief plaintiffs seek.

Last week, just before the special election, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Alabama
Secretary of State seeking a temporary restraining order requiring the State to preserve digital
images of ballots in the event of a contested election. On Monday, the temporary restraining
order was granted by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge. Later in the day, the
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
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Attorney General’s Office filed an emergency motion to stay the court order which was granted
by the Alabama Supreme Court Monday night.
Copies of the State motion and Alabama Supreme Court stay are linked here.