Why Did a Georgia Judge Reverse an Order to Impound and Preserve Voting Machines?

The suit named the wrong defendants.

A viral Instagram post from right-wing commentator David Harris, Jr. claimed that a Georgia judge reversing his order for the state of Georgia to “impound and preserve the voting machines in the State of Georgia, and to prevent any wiping of data” is evidence that “SOMEONE HAS THE JUDGES IN THEIR BACK POCKET!”

A post shared by David Harris Jr (@davidjharrisjr)

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten heard a civil suit brought by pro-Trump activists against several Georgia officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The plaintiffs requested, among other things, that the results of the election be decertified and that Georgia instead certify President Donald Trump as the winner. The plaintiffs also sought a temporary restraining order to “preserve the voting machines in the State of Georgia, and to prevent any wiping of their data.” Batten granted this final request and issued an order stating that the defendants “are temporarily enjoined from wiping or resetting any voting machines.”

Shortly thereafter, Batten reversed his decision, noting that such an order was not enforceable as the state of Georgia does not control any voting equipment: county officials do. Batten wrote that the “Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that county election officials are within Defendants' control” and that the state officials “cannot serve as a proxy for local election officials against whom the relief should be sought.”

It is true that Batten initially ordered the state of Georgia not to wipe voting machines and then reversed his decision. However, such a reversal is not evidence of corruption, as the suit simply named the wrong defendants.

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