Georgia Voting and Iranian Tanker

Grind for August 19th
“Doctors are just the same as lawyers; the only difference is that lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you too.”

– Anton Chekhov

Good Luck

The Headline

State of Georgia to use outdated voting machines for municipal elections

The Grind

Federal judge Amy Totenberg on Thursday denied a request to use hand-marked paper ballots for the state’s upcoming municipal elections.

Instead, voters will rely on a direct-recording electronic (DRE) system described by plaintiffs as “unsecure, unreliable, and grossly outdated.”

The Details

In 2018, Totenberg denied a request that would have blocked the DREs from being used in the midterm elections.

This time around, Totenberg’s decision directs the state to stop using the DRE system at the end of 2019 and orders state officials to come up with a plan to “address errors and discrepancies in the voter registration database.”

Officials are also tasked with creating a backup plan in case the state’s new election system is not up and running in time for the primary election in March.

“The Court remains concerned…about the State’s capacity to manage a transition to paper ballots for the 2019 elections while overseeing and undergoing a simultaneous transition to the newly enacted voting system during this time,” she wrote.

Starting in 2020, the state will use new touchscreen machines that print out paper ballots. The ballots include a QR code that is scanned and stored.

Final Decision

The Headline

Gibraltar releases Iranian tanker

The Grind

Gibraltar’s Supreme Court this week ordered the release of an Iranian tanker despite offers from US officials to seize the tanker themselves.

The tanker was impounded in July on suspicions that it was carrying oil to Syria (a violation of EU sanctions). Iran responded to the incident by capturing a British tanker traveling in the Strait of Hormuz.

That ship – the Sterna Impero – remains in Iranian hands.

British officials hope the decision will spur Iran to release the Stena Impero and its crew, which have been held captive since July 19th.

The Details

The United States’ offer to take control of the Iranian ship has been largely interpreted as part of the Trump Administration’s pressure campaign on Iran.

In all likelihood, newly-elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is more concerned about Brexit than the Iranian tanker, and wants to see the crew of the Stena Impero returned home.

In the meantime, the UK and US are participating in a maritime coalition that seeks to protect maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf region using warships as escorts.

Did you know… There was once an undersea post office in the Bahamas.