A lawsuit asking for emergency relief from electronic voting machines in Burnet County was thrown out of the 424th Judicial District Court on Aug. 30 by District Judge Evan Stubbs. The suit asks that all future elections be conducted with paper ballots only and seeks the seizure of the county’s voting machines and all materials relating to elections from November 2020 forward.
It was filed by Marble Falls resident Patricia Cope, who could not be reached for comment. An appeal is pending in the Third Court of Appeals.
The lawsuit named Election Administrator Doug Ferguson, Burnet County Commissioners Jim Luther, Damon Beierle, Billy Wall, and Joe Don Dockery, and County Judge James Oakley as defendants.
Cause No. 54047 uses the exact language as a series of similar lawsuits filed in other Texas counties, including Lubbock, Jefferson, and Hood. The suits were filed in August to beat the Sept. 3 deadline for destroying election materials in the November 2020 presidential election, a timeframe set by law.
State law mandates a 22-month holding period for election materials in all elections. Ferguson said he would keep the information stored and safe as the lawsuit makes it way through the courts.
He also assured local voters that Burnet County’s voting machines are “unhackable.”
“None of them are hooked up to the internet,” he said. “And neither one of our election computers has an ethernet connection, and they don’t work on wireless. The only way anything can be done to these computers or voting machines is in person.”
His office is under 24-hour surveillance with cameras posted throughout the building. Only three people have the combination to the office door’s sturdy, coded lock.
“A lot of the complaints made in the lawsuit are for things that don’t pertain to elections in Texas,” Burnet County Attorney Eddie Arredondo said. “I also think if they have an issue with the process, they should take it up with the Secretary of State. Burnet County is following the law of the state.”
All of the similar lawsuits in other Texas counties have been filed by residents of those counties.