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Voting machine lawsuit over for county

Hart InterCivic Inc. hybrid voting machine

A Hart InterCivic Inc. hybrid voting machine leaves a verifiable audit trail. Burnet County uses the equipment, which it will have to upgrade by Sept. 1, 2026. A recently dismissed lawsuit sought to discontinue the use of electronic voting equipment in the county and return to paper ballots. Courtesy photo

A lawsuit against Burnet County seeking to do away with electronic voting in favor of paper ballots has ended with a final action from the First Court of Appeals Texas Judicial Branch. 

The appeals court will send a mandate to issue to the Burnet District Court on Friday, July 28, in the case of Patricia Cope v. Burnet County et al. A mandate to issue closes out an appeal. The case is then sent back to the original court, an appeals court clerk told DailyTrib.com.

“The whole process is now done,” the clerk said, adding that all of the due dates for motions have passed without any filings from the plaintiff, who is a Marble Falls resident. The First Court of Appeals dismissed the case on May 11

Burnet County Attorney Eddie Arredondo verified that assessment. 

“I think the matter is just done,” Arredondo said. “We will continue to try to work with Ms. Cope to see if we can find common ground because, in the end, what she wants and what we want is the same: a safe election that is depended upon by the public to say ‘this is the true result.’” 

Cope filed the lawsuit on Aug. 22, 2022, naming Election Division Director Doug Ferguson, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, and county commissioners Jim Luther, Damon Beierle, Billy Wall, and Joe Don Dockery as defendants. 

It was dismissed by the 424th Judicial Court in Burnet on Aug. 30 by District Judge Evan Stubbs. It was then appealed.

Cope had not returned phone calls from DailyTrib.com for comment by the time of this story’s publication.

suzanne@thepicayune.com