Josh Findlay and Anelise Powers write for the Federalist about voting officials who hurt Americans’ trust in the electoral process.

Election integrity advocates eagerly await the final verdict in a Georgia case about the security of the state’s voting machines. The decision would significantly affect the election procedures in this key state and beyond. Yet, regardless of the outcome, the case brought by a group of bipartisan plaintiffs against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger points to a growing lack of confidence in elections that stretches beyond Georgia and party lines.

The Curling v. Raffensperger lawsuit alleges that Georgia’s electronic ballot-marking devices are unreliable for counting the results, threatening a constitutional right to vote. One concern is that voters are unable to confirm that their vote is accurately reflected in the QR codes. When voters opt to vote in person on a machine, they make their selections, and then a ballot is produced that features both a QR code and readable human text, indicating for whom the individual voted.

A discrepancy between a QR code and the readable text is not totally unheard of. Although the issue concerned a different brand of machine, Curling plaintiffs took the stand and pointed to an issue in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, where voting machines flipped votes during the last Pennsylvania municipal election. Election officials in Northampton reassured voters that although the readable text on their ballot indicated a vote for a different candidate than desired, the QR code still accurately reflected their intended choice.

The glitch itself was concerning, but the way election officials addressed the issue is perhaps just as problematic. While Northampton County acknowledged the situation, they completely neglected to address complaints that election officials at certain precincts had instructed voters to vote the opposite of their intention so that the readable text would flip to reflect their desired candidate — a suggestion that could have affected the results of the election. Over in Georgia, several Curling plaintiffs took notice of the oversight that Northampton seemed to try to sweep under the rug and cited it as an event contributing to their skepticism toward their own machines.