Judge allows lawsuit seeking paper ballots in Georgia to advance

ATLANTA — A lawsuit attempting to require paper ballots in Georgia elections can move ahead, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg rejected a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges that the state’s current electronic voting machines are unsafe and should be replaced with hand-marked paper ballots.

Georgia’s 17-year-old voting machines are already set to be replaced with a system that includes paper ballots before next year’s presidential primary election, but officials plan to use existing machines in municipal elections scheduled for this fall.

Totenberg wrote that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit “paint an unsettling picture of the vulnerabilities of Georgia’s voting system.”

The plaintiffs, who are election integrity advocates and concerned Georgia voters, criticized the state’s existing voting system because it could allegedly be hacked, with no paper trail to verify that vote counts were accurate.

“Plaintiffs essentially claim that the direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system in Georgia is unsecure, is unverifiable, and compromises the privacy and accuracy of their votes,” Totenberg wrote Tuesday.

Attorneys for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have argued that there’s no evidence that the state’s voting machines have been tampered with during elections.

Raffensperger’s office declined to comment Tuesday.

Totenberg ruled last fall that the state’s electronic voting machines posed a “concrete risk” to secure elections, but she declined to order a switch to hand-marked paper ballots just weeks before November’s election.

The lawsuit will also challenge Georgia’s upcoming voting system, which will include paper ballots printed out from touchscreens.

— Atlanta Journal-Constitution

N.C. day care center to close, months after toddlers found on highway

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina day care is closing months after 2- and 3-year-olds wandered onto a highway.

The children left the child care center at Pinedale Christian Church, and five of them were found along a Winston-Salem road that had a 55 mph speed limit, WGHP-TV reported at the time.

Drivers and a police officer stopped to help the unsupervised children, WXII-TV reported.

A sixth child was found “trapped between two doors,” and day care workers didn’t know any of the kids had left, the Winston-Salem Journal said in December.

The toddlers were outside on a playground before they slipped into the church and made their way through the front door of the building, The News & Observer previously reported.

Days after the escape, a state official inspected the facility and found supervision violations, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

The Rev. Matthew Sink on Monday announced Pinedale Christian Church’s child care center will close its doors June 11, WFMY-TV reported.

Sink said the church examined its center and determined “because the day care is attached to the church, and the church is always busy with events, they would not be able to meet the standards of security needed for the day care,” according to the station.

— The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Kodak Black lied to get guns before Pompano Beach shooting, authorities say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — South Florida rapper Kodak Black lied on official documents in January when he applied to buy three weapons, one of which was found at the scene of a Pompano Beach shooting in March, according to federal investigators.

A rival rap artist was the apparent target of the shooting, which happened in Golden Acres, the neighborhood where Kodak Black grew up, investigators said. But no one was wounded.

Kodak Black, who was born Dieuson Octave and had his name legally changed to Bill K. Kapri, was arrested last week on his way to the Rolling Loud Festival at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. A federal judge set a $500,000 bond, and Kapri remains in custody in Miami-Dade County. He’s charged with making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm.

Kapri lied at least three times when he purchased a Century Arms Mini Draco Romanian pistol, a 9 mm Sig MPXK9 pistol, and a .380 Sig P238 pistol from a gun store in Hialeah on Jan. 25, according to investigators.

He was required to answer whether he was under indictment, whether he had ever been convicted of a felony, and whether he was an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

In each case, according to federal prosecutors, Kapri lied by answering no. Kapri is under indictment in South Carolina for a 2017 rape, was convicted of a 2013 carjacking as a juvenile and has a history of marijuana use.

Prosecutors outlined the alleged deceptions in a motion to have Kapri’s bail offer rescinded and keep him in custody.

Investigators didn’t identify the rival rap artist who was the intended target of the shooting. According to investigators, the gun found was the 9 mm pistol that Kapri had purchased in January.

The bullets still were in the gun. The vehicle that witnesses said was used during the shooting had been rented to Kapri days earlier, investigators said.

— Sun Sentinel

Lawmakers spurn May as she offers ‘one last chance’ for Brexit deal

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday urged lawmakers to seize “one last chance” to approve a deal for Britain to leave the European Union, after they rejected her Brexit deal three times.

But senior lawmakers in her own Conservatives and opposition parties rejected May’s offer and said they planned to vote against the deal.

“The prime minister’s latest proposals are worse than before and would leave us bound deeply in to the EU,” tweeted influential right-winger Jacob Rees-Mogg, who leads a group of some 80 euroskeptic Conservative lawmakers.

“It is time to leave on WTO terms,” Rees-Mogg wrote, referring to the default position of using World Trade Organization rules in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Many of the concessions announced by May appeared to be aimed at lawmakers from the main opposition party, Labour, including a parliamentary vote on whether the country should hold a second referendum on leaving the EU.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would also oppose the revised deal.

“We cannot support this bill, because it’s basically a rehash of what was discussed before,” Corbyn told the BBC. “I can’t see how it can get through Parliament.”

Liberal Democrat lawmaker Ed Davey told the broadcaster that he was not convinced by May’s offer of a vote on holding a second Brexit referendum because there was “no cast-iron guarantee” attached.

Speaking to reporters at Downing Street, May warned that lawmakers opposing her deal, expected to be presented to Parliament early next month, would be “voting to stop Brexit” and failing to deliver the result of the 2016 referendum.

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader in the Parliament, noted that she also promised to make a statement to lawmakers on Wednesday.

“She is supposed to do that in Parliament before speaking outside,” Blackford tweeted, adding that May’s conduct was “utterly disrespectful and a breach of convention.”

Blackford said the SNP’s lawmakers will also vote against May’s deal.

May’s Cabinet backed her amended plan earlier Tuesday.

— dpa