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U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in Midland City, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Alabama's high court stayed an order to 'preserve' all ballot images from tonight's election

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Updated December 12, 2017 11:20 AM EST

The Alabama Supreme Court stayed Montgomery County Circuit Judge Roman Ashley Shaul's order to "preserve all digital ballot images" in Tuesday's hotly contested special election for Alabama's vacant U.S. Senate seat, AL.com reported.

A judge has directed Alabama election officials to keep all digital ballot images determining the results of a hotly contested Senate race ending Tuesday, according to AL.com.

AL.com on Monday reported that the order came in response to a lawsuit filed last week on behalf of four Alabama voters.

The group argued that Alabama is required to maintain what are essentially digitized versions of the paper ballots its voters fill out in the voting booth under federal and state law.

“All counties employing digital ballot scanners in the Dec. 12, 2017 election are hereby ordered to set their voting machines to save all processed images in order to preserve all digital ballot images,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge Roman Ashley Shaul wrote in Monday’s order.

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“After hearing arguments and reviewing the filings, it appears that Plaintiffs and similarly situated voters would face irreparable and immediate harm if digital ballot images are not preserved,” he added.

The plaintiffs’ attorney on Monday applauded Shaul’s order, arguing that otherwise all digital ballot images would be destroyed once Tuesday’s Senate special election concluded.

“[The images] need to be preserved at least six months under the statue,” Priscilla Duncan said.

“People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that’s what counted,” she continued. “But it’s not, the paper ballot is not what’s counted.”

“That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election … If there’s ever an election challenge you need to have what was actually counted.”

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Duncan added that destroying such images allegedly opens the door to potential hacking as there are no hard copies of the ballots.

“The Department of Homeland Security notified our Secretary of State here that Alabama is one of the 21 states that had been targeted for hacking of election systems,” she said, referencing the special election for a House seat representing Georgia’s 6th congressional district earlier this year.

Tuesday’s special election will fill a Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions after he was confirmed as President Trump’s attorney general last February.

The race has attracted national attention due to the sexual misconduct allegations against GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Multiple women have accused Moore of making sexual advances upon them when they were underage teenagers and he was in his 30s.

Moore has fiercely denied the allegations, which have raised Democratic hopes that Doug Jones, their Alabama Senate candidate, can claim victory there.

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