Q: What is the State of Georgia doing about updating the voting system?
A: The Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission was formed to make recommendations to the Georgia legislature for a new voting system that would change voters’ negative view of voting integrity and bolster public confidence in future elections. Although the Commission acknowledged that the current outdated touch-screen voting system is susceptible to error, malfunction, and security breaches, SAFE Commission members recommended the use of a computerized voting-machine system that will cost taxpayers $100 to $150 million--a system at odds with current standards and not supported by the SAFE Commission’s own cyber-security expert.
Q: What do the voting-machine EXPERTS recommend?
A: Cyber-security experts recommend that the State of Georgia purchase a paper-based voting system in which the voter is able to mark the ballot with a pen or pencil and then place it in a scanner that records and counts the vote. The actual ballot is then deposited in a secure box. Hand-marked, human-readable paper ballots allow voters to review their choices before casting their votes and can also be used for recounts and audits.
Q: How much will a new system cost taxpayers?
A: A new statewide voting system can be very expensive, but a hand-marked ballot system is less expensive than an electronic-machine system and can use commercial off-the-shelf hardware components and open-source software that can reduce costs further and help make maintenance, customization, and replacement of failed and obsolete equipment easier.
Q: What does the Department of Homeland Security recommend?
A: The Department of Homeland Security and Congressional committees have endorsed hand-marked paper ballots.
Q: What systems do other states use?
A: Simple hand-marked paper ballots and ballot scanners are the most widely used voter system in the United States. Seventy percent of the nation votes on paper ballots because paper ballots provide a durable, physical record that can fend off cyber attacks, cannot be lost due to errors or malfunctions, and is cost effective and auditable.
Q: How would disabled voters use this system?
A: Like all systems, there will be individual voters who will need assistance with voting. A limited number of designated computerized ballot-marking devices would be available to provide accessibility for disabled voters.
Q: What voting system do Georgia citizens want?
A:According to a recent poll of Georgia citizens conducted by TheAtlanta Journal-Constitution, the majority of Georgians (55%) want a hand-marked paper and pencil system.