Georgia lawmakers didn’t pass a proposal Thursday that would have replaced the state’s electronic voting machines amid deep disagreements over how to safeguard elections. The measure, Senate Bill 403, died at midnight, the end of this year’s legislative session. The House had approved an amended version of the bill earlier Thursday, but the Senate rejected those changes. Georgia is one of the last five states to rely entirely on electronic voting machines that don’t leave an independent paper backup. Roughly 70 percent of the country uses paper ballots. While many legislators wanted to replace Georgia’s hackable electronic voting machines with a system that uses paper ballots, they couldn’t agree on how to do so.
Several election integrity groups pressured lawmakers to reject the legislation because it allowed the possibility of voting machines to mark ballots with bar codes for computer tabulation. They said bar codes would have left the state’s elections vulnerable.
They preferred a voting system that relied on pen-marked paper ballots, saying reducing the influence of technology would help secure elections.