Voting machine companies will submit proposals this month to replace Georgia’s touchscreens with hand-marked paper ballots or ballot-marking devices. The Secretary of State’s Office posted a request for information Wednesday to review companies’ voting systems and their costs, which could range from roughly $30 million to $150 million. A competitive bidding process could begin next year. Georgia has used electronic touchscreens since 2002, a voting system that lacks a verifiable paper backup to ensure accuracy. Election integrity advocates say electronic voting computers could be hacked.
Three voting methods are being considered, according to the request for information:
• Paper ballots marked by hand, which voters would then feed into scanning machines for tabulation, with ballot-marking devices available as needed and for voters with disabilities. Ballot-marking devices are machines that record or print votes on paper before they’re scanned for tabulation.
• Ballot-marking devices for all voters.
• In-person early voting solely on ballot-marking devices, with Election Day voting primarily conducted on paper ballots marked by hand and then scanned.