Georgia Republicans are taking actions that will undermine the state’s voting system — and in a gerrymandered state government, they might just get away with it. When U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg upheld Georgia’s current voting system in October, she criticized the state’s machines for their vulnerability to “malicious intrusion.” Her decision was limited by the fact that the midterm elections were too close for the government to completely overhaul its existing system. After, lawmakers of both parties expressed interest in a new method of voting. This presented Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger an opportunity to restore voters’ confidence in their voting systems by investing in paper ballots, but his response has been lackluster.
Instead of choosing the cheaper and more reliable paper option, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffesberger want to spend $150 million on ballot marking machines, which are vulnerable to the same issues as Georgia’s current touchscreen system. Ballot marking machines produce paper records containing only barcodes, making it impossible for voters to verify that their votes were accurately recorded. Rather than selecting this unverifiable and expensive method of counting ballots, Georgia should employ a paper ballot system, the only voting method that leaves an incontrovertible paper record.
Paper ballots would also solve a serious issue with Georgia’s current system: the lack of a physical receipt. That lack of a paper trail makes it impossible to accurately verify votes in a recount. This problem is exacerbated by readily accessible online videos that show how to easily hack Georgia’s voting machines and change votes. The National Academy of Sciences has established that these insecurities warrant the solitary use of paper ballots by the 2020 elections.