Georgia lawmakers are considering replacements for the state’s touch-screen voting machines that were adopted statewide 15 years ago and that have been criticized because they don’t produce a paper trail. The state House Science and Technology Committee heard on Thursday from representatives of three different voting technology companies. “We’re just trying to understand what options the state of Georgia has,” said state Rep. Ed Setzler, a Republican from Acworth who chairs the bipartisan panel. … Susan Greenhalgh with Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that pushes for measures to make elections accurate, transparent and verifiable, said after the hearing that system the state currently uses is old, has raised security concerns and has already been abandoned by other states for that reason. “The time is now for Georgia to fix their voting system,” she said. “It’s good the legislature is taking this up and we hope they move quickly.”
The three companies the committee heard from are: Election Systems and Software, based in Omaha, Nebraska; Denver-based Dominion Voting; and Hart InterCivic, based in Austin, Texas. The company representatives walked the lawmakers through different voting systems, including touchscreen machines that produce a paper record that is then scanned and paper ballots that are filled out by hand and then fed into an optical scanner.
Greenhalgh told the committee that her group, which was founded by computer scientists, doesn’t endorse a specific vendor but recommends that states use paper ballots completed by hand and then read by an optical scanner. Much of the rest of the country has already moved to that option, she said.
The low-tech nature of a power ballot makes them reliable even in the case of an event like a power outage, and it’s also a cheaper option because the state would only need to buy a scanner for each polling place, rather than multiple individual voting machines, she said.