The results are in from this month’s test run of a voting system that could bring paper ballots back to Georgia: It was easy to use and fast, but it would come with a high cost to taxpayers.The trial of the touch screen-plus-paper ballot voting system “came off without a hitch” when it was tried during the Nov. 7 election for Conyers’ mayor and City Council, Georgia Elections Director Chris Harvey said. Though this voting system would be an improvement over Georgia’s 15-year-old paperless machines, an election transparency group called Verified Voting says the state should stop using touch screens and return to the simple efficiency of filling out ballots with pens or pencils, like about 70 percent of the nation. During the trial run, voters picked their candidates on touch-screen machines, which then printed out a filled-in paper ballot that reflected their choices. Then voters could review their paper ballots for accuracy before feeding them into a trash can-shaped machine, which scanned the ballots, counted them and deposited them into a locked container.
If Georgia buys this type of system, it would be the first time it would be implemented statewide anywhere in the nation. Because the touch screens only print out ballots, they’re little more than “a very expensive pencil,” said Susan Greenhalgh, the vice president of programs for Verified Voting.
By comparison, she said an election system that requires voters to mark ballots by hand before they’re scanned by a machine could cost Georgians as little as $30 million, saving tens of millions of dollars.
“It would be unnecessarily costly for the state to spend all that money,” she said. “If you’re physically marking a ballot, there’s a pretty good chance it will be counted as the voter intended.”
Full Article: Potential new Georgia voting system passes first test.