Georgia’s new elections chief asked lawmakers Wednesday for $150 million to replace the state’s outdated electronic voting machines. In doing so, he all but closed the door on a hand-marked paper balloting system that experts say is cheapest and most secure. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Georgia legislators meeting for budget hearings that a new voting system is his top priority. Cybersecurity experts and voting integrity activists say the touch-screen machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and can’t be audited effectively because they produce no verifiable paper record. The current machines and Georgia’s registration practices became the subject of national criticism during last year’s governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp served as secretary of state and refused calls to resign from overseeing his own election. He stepped down two days postelection after declaring himself the winner.
Two main systems offered by election equipment vendors have been considered as a replacement. Ballot-marking devices have an electronic touch screen where voters make choices and then print a paper receipt that is read by a scanner. The other system has hand-marked paper ballots that are read by an optical scanner.
… The three votes for hand-marked paper ballots came from two Democratic lawmakers and the commission’s lone cybersecurity expert, Georgia Tech professor Wenke Lee.
Lee explained why he favored hand-marked paper ballots in an opinion piece published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week. “Paper provides the trail of evidence for post-election audits to determine if software caused an error in election outcomes and does so without re-running an entire election. Paper is human readable and manually countable when needed,” Lee wrote.
Full Article: Georgia SOS seeks to replace criticized voting machines.