Thursday will mark the last day of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session, and several bills, including proposals that would replace the state’s 16-year-old electronic voting system and give victims of childhood sexual assault more time to sue their abusers, await action by either the House or Senate. The final days of the session are generally chaotic as lawmakers push to vote on as many bills as possible and use legislative maneuvers to hitch stalled proposals to other bills. Here’s a look at some of the latest action from the General Assembly and what is expected in its final days: A proposal that has passed the Senate but awaits a vote in the House would move Georgia from its 16-year-old electronic touchscreen voting system with no paper backup, to either a touchscreen system that prints a paper ballot or paper ballots marked by pencil.
Republican Rep. Ed Setzler of Acworth, one of the bill’s primary backers, said it was needed to ensure that election results could be audited if there were claims or evidence of irregularities and to bolster voter confidence.
The proposal would leave much of the exact specifications about the machines selected to the current and next secretary of state through a procurement process.
But critics, including advocacy groups and several Democratic lawmakers, say the measure doesn’t go far enough. Verified Voting, a group that advocates for transparent elections, said that the legislation falls short because it does not fully commit to manual counting of “voter-marked paper ballots” for audits and recounts.