Georgia’s outdated and unverifiable electronic voting machines will likely be replaced next year with paper ballots. But lawmakers and voters are debating what kind of paper-based voting system will deliver the most accurate and trustworthy results. Once considered cutting-edge, the state’s 16-year-old electronic voting machines have come under fire because there’s no way to ensure they’re producing accurate outcomes. They lack an independent paper record that could check results stored on computers. The machines, put into service after contentious recounts in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, pose a “concrete risk” to the state’s elections, a federal judge ruled in September. Election results could be hacked if someone gained access to voting machines or government election computers, according to testimony from computing experts. Some voters reported that the machines flipped their votes from one candidate to another in November’s election for governor. And there were low vote totals in the lieutenant governor’s race, which a lawsuit blames on the voting machines.
State lawmakers broadly agree that it’s time to replace Georgia’s 27,000 direct-recording electronic voting machines with a system that leaves a verifiable paper trail. With a paper ballot, recounts and audits could verify the accuracy of electronic tabulations.
… Roughly 70 percent of voters across the United States already use a paper ballot, according to Verified Voting, a Philadelphia-based election integrity organization. Georgia is one of four states that relies entirely on electronic voting machines without a verifiable paper trail, along with Delaware, Louisiana and South Carolina.