Georgia for the first time in nearly a decade will pilot the use of paper ballots this November in a local municipal election, the first step toward what officials said could be a statewide switch to a new voting system. Voters in Conyers will use the ballots along with new electronic record, voting and tabulating machines for a Nov. 7 election for mayor and two City Council seats. If all goes as planned, it’s the first time voters — excluding absentee voters — will have cast ballots on a system with a paper component since 2008. Back then, officials attached paper spools for a local election on some of the state’s existing electronic voting machines but decided the process was too cumbersome to proceed.
It also sets the stage for conversations at the state Capitol about how Georgia can transition away from the aging election system it currently uses. The state last overhauled its system in 2002, at a cost of at least $54 million, when it committed to the now-familiar touch-screen direct-recording electronic voting machines, or DREs, that millions of voters here still use today.
At the same time, it eliminated a paper trail of recorded votes — something election experts now warn against.
“Purchasing a new voting system is no small matter,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office is coordinating the pilot program with Rockdale County election officials. “This is a large investment for Georgia, but voting technology has progressed to the point where I feel comfortable inviting a vendor to demonstrate to Georgians a system that could last us for many years to come.”
Full Article: Georgia elections: State to pilot paper ballot voting system.