FAQ

Here you can find answers to common questions about our new, paper-ballot system. Hover your mouse (or click on mobile) on a question to see the answer.

Why is the State of Georgia replacing its current voting system?

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The Georgia State Legislature approved the purchase of a new, statewide voting system in order to replace aging, paperless election equipment dating back to 2002. The new system offers Peach State voters more modern, up-to-date technology with important security and transparency features. The new system will also produce a paper ballot to allow for verification and auditing of election results.

How did the state choose the system?

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Georgia’s Secure, Accessible, and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission presented a report to the state legislature in January 2019, which used the expert recommendations to adopt a new law for the state’s voting system purchase. The procurement process was overseen by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services and handled the same way as other competitive bids. An evaluation committee scored each applicant based on an appraisal of cost and ability to meet the state’s voting system specifications, which included accuracy, security, auditability, and ease of use for poll managers and voters. Dominion Voting Systems had the highest overall score and was awarded the contract.

How Will the System Work with the Suspension of the Presidential Preference Primary Because of the Coronavirus?

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If you haven’t voted in the Presidential Preference Primary, you can vote when you vote in the May 19 General Primary, either early, by absentee or in person on Election Day. If you have voted, your vote will be counted May 19 and you can vote for all other primary races scheduled for the May 19 general primary. If you vote in person, polling places are taking precautions recommended by public-health experts for sterilization.

Why is this the best system for Georgia?

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The new, paper-ballot system offers reliability and assurance, balancing the need for both security and accessibility in the voting process. Touchscreens have proven to reduce the rate of under-votes, over-votes and stray-marked votes in elections. They can specifically alert voters if they have skipped or missed a ballot selection, ensuring that all voting choices are complete. The system also provides full accessibility for people with disabilities and/or language or literacy challenges, allowing all voters to privately and independently cast a ballot using the same system. These touchscreens also produce paper-ballots for auditing and reduce paper volumes overall.

How does the new voting system work?

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The Secure the Vote GA System features user-friendly touchscreen selection like Georgia voters have enjoyed using for the last 17 years, with the addition of a secure, paper ballot. Once a voter has confirmed their choices on the screen, they will print their ballot recording their choices in plain language and in a QR barcode that provides extra security and speeds processing. With ballot in hand, they can look over their selections again. When they are satisfied that the ballot reflects their choices, they walk to a scanner and insert the ballot. The scanner will record an image of the ballot as well as tally the votes. The ballot then drops into a locked, tamperproof ballot box. The paper ballots are used for verifying and auditing results. The next-generation system also offers enhanced audit capabilities for security, as well as features to improve the voter experience.

What is the plan for installing the new system for use in Georgia elections?

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The system has been delivered to every county. It has been used successfully already in a pilot in six counties during the November 2019 municipal elections and during two special legislative elections, including two public audits that verified the results. It was used statewide during early voting for the Presidential Preference Primary. It’s first statewide Election Day use will be May 19 for the general primary.

The Secretary of State’s office is conducting public demonstrations around the state, with additional county voter outreach opportunities.

How much does the new system cost, and what does the purchase include?

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The system cost is approximately $107 million. The contract includes voting system hardware, software, implementation, training and support for the new statewide system.

What are the general system components?

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Georgia’s paper-ballot system includes:

  • ImageCastX Ballot Marking Device (the touchscreen): A universal voting device with accessible options, the touchscreen operates with a printer that produces a paper ballot.
  • ImageCast Precinct Polling Place Scanner: Allows ballots to be scanned, capturing ballot images for auditing/review.

How is the new system secured?

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The new, paper-ballot system will enable Georgia to defend against cyber threats and deliver reliable election results which can be audited using paper ballots.

  • Like the existing voting machines, the new machines do not connect to the Internet, which limits cybersecurity risks. They also create an auditable paper-ballot, with other enhanced review capabilities for the public.
  • Dominion’s product security protocols meet or exceed federal U.S. Election Assistance Commission Voluntary Voting System Requirements.
  • The new, paper-ballot system has significant upgrades to help protect against cyber threats, including use of encryption, multi-factor authentication and role-based access controls.

What if I’m concerned about computer printed ballots with bar codes?

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Most tabulation systems that count paper ballots currently use a barcode to accurately and efficiently count each vote. The Dominion touchscreens also produces a human-readable ballot summary for voter verification. Plus, election officials test and affirm the security of the system prior to every election, as well as during post-election audits. While voters can be confident in the ability of the paper-ballot system to ensure trustworthy and accurate election results, Dominion will be working with the Secretary of State’s office to address perceived concerns regarding use of marked ballots that feature barcodes. For example, the state can make scanned images of all ballots cast in statewide elections available, allowing anyone to do a ballot count to check the accuracy of results.