New voting machines debut for county

— By Carol McLeod, The Augusta Chronicle, December 2, 2019 — Jefferson County Elections Superintendent Susan Gray demonstrated the new election machines required by the state at a recent county commission meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 12, “It is paper based,” she said of the new equipment. “That’s what the people of Georgia wanted.” Gray said this new voting […]
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December 2, 2019 —

Jefferson County Elections Superintendent Susan Gray demonstrated the new election machines required by the state at a recent county commission meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 12,

“It is paper based,” she said of the new equipment. “That’s what the people of Georgia wanted.”

Gray said this new voting process will be able to be audited.

“An important part of the new voting system is the ability to audit with the use of paper ballots. This feature provides the confidence voters deserve,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Voters will still use touch screens to select their candidates. The device will print a paper ballot, which voters will then place into a secure container.

Gray said all of the precincts are handicap accessible. Each station will have a printer.

Commissioner Tommy New asked about reviewing the ballot.

Gray explained the process is similar to what has been used; and, the voter will be able to review the ballot prior to printing at which point voters can deselect a choice and select another. The voter will be able to review the paper ballot prior to casting the vote. If there is an error in the printed ballot, voters let a poll worker know. The ballot has to be voided; and, the voter can then begin the process again.

Gray said the state provided 65 work stations to the county.

She brought a work station to the commission meeting and allowed individuals to try the machine. Gray said organizations and churches can schedule a demonstration and she will come out and show the machine.

The first use of the new system in a Georgia election was Nov. 5 in local elections in six counties, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Decatur, Lowndes and Paulding. More than 27,000 votes were cast in the pilot counties, roughly one out of 10 cast statewide.

A Georgia law enacted this year requires audits after state elections beginning in November 2020.

“The new system features the convenience of touchscreen selection that people told us they have enjoyed on Georgia’s first-generation electronic voting machines, and they now have the security of a verifiable paper ballot,” Raffensperger said. “The implementation of the new voting system is going like clockwork. The system is running as designed.”

Glascock County elections superintendent, Denise Dallas, said she is still in training and the update is in process.