Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
“Election Security is my Top Priority”
As Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger made it his top priority to secure Georgia’s election systems. Following bipartisan legislation, recommendations from a bipartisan commission, and a fair bid process, Secretary Raffensperger and his office selected the most secure and cost-effective voting system in America.
The Secretary and his team has partnered with Department of Homeland Security (DHS), The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), as well as private sector security experts to provide a layered approach to cyber security.
In November of 2019, Georgia was the first state in the Southeast to conduct a risk-limiting audit of an election: a systematic way to validate the integrity of election results.
Bipartisan Commission Recommends Secure Paper Ballot System
In April 2018, Georgia Secretary of State’s office formed the bipartisan Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections Commission (“SAFE Commission”) to study different options for future voting systems and see what investments the state should make to replace the aging system implemented by Secretary of State Cathy Cox in 2002.
The SAFE Commission consisted of legislators from both parties, local election officials from large, small, urban, and rural counties, bipartisan election lawyers, and other election experts.
The SAFE Commission traveled the state soliciting feedback from Georgia’s voters, voting rights advocates, election officials, cybersecurity experts, accessibility experts, and former Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who previously led the state through a statewide implementation of a new voting system.
The SAFE Commission held multiple hearings, reviewed responses to a Request for Information (RFI) that voting system vendors submitted, witnessed demonstrations of different types of voting systems, and researched post-election audit procedures with the aim of providing legislative recommendations before the Georgia General Assembly’s next legislative session. The SAFE Commission’s final report is available here.
In a report issued January 10, 2019, the SAFE Commission recommended that Georgia should adopt a voting system with a secure, verifiable, and auditable paper ballot and that every effort should be made to implement that new system in time for the 2020 election cycle. The SAFE Commission further recommended that, given the state’s successful history with touchscreen voting, Georgia should keep the touchscreen aspect of voting but add a secure paper ballot and an audit of those paper ballots.
Georgia General Assembly Passes Bipartisan Legislation
After the SAFE Commission report, Representative Barry Fleming introduced HB 316 in the Georgia General Assembly. HB 316 codified the SAFE Commission’s recommendations and made many important updates to Georgia election law. It passed the House of Representatives and the State Senate was signed by the Governor in April 2019. A copy of HB 316 is available here.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger Calls for Fair, Open Bid Process
Once HB 316 passed, the Secretary of State’s office then issued a Request for Proposals for a new voting system with secure, verifiable, and auditable paper ballots. The proposals were evaluated by members of the Secretary of State’s office, county election officials, disability experts, and technology experts. After a competitive and thorough evaluation process, Dominion Voting Systems was selected to provide Georgia’s new voting system, which will consist of touchscreen ballot-marking devices paired with printers and scanners to produce a secure, verifiable, and auditable paper ballot.
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.