Electronic voting machine or paper ballot? The debate and controversy may not be over in Georgia. That’s despite a recommendation from a state commission tasked with studying how to move forward into Georgia’s election future. The Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections Commission known as “SAFE” is recommending the state buy new kinds of machines which would provide a paper ballot and or paper form that would have a record of the voter’s results to be used as a backup. The recommendation is supported by the new Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
But State Representative Carolyn Hugley isn’t yet convinced. “The experts tell us that paper ballots would provide us with what we need at less cost with greater security and it would be an audit trail to ensure the confidence of the voter that elections are being held fairly.”
Hugley is the chair of a newly formed group, The Voting Rights Caucus which she says wants to make sure voting rights in Georgia are protected. Hugley says that includes the method of voting. “In 2018 in Georgia, the election amplified some of the problems that we have in the state,” she told me. “I think people are still concerned about the voting experience. There is a lack of confidence that every vote was counted and that votes were counted as they were cast.”
Hugley says they want the caucus to be a bi-partisan group and a bi-partisan effort to find the best solutions for the state.
It’s estimated that a new voting machine system might cost as much as $100 million while a paper ballot system could be much less at about $30 million.
Hugley says a number of states are moving to a paper ballot system and while it’s not known how the Georgia Legislature will ultimately vote on this issue she said, “we want to make sure that in the next election there is no uncertainty.”