Critics of new voting system in Georgia file petition

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – After winning a round in federal court last week, some lawsuit plaintiffs who are advocates for paper ballots, haven’t stopped there. Monday, they offered information saying they have 1,400 signatures on petitions and they want the Secretary of State not to be able to certify a contract with a company for a new voting system.

“There are a number of problems with the certification,” says Marilyn Marks from the Coalition for Good Governance. Marks is one of the lawsuit plaintiffs and a strong advocate for a paper ballot only system.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office said last month it has awarded a contract to Dominion Voting Systems to implement “its new verified paper ballot system.” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said, at the time, that election security is his top priority.

Marks and other critics, however, still dispute whether the new system will be better than the current system, which the federal judge ruled cannot be used in Georgia after the end of this year.

The current system is machines that count and store ballot results inside the machines, which has come under fire in terms of security issues.

The new system calls for voters to use what are called Ballot Marking Devices which print out paper (we’re told with the tallies from the voter) and then that paper is taken to a digital scanner where the vote is actually recorded.

The State says the system is verifiable in terms of having a paper trail in case election results are disputed.

“This is the right technology for Georgia,” Raffensperger told News 3 in March.

Critics, however, contend the new system will not give the voter a paper ballot in the traditional sense. It is something marked by a machine, according to Marks, who sent News 3 a ballot from Colorado where the system is currently being used. It showed a list of names and a square (that looked similar to a bar code).

“Because the official ballot is this square with all the dots in it, a fancy bar code that’s basically encrypted that no one can read, what they’are asking the voter to is essentially cast that ballot into that scanner without knowing exactly what is in that code, ” said Marks.

Again, the State says the paper printed from the Ballot Marking Device allows the voter to check their choices and then take that paper to the optical scanner.

It seems the sides won’t agree on the new system perhaps any more than they agreed on the old one. Marks says as part of their ongoing lawsuit, plaintiffs will file additional information to try to stop the new system before it starts.

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