State Voting System Update Gaining Bipartisan Support

Georgia's voting machines leave no paper trail.
Georgia's voting machines leave no paper trail.
Credit Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The call to overhaul Georgia’s 15-year-old voting system is getting bipartisan support. State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have proposed on social media to work together on an update.

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The problem isn’t a new one. Georgia’s voting machines leave no paper trail — that means there’s no way to confirm that what someone voted for is what gets recorded.

Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb, who represents District 81, said what’s different about this moment is the national conversation about cybersecurity.

“Part of Russian foreign policy — this is really simple, it’s not complicated — they purposely involve themselves in manipulating the elections in Western democracies,” Holcomb said.

He said ensuring the public’s belief in the accuracy of Georgia’s voting system is especially important in a time when hacking headlines are a daily occurrence.

In 2002, the last time the state’s voting machines were replaced, it cost more than $50 million. Holcomb said he hopes federal dollars could make up the lion’s share of the cost of a new system.

“One of the fundamental parts of our government is to make sure that our elections are fair. Whatever the cost may be, I think the Georgia taxpayers will gladly pay it,” said Republican state Rep. Scot Turner, who represents District 21.

He said he’ll push legislation next year to get the state to move to an updated system, something he said is long overdue.

“I definitely think that because the headlines have been so sensational, that there are people are looking at the issue more closely,” Turner said.

He said he’s hopeful a new system could be in place before the 2018 elections.

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