Lowndes Co. pilots new secure voting system

Lowndes Co. Board of Elections to receive new voting equipment

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Six specially selected counties across the state expect to test out new voting machines, which should help make elections more secure.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said they’re in the process of integrating these new systems across the state.

They call it a verified paper ballot system.

It’s set to incorporate the old-fashioned paper ballot method, alongside our current touch screen method.

Six specially selected counties across the state expect to test out new voting machines.
Six specially selected counties across the state expect to test out new voting machines. (Source: WALB)

“We’ll end up giving everybody the confidence that we got the election results correct," said Raffensperger.

Earlier Monday, Raffensperger stopped in Lowndes County.

During the visit, he spoke about the new pilot program that will include a new Dominion Voting System.

“Going forward, instead of casting the ballot, you’ll be able to print the ballot. So you press that and it’ll print out on the ballot. Then you can look at all your selections and you can say, ‘That’s who I wanted to vote for,'" said Raffensperger.

As opposed to completely going back to paper ballots.

“What does that Mark mean when they put an X? Did they really like that person? Or they didn’t like that person,” said Raffensperger.

The printed ballot will be a result of the voters making their choice on a touch screen system.

“But when they actually touch screen, every bubble that you select will be marked the same. We don’t get into that question of, ‘What is the voter intent," said Raffensperger.

After which, the voter will step over, and submit their decision to be recorded and then archived physically and electronically, allowing for future verification.

“Risk limiting audit: In other words, we’ll be able to scientifically and mathematically prove that the winner really won, and the loser really lost," said Raffensperger.

For the first time in almost 20 years, the new system will allow for physical recounts.

“We’ve been using the same technology since 2002. They needed to be updated from that standpoint alone," said Raffensperger.

Raffensperger said the new $107 million system is what people across the state wanted.

“Red states, blue states, purple states. They’re being used everywhere. There’s other companies with similar type systems. This is really the type of system moving forward," said Raffensperger.

Decatur County is also part of the six selected.

The Secretary of State said they’ll be ready with 32,000 machines statewide for the presidential primary in March.

The secretary also took a moment to address fears some raised about voting interference and cyber security issues.

This comes just weeks after the federal government released a report stating there was no evidence any voting machines had been manipulated.

Raffensperger said his office has been reaching out to non-partisan organizations and cyber security experts to weigh in ahead of the next election cycle.

“We have to really be on our toes. We understand the big lift ahead. No one has ever penetrated our voting systems. No one has ever penetrated our voting data reels. We understand that’s a big lift. We understand the challenges that we face with that," said Raffensperger.

The secretary said they’re aware hackers never take the night off, so they have to be on guard.

The state bought the voting machines after Governor Brian Kemp approved the funding earlier this year.

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