From everything I have read, it is clear that Georgia’s current touch screen voting machines need to be replaced with a safe, secure and up to date system. But what do Georgia voters want and need? According to news outlets, the voting machines that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has purchased for 106 million dollars have various problems including questionable security issues. On the other hand, paper ballots, which many experts prefer, might seem old-fashioned to some voters. Yet, in small and medium-size Georgia towns, pen-and-paper voting is the norm and nationwide more than 70-percent of voters use some form of paper ballot. In fact, paper ballots will soon be tried out in Austell, Kennesaw, Powder Springs and Smyrna.
Let me add one more piece of information. In spite of a reported state budget surplus of almost $3 billion, Gov. Kemp has asked for a 4-percent cut in the budgets of a variety of government agencies for this year and proposed a 6-percent cut in the budgets of the same agencies next year. This year’s $219 million cut would eliminate hundreds of jobs and freeze job vacancies. I’m sure Gov. Kemp has his reasons, but why then are we spending $106 million dollars on new voting machines that the secretary of state admits have problems and are untested?
Why don’t we use a hand-marked paper ballot system? Paper ballots are recommended by most experts as being accurate and safe and are estimated to cost around $30 million. Hand- marked paper ballots are already used in a number of cities and towns in Georgia. In fact, paper ballots will soon be tried out in Austell, Kennesaw, Powder Springs and Smyrna. They are recommended by most experts as being accurate and safe and are estimated to cost only $30 million. With the $70 million that we save, Gov. Kemp may not have to make deep cuts in the budgets of state agencies, services to citizens will continue and fewer state workers would lose their jobs.
Robert B. Covi