After a competitive selection process, Secretary of State Brad
Raffensperger selected Dominion Voting Systems to implement a new verified
paper ballot system. The state is taking a phased-in approach, with a county
pilot program for the November 2019 municipal election cycle. Statewide system
replacement will be completed for the March 24, 2020 Presidential Preference
Primary, according to the Georgia Secretary of State website.
The system cost is approximately $90 million. The contract includes voting system hardware, software, implementation, training and support for the new statewide system.
“Elections security is my top priority,” said Raffensperger. “We look forward to working with national and local elections security experts to institute best practices and continue to safeguard all aspects of physical and cyber-security in an ever-changing threat environment.”
The Georgia Secretary of State's office has already partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and private cyber-security companies to provide network monitoring, cyber-hygiene scanning, and cyber-security assessments. Many Georgia counties have also partnered with DHS to provide physical security assessments of their election offices, according to sos.ga.gov.
“We are honored to partner with the State of Georgia to deliver a best-in-class system that is fully adaptable to state needs,” said Dominion CEO John Poulous. “Election officials and voters alike can be assured they are using the most modern, accessible and security-focused system on the market today, with paper ballots for every vote cast to ease auditing and ensure confidence in results.”
“As Election Director my job is to make sure every voter has a positive experience,” said Rockdale County Elections Supervisor Cynthia Willingham. “We are grateful to the Secretary of State for the new system and will ensure every voter is able to efficiently and accurately cast their ballot.”
The Georgia State Legislature approved the purchase of a new, statewide voting system in order to replace aging, paperless election equipment dating back to 2002. The new system offers Georgia’s voters more up-to-date technology with added security and transparency features. The new system will also produce a paper ballot to allow for verification and auditing of election results.
The Dominion Voting Democracy Suite (“DSuite”) system features a ballot-marking device (BMD) that allows voters to verify their choices made on a touchscreen tablet, before printing a paper ballot and placing it into an optical scanner for counting. The paper ballots are used for verifying and auditing results.
BMDs can reduce the rate of undervotes, overvotes and stray-marked votes in elections. They can specifically alert voters if they have skipped or missed a ballot selection, ensuring that all voting choices are complete. The system also provides full accessibility for people with disabilities or language or literacy challenges, allowing all voters to privately and independently cast a ballot using the same system, according to sos.ga.gov.
The Secretary of State’s office plans to conduct public demonstrations of the new system across the state this fall. A full schedule will soon be available on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website: https://sos.ga.gov/.