GA Secretary of State discusses new voting system

WALKER COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – Something most of us can agree on is that voting is important.

And for Georgia voters, they’ve been executing this task using the same system for 17 years.

“Apple just introduced their Iphone 11 and they came out in 2006 and we’re still using with the DRE machines that we will be finishing up this year with the same technology where the software has not been updated until 2005,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger came to Walker County on Thursday to talk about the new Dominion Voting System the state unleashes next year.

On the Secretary of State’s website it shows that you’ll vote on a touchscreen, it prints out a paper ballot, and you put the ballot in a scanner.

“You have a paper ballot and so what that means is that for the first time in 17 years people in Georgia will actually be able to have a physical recount,” Raffensperger said. “Because we have a paper ballot we’ll now be able to start doing what’s called a risk limiting audit.”

For around $107 million the state will be providing local governments around 32,000 machines and 8,000 scanners and electronic poll books.

Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said the new system will cost them about the same to run.

“There will be some of the incidental costs for paper and toner and those types things that the counties will be responsible for, but the overwhelming larger cost is actually the technology and the equipment and the software. So the state is covering that 100 percent,” Commissioner Whitfield said.

What everyone might not agree on is the type of system the state is investing in.

“They are better than the old system, but they are not as good as some other new systems could be,” Walker County Democratic Chair David Boyle said “A hand-marked ballot is the safest, because it can always be retrieved and recounted.”

On Thursday, a report released by DEF CON explained that hackers were able to get into a machine to control it, like the ones coming to Georgia, by using a $28 dollar screwdriver.

Raffensperger said the hack was on a system that’s no longer made.

“I think it should be embarrassing on their part is we offered to give them the latest machines that we have from dominion voting systems but they weren’t interested in something like that and so they hacked into some old system,” Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger said it will be a very secure system.

The new paper and machine marking system will be in place in Georgia for the 2020 presidential election.

But in Tennessee, they’ll still be voting on paper ballots.

Categories: Featured, Local News, Walker County

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