ATLANTA — The Georgia Secretary of State’s office said that voters will be using new voting machines in the 2020 election.
Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Aaron Diamant was the first to break the news on Twitter. He has been following this story since the very beginning.
The $106 million contract was awarded to Dominion Voting Systems.
“Elections security is my top priority,” said Secretary of State Brad 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.”
Georgia's voting system drew national scrutiny during the closely watched contest for governor last November, in which Brian Kemp, a Republican who was the state's top elections official at the time, narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Raffensperger said he's confident in the new system's security.
“We’re excited not just for our office, but for Georgia that we’ve made a decision," he said. “I had no dog in the hunt. We let the chips fall when they may, and we had a team of evaluators who went through the process.”
Dominion’s bid was the lowest of the three bids the state received, and the company scored high on security.
Voters will make their selections on touch screen machines, which print out full-size paper ballots. Voters can review their choices before running their ballot through a scanner that tallies the votes and keeps paper copies of the ballots.
“We’ll be able to begin the process of doing what’s called a risk-limiting audit to make sure that, whatever the election result was, we’ll be able to verify that the election was done accurately,” Raffensperger said.
“They’re saying all the right things right now,” said Common Cause Georgia executive director Sara Henderson.
And while voting rights advocates like Henderson told Channel 2 Action News she'll continue to push for hand-marked paper ballots counted by humans, she said, "This is still giving us two things that we wanted -- that's verifiability with the voter and also auditability -- so we can't really complain as long as the paper is the official ballot of record we feel like this is a good move."
The new system will also speed up the voter check-in process, leading to shorter lines at the polls.
Raffensperger said his office is already partnering with DHS and private cybersecurity experts to develop best practices.
Georgia's presidential primary election will be held March 24, 2020.