The holidays have slowed deliveries somewhat, but Raffensperger said Cobb County already has “virtually 100 percent” of its equipment and DeKalb will be ready after this week’s deliveries. Fulton County is scheduled to get its equipment next week and Gwinnett County the week after that, he said.
Kentavios Ford (left) & Ronald Hardaway unload the largest shipment of Georgia’s new secure paper-ballot voting machines at the Dekalb County Voter Registration & Elections offices in Avondale Estates on Monday December 30th, 2019. 2839 units are to be delivered for Dekalb County. (Photo by Phil Skinner).
Raffensperger said that, statewide, about 70 percent of the new voting machines have been certified, a necessary step before they’re shipped to their respective jurisdictions.
Elections offices across Georgia have had voting systems to train staff for several months and have attended training events with the state. But giving poll workers and the public as much time as possible to learn the new system will be crucial.
The state conducted a test run with the much-debated new voting system in November, utilizing the Dominion machines in six counties: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Decatur, Lowndes and Paulding. A total of 45 incidents were reported, including machines that rebooted in the middle of voting and problems with the tablets used to check-in voters.
State officials described the issues as “mainly human-based” and Raffensperger said runoff elections conducted a month later in two of those counties were “flawless.”
“We did learn from that and a lot of it was human error,” the secretary of state said Monday. “That’s why it gets back to training, training, training, and then training, training training. You can never do enough of it.”
In DeKalb, voters could be spending a lot of time with the new machines in 2020. A special election to fill the expired term of now-former Sheriff Jeffrey Mann will be held during March's primary and, if necessary, a runoff would be held a month later.
The election to decide DeKalb’s next full-term sheriff will then be held in May, and a runoff could follow that as well.
(left to right) Chairman of the elections board Samuel Tillman, Director of Voter registration & Elections Erica Hamilton & Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks as Kentavious Ford unloads as pallet from the largest shipment of Georgia’s new secure paper-ballot voting machines at the Dekalb County Voter Registration & Elections offices in Avondale Estates on Monday December 30th, 2019. 2839 units are to be delivered for Dekalb County. (Photo by Phil Skinner).
DeKalb County elections director Erica Hamilton said she’s confident her team will be ready. They’ll continue training ahead of March’s primary while also trying to get the public up to speed.
Hamilton said her office has already hosted a handful of community outreach events and has many more planned, including large event for the public to try out the machines on Jan. 10.
DeKalb Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson also plans to host a "voting town hall" on Feb. 5.
“I’m looking at my calendar for January and it’s loaded,” Hamilton said.