Merle King, executive director for the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University, holds a voter access card, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Kennesaw, Ga.
Photo: BRANDEN CAMP / SPECIAL
Photo: BRANDEN CAMP / SPECIAL

Opinion: Build a voting system worthy of trust

Georgia’s new SAFE Commission should live up to its name in pursuing a new, secure ballot-counting apparatus.

Unlike some ill-fitting governmental acronyms, in this case, the name really says it all: SAFE.

As in Georgia’s new Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections Commission.

Established by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the SAFE Commission is charged with one of the most important tasks in a democracy — recommending a voting apparatus that will ensure Georgia’s election are just what the commission’s name implies — secure, accessible and fair. We’d add in a requirement that accuracy and completeness of election results be unimpeachable as well.

The SAFE Commission first met last month, but it’s never too early to point out what should be obvious — Georgia’s citizens and government deserve and should demand the best vote-recording system that is available. Every vote cast matters in the American Way, and this state’s election result-tabulating machinery must be up to the task.

Nothing less should be acceptable in a state as large and as influential as Georgia. The state’s approximately 6.5 million registered voters should require just that.

As the SAFE Commission leans into its task, debates over the best type of voting system are natural and should be welcomed. The conversation should be robust as the merits and shortcomings of various methods of electronic or paper-based balloting methods are explored. Georgia’s history of voting system complexity and the problems that’s caused should also be brought to the table. Ditto for past instances of misbehavior, or honest mistakes and shortcomings that led to incomplete or inaccurate election results.

On today’s page (click on links below), we offer two views on points that the SAFE Commission should consider in its work.

In the end, Georgia needs a voting system that is secure and works for all the citizens of this great state.

>> Opinion: Don’t repeat voting system mistakes of Georgia’s past

>> Opinion: Replace Georgia’s risky touchscreen voting machines

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