Georgia's new voting machines by Dominion Voting Systems were demonstrated at the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Voters will make their choices on touchscreens, which are connected to computers that will print out paper ballots for tabulation. Photo credit: Georgia Secretary of State

Georgia’s new $107M voting system certified for use in elections

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified that Georgia’s new voting system is reliable and accurate Friday as state officials finalized a $107 million contract with Dominion Voting Systems.

The certification of the new voting system, which combines touchscreens and paper ballots, was required before it could be used in Georgia elections. The state had announced last week that Dominion won the state’s voting contract, before certification testing had been completed.

Raffensperger found that the Dominion system “has been thoroughly examined and tested,” according to his certification, filed in federal court Friday.

His office didn’t release the results of certification testing Friday, which was conducted by a Huntsville, Ala.-based company called Pro V&V. But state rules give the secretary of state broad discretion to certify the voting system.

“It is my opinion that this kind of voting system and its components can be safely used by the electors of this state in all primaries and elections,” Raffensperger wrote in the certification document.

The Dominion system was also certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in January.

Neither of the other two companies that submitted bids for the voting system contract, Election Systems & Software and Smartmatic, filed objections to the contract’s award before the deadline for a protest that expired Thursday.

Dominion received the highest overall score in the bidding process, in large part because it submitted the least expensive bid. ES&S received the highest score on the government’s criteria for a new voting system. Though cost accounted for just 25% of the overall score, it was enough to put Dominion on top.

Now comes a quick turnaround to get the new voting system in place for Georgia’s 7 million voters before the state’s March 24 presidential preference primary.

The Dominion system will replace Georgia’s 17-year-old electronic voting machines, which lack a paper ballot.

With the new machines, voters will still pick their candidates on a touchscreen computer, which is attached to a printer that will create a paper ballot. Voters can then review their choices and insert their ballots into scanning machines for tabulation.

The state bought more than 30,000 touchscreens that will start being distributed to county election offices within the next few weeks.

Then up to six counties will test the voting system in local elections in November before they’re scheduled to be used statewide in March.

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