A map and data compiled by Verified Voting, nonpartisan election accuracy advocacy organization, shows voting equipment across the United States. Georgia is one of three states that will use ballot-marking devices for all in-person voters, and 44 states use ballot-marking devices to some extent.
Photo: Niesse, Mark (CMG-Atlanta)
Photo: Niesse, Mark (CMG-Atlanta)

Georgia is one of a few states relying on touchscreen-and-paper voting

The kind of voting system rolling out in Georgia is gaining ground across the country but remains much less common than paper ballots filled out by hand, according to a new national map of voting equipment.

Georgia is one of three states that will use touchscreens and ballot printers for all in-person voters this year, according to Verified Voting, a nonpartisan election accuracy advocacy organization. Delaware and South Carolina will also use this kind of voting system statewide.

Many states use similar equipment but on a smaller scale to accommodate voters with disabilities. The voting computers, called ballot-marking devices, are available in parts or all of 44 states, often alongside hand-marked paper ballots.

About 18% of voters nationwide, more than 37 million, will use ballot-marking devices as their primary voting method this year, according to figures provided by Warren Stewart, a data specialist for Verified Voting who worked on the map. That figure includes 7 million registered voters in Georgia.

That’s a sharp increase from elections in 2018, when roughly 2% of voters used ballot-marking devices, Stewart said.

The most widespread voting method in the nation is paper ballots with voters’ choices bubbled in with a pen. About 70% of voters, 149 million, use hand-marked paper ballots.

There are still 12% of voters who cast their ballots on electronic voting machines that lack a paper ballot, which is the kind of system Georgia used from 2002 to 2019.

The Verified Voting map also shows a snapshot of the United States voting equipment industry.

Election Systems & Software is the largest voting equipment provider in the country, followed by Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic. Dominion won Georgia’s $104 elections contract in July.

Verified Voting’s map, which was updated last week, now makes a distinction between jurisdictions where most voters are using hand-marked paper ballots or ballot-marking devices. Previously, the map didn’t distinguish between hand-marked and computer-printed ballots.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.