Georgia lawmakers are considering a bill to replace the state’s 17-year-old electronic voting machines with a system that combines touchscreens and computer-printed paper ballots.
Here’s how that system would work and what cybersecurity and elections experts say.
Voters tap a touchscreen to make their selections, similar to the state’s current voting machines.
2. PRINT AND REVIEW
The touchscreen is attached to a printer that spits out a paper ballot for voters to review their choices.
3. SCAN AND TABULATION
Voters insert their paper ballots into optical scanning machines for tabulation.
Cybersecurity experts and election integrity groups oppose the touchscreen-and-paper voting system, called ballot-marking devices. They say ballot-marking devices could be hacked to alter election results. Unlike ballots bubbled in with a pen, ballot-marking devices print text of voters’ choices and encode those choices into bar codes for machine tabulation. Critics of ballot-marking devices say voters wouldn’t be able to tell if the bar codes matched their printed choices.
Georgia election officials support ballot-marking devices, saying the touchscreens are easy to use and create a paper ballot that could be used to check election results. Backers of ballot-marking devices say computer-printed ballots avoid the problems of hand-marked paper ballots, which could be invalidated by stray pen marks or human errors. Ballot-marking devices also include accessibility options to accommodate disabled voters, such as adjustable type size.
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