Petition for paper ballots in Georgia denied by state board

The Georgia State Election Board voted unanimously Tuesday to deny a request to require hand-marked paper ballots in November’s election.

The board's 4-0 vote came one day before a federal judge will considerlawsuit seeking to mandate paper ballots in the Nov. 6 general election.

Election integrity advocates say Georgia's electronic voting system is untrustworthy and could be vulnerable to hackers, but election officials say it is accurate and secure.

"It's entirely too close to the election to make a massive change," said Ralph Simpson, a member of the State Election Board, to voters trying to switch to paper ballots. "We haven't heard any evidence that any of the things you describe have actually occurred in Georgia. They're either manufactured or imagined."

Jeanne Dufort, a voter from Madison, said the State Election Board should call for paper ballots to ensure Georgia’s election isn’t stolen.

“The hackers aren’t waiting, and neither should we,” she said. “Paper ballots are the only safe way to conduct elections right now.”

More than 4,500 people signed an online petition asking the State Election Board to require paper ballots.

But State Election Board members said they’re confident in Georgia’s touchscreen voting machines, and they said any change should come from the Georgia General Assembly next year.

State lawmakers are considering a transition to a voting system that includes a verifiable paper backup in time for the 2020 presidential election.