Voting equipment across Georgia will undergo security “health checks” ahead of the 2024 presidential election, including efforts to verify that software hasn’t been altered, according to a plan announced Friday by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Voting touchscreens, ballot scanners, and election management systems will be tested to ensure they’re operating correctly and haven’t been tampered with.
The decision to examine Georgia’s voting equipment follows revelations last year that supporters of then-President Donald Trump paid tech experts to copy the state’s election software in Coffee County in early 2021. Raffensperger’s office replaced Coffee County’s voting equipment last fall.
Georgia uses voting technology manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems, which recently won a $787.5 million settlement in a defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which promoted misinformation about the outcome of the 2020 election.
“I don’t think there is a more tested voting system in the country than the one we have in Georgia,” said Elections Director Blake Evans. “We passed every test after a close presidential race in 2020, including a hand-audit and a full recount. And it passed every test in high-profile elections in 2022 as well.”
In addition, state election officials said Friday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will assess physical site security of the storage and warehousing of all election equipment in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. Nineteen voter check-in devices were stolen from a DeKalb County elections warehouse last month.
The secretary of state’s office will also pilot an upgrade to Georgia’s voting system software this year, from Democracy Suite 5.5a to Democracy Suite 5.17, which was recently certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission but hasn’t yet been deployed in any U.S. jurisdiction.
However, because the update and testing process will require “tens of thousands of man hours,” the software won’t be installed statewide until after next year’s elections.
“We will move in a responsible, deliberate and mature way that will put the needs of voters and our election workers first,” Raffensperger said.
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