Georgia House votes to conduct more audits of computer vote counts

Two statewide races would be audited each election
State representatives vote Monday on House Bill 977, which would require audits to verify two statewide races after every election. The House voted 164-3 in favor of the legislation, which now heads to the Senate for it consideration. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

State representatives vote Monday on House Bill 977, which would require audits to verify two statewide races after every election. The House voted 164-3 in favor of the legislation, which now heads to the Senate for it consideration. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

The Georgia House overwhelmingly voted Monday to increase the number of election audits, requiring human verification of two statewide races each election.

The bill is the latest Republican-sponsored proposal to tweak election rules ahead of this year’s presidential race, along with proposals to eliminate computer codes from ballots, investigate the secretary of state’s office, post ballot pictures online, add watermarks to ballots and ban ranked-choice voting.

“It increases transparency, accuracy and accountability in our elections,” said state Rep. John LaHood, the sponsor of House Bill 977. “It allows us to move on from the status quo and dig in and expand the number of hand-count verifications that we’re doing.”

After the 2020 presidential election, a manual audit of all 5 million ballots cast confirmed the computer count that showed Democrat Joe Biden defeated Republican Donald Trump by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.

The bill calls for the top race on the ballot to be audited each election along with another statewide race chosen by the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and the minority leaders in the state House and Senate.

The House passed the bill on a 164-3 vote, and it will next be considered by the state Senate.

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