New voting machines up for discussion tonight in Watkinsville, Winterville

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (pictured above) is the featured speaker at tonight’s meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party: it is a 6:30 session at Oconee County Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Watkinsville.  He’s expected to discuss the new voting machines we will use in March.

Georgia's new voting machines are on display tonight in Winterville: they will be the focal point of a town hall meeting set for 7 o'clock at the Depot in Winterville. The new machines, with their touch screens and paper backups, will be used for the first time in March. Voters in Athens and across the state will cast ballots in presidential preference primaries on March 24. 

From the Athens-Clarke Co Government website…

As of the March 2020 Presidential Preference Primary election, Athens-Clarke County voters will begin using new voting equipment for the first time in nearly 20 years. The new system is paper based, while still using secure technology for voter accuracy. The new system is managed by the Georgia Secretary of State's office for use throughout Georgia and completely replaces the previous voting system.

When voting with the new system, a voter will check in using a photo ID and receive a voter access card, which does not contain any information about the voter. Using touchscreen ballot marking devices, a voter will make their selections, review their selections onscreen, print out a paper ballot, review their selections in-hand, and scan their paper ballot into an optical scanner themselves when ready.

This provides an opportunity for voters to review their ballot both onscreen and in-hand. Voters will be alerted onscreen if they leave a section blank, don't cast a vote, or do not make all available selections, but will not be required to cast a vote in any race or to make all available selections. After scanning a ballot, the ballot is deposited into a secure container. Voters will not take the ballot with them.

The new system not only creates digital images of all ballots, but also securely keeps the printed versions for the Board of Elections as a paper trail for recounts or audits, if needed.

The Board of Elections has a test unit available for the public to try out until early February. The unit can be tested at the Board of Elections Office, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The unit has a series of questions about Georgia to allow voters to try out different kinds of votes, such as those that might require multiple selections in a single election.

Staff will also have a test unit at several public events and locations scheduled during December and January. Additional locations and dates are listed at accgov.com/elections.

The Georgia Secretary of State has also launched the Secure The Vote website at www.securevotega.com that contains information about how to vote using the new equipment, the legislative process of purchasing the equipment from Dominion, frequently asked questions, online voter registration, newspaper articles about counties that took part in the pilot project, and additional information about the new equipment.

For more information about the local demonstration units, visit accgov.com/elections or contact the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections at 706-613-3150.

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