Cobb County Elections Officials Prepare for Paper Ballot Transition.
The state of Georgia is leading the nation by rolling out the largest deployment of election equipment in U.S. history before the March 24 presidential preference primary. The move comes as part of a national effort by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for state and local election officials to secure every American’s vote via a paper ballot system that can be verified by the voter and audited by election officials.
A paper ballot system will make voting in Georgia more secure, as, for the first time, voters will be able to view selections on a printed computer ballot before submitting them for tabulation. The new voting system allows the state to audit its elections to ensure accuracy.
The Cobb County Elections and Registration Board has been preparing for a seamless transition to the new paper ballot system. As a result, Cobb Elections Preparations Center workers were busy last month unpacking and getting new election machines ready for the March primary. Most of the machines are in and, despite a tight timeline, workers should be fully trained by March.
“Our staff here is working really hard to get everything boxed down and boxed back up again and put into the right places up on our racks so that we have room to work,” Cobb County Elections and Registration Director Janine Eveler said from the preparations warehouse. “We’ll be starting our testing soon, so we need some floor space. We’ve got about 90% of what we are allocated by the state in distribution that they set up. We’re in great shape. We’ll have plenty of equipment to conduct the March primary, so now all we have to do is get everything where it needs to be and configure it for the election.”
Voters can visit https://securevotega.com to watch a video showing the new voting equipment and process.
The Cobb Elections Board began its logic and accuracy testing of the new equipment Jan. 29, with a test of the absentee mail central tabulation. The advance in-person voting and tabulation test is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Elections Preparation Center (2405 Cobb Parkway NW, Kennesaw), while the election day voting and tabulation test will be at 9 a.m. on Feb. 18. Testing will continue day to day until completed, and is open to the public.
“We were fortunate enough to do one of the pilots in November, and again in December, when we did our city elections,” Eveler said. “So, even though we were piloting the hand-marked paper ballot, we got to use all of the pieces of the new equipment in a smaller capacity, as we had to have the touch screens for the disabled voters.”
For more information on Cobb County Elections and Registration, visit www.cobbcounty.org/elections. .
The Voting Experience
1. Present photo identification, and receive voter card.
2. Place card into a ballot-marking device.
3. Make choices by selecting options on a screen.
4. Review selections on the screen.
5. Print ballots on a stand-alone printer stationed beside each touchscreen.
6. Review selections on the printed ballot. Selections can be changed at this step.
7. Place printed ballot into a scanner attached to a large ballot box.
8. Voting is complete.
– Katie Beall, editor of Around Acworth.
Georgia officials take steps to clear confusion over voter registration.
In late 2019, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office announced that it is extending the voter registration of roughly 22,000 people whose registration had been canceled as part of routine, legally required list maintenance. The 22,000 records that are being moved into inactive status are people who last had contact with the voter registration system between January and May 2012.
“We are proactively taking additional steps to prevent any confusion come the day of the election,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “We are taking the unprecedented step to give certain individuals who have been identified as having moved and in need of updating their information additional time to vote or contact their county elections office to update their registration.”
The affected individuals voted or had some other type of contact with the voter registration system in early 2012, but not since. When the list-maintenance process was begun in June, 2015, it searched for the registrations of people who had not voted or had any other type of contact with their county elections office (like submitting an updated registration, requesting an absentee ballot, or signing a petition) since before June 1, 2012, and classified them as inactive voters. The additional step gives voters who had contact with the system in the first five months of 2012, but not since, additional time in inactive status prior to being removed from the rolls.
All voters are required by Georgia law to update their voter registration information if they move. Voters can check that their voter registration is
accurate and up-to-date on the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page (www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do), and update their voter registration information through that same page.
A 1993 federal law requires states to maintain their voter registration list. Georgia is one of nine states that cancels the registration of people who have not had contact with the registration system for a period of time and have not responded to mail sent to their last known address asking for confirmation, a process spelled out in a decades-old state law and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
People who have not had contact for three years were classified as inactive voters and were sent a confirmation request. If they did not respond, then, after two general elections — four years — they were sent another notice by mail with a postage-paid postcard asking again for a confirmation or an update on their address.
None of these 22,000 responded to either request.
Ways they can contact the registration system include voting, signing a petition on any topic, applying for or renewing their driver’s license, contacting their county voter registrar, or updating their address online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. All of these ways also are available to any eligible person whose registration was canceled, so they can register again to vote.
“We have added many ways to make it easy to register to vote and update registrations, which is why we have a record number of registered voters in Georgia,” Raffensperger said. “Georgia is a leader in voter convenience, with automatic registration, three weeks of early voting — including a Saturday — and no-excuse absentee voting.”and no-excuse absentee voting.”
– Reprinted with permission of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.