Group asks GA State Ethics Committee to look into voting bill heading to Senate

Georgia News

A group of Georgia voters wants the state ethics committee to look into a voting bill.

They presented a petition that calls for the state senate to hear from voting and computer science experts first.

It has already passed the house. Harlem Representative Barry Fleming is the sponsor of the bill.

Hours long lines, broken voting machines, wrongly identified votes and machines not working because of issues as basic as power cords were just some of the problems reported with Georgia’s voting machines during the last election.  

Republican house leadership disagreed, saying the election was a success because of registration numbers.

“There was no failed system,” said Rep. Trey Kelly. “Let me say it louder for those in the back: there was no failed system.”

“Let’s take a victory lap and understand it does not mean we won the war but the battle,” said Rep. Todd Jones.

House Bill 316, which passed along party lines and is now headed to the senate, would switch Georgia to a new electronic voting system.

“It calls for a voting system that goes against the advice of computer scientists, statisticians, election security experts, cyber security experts, post-election auditing experts and more,” said Rep. Jasmine Clark.

They say the system could be hacked. The bill’s sponsor says it is the best option.

“A touch screen leaves absolutely no room for doubt for voter intent. It lets voters make a clear choice with touch of button,” said Rep. Barry Fleming.

He also spoke against “pencil marked ballots”

But opponents say that’s misleading… 

“You mentioned pencils. I’ve been working on this for a couple years and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who advocated paper ballots recommend pencils as part of that,” said Rep. Scott Holcomb. 

They claim that the machines are being pushed through because of the relationships between legislators and lobbyists.

“Why are we voting for a system that is more expensive and less secure?” asked Rep. Sam Park.

“It is about voting machines lobbied by vendors,” said Rep. Bee Nguyen.

Vendors who can present any option — barcodes or verbatim print outs — except for paper ballots if the bill passes the senate.

Georgia’s Secretary of State says the new voting machines would be less expensive. 

“It is blatantly misleading to compare 10 years of costs for paper ballots to initial costs of machines,” said Rep. Park.

If that bill passes the state senate it will become law.

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