Catoosa County debuts new touchscreen voting machines that create a paper trail

It's election day for many people across the country. In some Georgia counties in our area, voters are testing out a new ballot system that prints out a receipt. (Image: WTVC)

For 17 years, Georgia has used the electronic voting for residents to cast their ballots. For the first time in nearly two decades, a change will be made.

Sam Teasley with the Georgia Secretary of States office says the touchscreen element will feel similar, but now an added step for security will be taken.

“The biggest difference is at the end of that process, you haven’t actually voted until you reviewed your piece of paper which is your ballot, and put it into the scanners.”

It's an addition Teasley says should give voters a peace of mind, and confidence that their vote will be recorded accurately.

Earnest Hawk agrees. He's been a Catoosa County voter since 1989, and says this new paperwork acts as a safety net that will keep him confident in his vote.

“I go to the grocery store or somewhere else I get a receipt so I want a receipt with my voting,” says Hawk.

This newly piloted system is only available in Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Decatur, Lowndes, and Pauling Counties. For the most part, the voting process has gone smoothly thus far according to Teasley, who has been in Catoosa County monitoring polls on Tuesday. One voter tells us there could be a negative side to this new system.

“The only thing is it seems like it’ll be slow, so I think everyone will want to think about doing early voting.”

Those were concerns voiced by Catoosa County voter Kaye Vaughn. Teasley says the pilot tests will be reviewed before the presidential elections in 2020.

“The whole reason you do a pilot is to make sure what you see what you think you have is what you have and if there are any kinks that need to be worked out then we can figure them out by March 24th.”

Here’s how the whole process works:

Before, voters had to fill out paperwork to validate their ID. Now, you hand the ID to a polling employee who validates the ID electronically. Then voting cards are handed out to take to the electronic poll. You cast your vote, print out the receipt-like paper, review it, then officially cast your ballot.

This process is used in other states around the country, but now for the first time in Georgia.

Depend on us for the latest and most up-to-date election coverage. See election results as they come in here.

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