Elections are more than Election Day. In the upcoming presidential primary, overseas and absentee voters have already their ballots. Yet only 50% of Georgia’s 159 counties had received their new ballot marking tablets and printers by the last week of January, and virtually none have received the software needed to prepare ballots and test the new equipment.
Many precincts can’t fit the number of voting booths required by law—a law that was passed in 2019 to reduce lines for voting. The new voting tablets are large and connected to a printer and a universal power supply. They require more space and more electricity than the old machines.
We are all entitled to cast our ballot in absolute secrecy. The new tablets have a design flaw that lets anyone within 20–30 feet of a voting booth see who we vote for. The secretary of state is exploring solutions, but no answer is in sight.
Late delivery, lack of space and machines that expose our vote—these are serious problems that cannot be solved quickly.
There is an alternative. The county Board of Elections can decide to use hand-marked paper ballots for any election in which it finds that using the uniform system is not possible or not practical. Let’s call it Plan B. The primary ballot is simple, and we’ll save money on printing and payroll if we use hand marked paper ballots.