Well Then, We Need $20 Million, Sonny.

Adding a paper ballot to Georgia’s electronic voting machines could cost plenty, Secretary of State Cathy Cox has told the governor and state lawmakers.

Cox said outfitting the state’s current computerized machines with printers would cost about $19.5 million, while buying new machines would cost the state more than $66 million.

Politicians from both parties have called for a paper trail to assure voters that their ballots have been recorded correctly.



  1. atlantaman says:

    That’s what happens when you are too eager to become one of the first states to have electronic voting. It got Cathy some pretty good publicity, but we end up being everyone elses test case.

  2. Dan says:

    I had a CS professor at Kennesaw who worked with the voting machines. He posed an interesting question one day, if the electronic count and the paper count come out different, which one do you use?

    It’s just food for thought. It made me think about how a paper trail would be implemented. Does anyone know of other states that have implemented a paper trail on electronic voting machines?

  3. That is a good question, Dan. My solution would be to have the machine print out a completed ballot that the voter can visually inspect and then turn in. Then we use the electronic machines to do the counts on election day (since that will be a lot faster) and then if there is a recount or if a random audit produces some unexpected numbers, we can retrieve the printed, completed ballots and just count those, since those will obviously be the correct count.

    The great thing about the electronic machine is, Cynthia McKinney voters aside, it prevents you from voting for the wrong candidate. You either touch one or the other, but you can’t touch both. The great thing about a paper ballot is it’s there for all to inspect and there’s no question about the validity of it. The voting machines we have could provide the perfect solution to getting the best of both worlds.

    I really fault all of our elected officials who’ve voted against this type of modernization for it not happening yet.

  4. Bill Simon says:

    Screw Diebold electornic voting machines. Let’s go bakc to the paper ballot systems that Cobb County and Gwinnett County had that worked very well and were reliable.

  5. Jay T says:


    That is a great idea, and that is also essentially the way that the pilot test that has been done and will continue to be done, works. So it isn’t really your solution, since someone has already done it and made it the solution. It is good to see that you agree with it, though. That is around twice in the past days you have agreed with something Republicans have done.

    That may be great, but paper ballots didn’t work great in places like Dodge and Catoosa counties, where voter fraud was rampant when we only had paper ballots.

  6. Even with the paper ballots there is some error as far as filling it out goes. If you use the machine to reduce the error, I think that’s a great compromise. I know, Republican will say if you can’t fill out the ballot correctly you shouldn’t have your vote counted, but I don’t think that’s a fair standard.

    My understanding of Florida 2000 is that if there had been a statewide hand recount, Gore would have won easily. Gore’s biggest mistake was only seeking a recount in the heavily Democratic counties, forgetting that poor, elderly Democratic voters who lived in rural counties were most likely to make mistakes. I’ve heard that there were easily hundreds of ballots in each county that had, for example, someone voting for Gore by filling in the cirlce, then also writing in “Al Gore” on the write-in line. The machines spit that out as an overvote, but clearly that person voted for Gore and a ballot like that should be counted. Understand there were also a lot of Bush ballots like this (and a lot of write-ins for Gore/Cheney which couldn’t be counted regardless).

    Anyway, if anyone has ever used a fillable PDF form online, that’s the model for voting. You can’t screw it up and you get to print out a hard copy.

  7. Jay T says:


    I agree, as long as it gets done. My point was that not only was the system you described a good one, but it is how the test paper audit trail for the elections this year already works. Someone gets a receipt, can view it, and then turns it in.

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