Georgia’s Election Performance Gets Dinged By Pew

April 10, 2014 9:16 am

by Nathan · 4 comments

This article from the AJC (thanks to South Fulton Guy for passing it along through the Tip Line) highlights the state’s online voter registration system that came online earlier this week, and posits the question on whether or not it will help Georgia’s election performance:

Worsening return rates from overseas ballots, increases in the number of people not voting due to disability or illness, and one of the longest wait times in the nation all marred the Peach State’s performance in the 2012 presidential election compared with just four years earlier, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Georgia had the biggest ratings decline in the nation in the latest elections performance review that Pew released nationally Tuesday. It was one of only 10 states whose scores decreased, according to the nonpartisan analysis that overall lauded most states for improving their elections work. First launched in 2010, this is the first time Pew researchers have compared similar elections over time using the same measures.

The findings put a harsh glare on a state gearing up to run a midterm primary election May 20, including contested party races for governor and several seats in Congress that have drawn national attention to Georgia and are expected to increase turnout next month at the polls.

State officials themselves acknowledged some problems and have begun making a number of changes.
“Overall, I’m not concerned,” Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said about the findings. “I think we’re doing a lot of good things to increase participation and prevent cheating.”

The state did not rank last — it clocked in at 32nd.

To be fair, though, the state did switch to a new vote reporting system in 2012, so some of the bugs were still shaking out (hopefully, 2014′s election cycle will go more smoothly). The article mentions that and the fact that the Secretary of State’s office was unable to pass along some of the data to the researchers.

Online registration will make it more convenient for citizens to register to vote or to change their address. Upgrades to the My Voter Page are also much appreciated with a refreshed look and more information available. But, will this be enough? Will Georgia see a larger voter participation rate this year than in previous years? What say you?

Harry April 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

I wonder if this time Fulton will be able to avoid the stigma of being last to report results.

South Fulton Guy April 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

Harry, Fulton has the most registered voters, most precincts and is geographically longest distance end to end than any of the 159 counties. Election day tabulation requires the physical delivery of memory cards. Most of the large metro counties lag in results. It is reasonable and predictable that Fulton being the biggest will be last.

Patrick Mayer April 10, 2014 at 10:49 am

…and having people in the correct precincts, and counting the mailed in votes, and…

South Fulton Guy April 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

Patrick that is true, but the problems with the new voter registration system are making it hard for all counties statewide to get their precincting correct. This is the first big election since Fulton hired the new Elections Director Rick Barron so we will see, but to your point course corrections when you turn the rudder on a cruise ship take time.

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