Individual voters using VVPAT reviewed a paper record of their votes before they were officially cast. Exit polling showed that, overall, the individual voting experience in the pilot program was positive for most of the voters in the three precincts. Further, the manual audit of the votes cast in the three demonstration precincts matched 100% the results that were recorded by the electronic voting machines.
However, the manual audit of votes cast was particularly challenging for the local election officials managing the audit process. Even with significant training and defined processes and procedures, the audit process proved to be very time-consuming and extremely costly. Local elections officials reported technical problems with the printers (such as paper jams). Additionally, local elections officials noted particular concern about the increased opportunity for human errors in the hand-counting of the individual votes on the paper roll.
Assessment of the pilot project showed that there were important challenges to consider before applying existing VVPAT technologies.
- A compatible VVPAT printer attachment for Georgia’s existing voting machines does not exist.
- There are many procedural, technical and practical questions involving the selection of a new voting system, if one were to replace the existing system in order to use existing VVPAT technology.
- Legislation pending in the United States Congress would establish new national standards for voting technology and process of federal elections, including specific paper trail requirements.
Given these issues, Georgia should continue to evaluate new voting technology for the best combination of components to meet the needs of Georgia’s voters.