|November 7, 2000
razor-thin margin in the presidential race in Florida prompts recounts, litigation and intense media and public scrutiny of the shortcomings of election
systems and procedures for casting and counting votes.
of State Cathy Cox directs her office to compile and analyze data on undervotes
in Georgia. The review finds that
some 3.5 %, or about 94,000 ballots, showed no choice made in the presidential
race. That percentage significantly
exceeds national and Florida undervote rates. The study also finds significant
variations from county to county and divergent performance within equipment
||Secretary of State Cox issues her report,
The 2000 Election: A
Wake-Up Call For Reform and Change. The report includes a host of recommendations to make elections more
accurate and convenient. Most
significantly, it advocates the adoption of a single, uniform system of voting
for all 159 Georgia counties, with state government taking the lead role in
funding and deploying the system.
213, legislation that encompasses a wide range of election reforms, including a
mandate to adopt a uniform system of voting by November 2004, is introduced.
The bill also authorizes a DRE pilot project and creates the 21st
Century Voting Commission to oversee it and make recommendations on how Georgia
213 is passed, unanimously in the Georgia Senate and with only one dissenting
vote in the House.
- The General
Assembly appropriates $200,000 in supplemental funds to underwrite the costs
of the DRE pilot project and the work of the Commission.
- Secretary Cox testifies before the U. S. Senate
Commerce Committee on Georgia’s election reform efforts and
the findings of the undervote study.
- National manufacturers of DRE equipment are invited to
submit their equipment for Georgia certification testing. Out of eight vendors who initiated certification, six ultimately will
complete the process.
- Georgia municipalities begin to apply to be selected
as a pilot project city, and Secretary Cox testifies before the National
Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by Presidents Jimmy Carter
and Gerald Ford.
||The 21st Century Voting Commission Commission authorizes seven
DRE vendors to participate in the pilot project that will be conducted in 13
Equipment certification for six vendors is completed.
Secretary of State secures discretionary funds from Governor
Barnes to enable voter education efforts in each participating city, including
hiring of a temporary voter education coordinator.
U. S. Department of Justice “pre-clears” SB 213 and the DRE Pilot
Municipal elections held in 13 pilot cities.
Operations in jurisdictions run smoothly and initial reports from both
voters and election officials are positive.
Exit polling is conducted in the field. Nearly 2,200 voter interviews are completed.
Exit poll results are released.
Results show that 94.5 % of voters who had just cast votes on one of the
new electronic systems agreed with the statement, “Georgia should upgrade its
voting system to a system like the one I used today.” Some 97.2 % of respondents said the equipment was “very easy” or
“easy” to use and 95.9 % of those polled said they were “confident” or
“very confident” that their vote was recorded correctly. Positive results were found among all age, regional and
Commission unanimously adopts recommendation to the Governor and General
Assembly that the state select DRE equipment as its uniform system for precinct
voting, and optical scan for mail-in absentee voting.
S. House of Representatives by a wide majority passes the Ney-Hoyer bill, which
authorizes several billion dollars to states for the upgrade of election
equipment. A bipartisan compromise
is announced in the Senate on its version of election reform legislation.
Governor Roy Barnes includes $54 million in state bonds in his FY 2002
supplemental budget request to fund a one-year rollout of electronic voting systems in all 159 Georgia counties.
This budget proposal accelerates the original deployment plan to insure
that every Georgia voter can cast their vote on a modern, uniform system in the
November 5th, 2002 General Election.
The Georgia Technology Authority issues
Request For Proposal (RFP)
for a statewide voting system, seeking proposals from a firm or firms
capable of providing for Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting equipment,
plus optical scan voting equipment for absentee balloting in all of Georgia’s
The General Assembly approves the Governor's budget request for $54
million in bonds to fund the DRE project. The FY 2002 supplemental and FY 2003
budgets also include a total of $4.5 million for the Office of Secretary of
State to fund technical support, election staff training and voter education
is closed for the statewide voting system. The Office of Secretary of State
forms an evaluation committee, including SOS and GTA staff and retired county
election officials, to review and evaluate proposals from nine bidders.
months of negotiation and debate, the U. S. Senate passes by a vote of
99-1 its version of comprehensive election reform legislation. Like its
companion bill in the House, the Senate version authorizes billions of dollars
in federal funding for states to fund the upgrade of election equipment. The Senate bill also requires that every precinct in the nation provide
at least one voting unit that permits visually impaired and disabled voters to
vote independently. A House-Senate Conference Committee is formed to work out
differences between the two bills.
The evaluation committee recommends to Secretary of State Cox that Diebold
Election Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Diebold, Inc. and a leading
manufacturer and installer of electronic voting systems, be chosen to provide
the state’s electronic voting solution. Secretary
Cox and Georgia’s Chief Technology Officer Larry Singer endorse the
committee’s recommendation and negotiations between the state and Diebold
of State Cox, on behalf of the State of Georgia, signs a contract with Diebold
Election Systems to provide the statewide voting system. The contract, which is for slightly less than $54 million, provides for
more than 19,000 DRE voting units and 400 optical scan readers (to tabulate
absentee ballots), software, training, support and other services. It is the
largest election equipment contract in the history of the United States and
marks the first time any state has acquired and funded a uniform voting system
for its citizens.