The rollout of the state’s new paper ballot, high tech voting machines could not have been much worse.
Election officials will likely try to tout the redundant systems as a major success but they could not be more wrong.
The fact that that elections offices could turn to the barcoded paper ballots when the electronics failed simply means: The electronics failed.
First, the electronic pads used to check in voters in some polling places in Lowndes, Carroll, Paulding and Bartow counties did not work like they were supposed to.
KnowInk technicians who supplied and support that equipment apparently said the Poll Pads had programming issues. Should that not have been addressed long before Election Day?
The precincts had to use a lower tech back up system. That means the primary, high dollar system, failed.
Then, even worse, the communication between the cards generated by the voting machines and the tabulating system failed.
Simply speaking, the votes could not be counted in the way the Dominion Voting Systems are designed to tabulate votes.
The $107 million Dominion Voting System failed and once again elections offices resorted to a backup, low tech system. They counted paper ballots.
Then, there was failed human communication as the public was left waiting for results for hours with very little messaging to explain what was happening and when to expect results.
Quite simply, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office was not ready.
And, it showed.
What if this had been a statewide rollout?
What if what occurred had happened in 159 counties, rather than four of six?
What if this was a gubernatorial election?
What if this was next year’s presidential primary?
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger needs to own this and not try to spin it as anything other than a failed launch.
The new $107 million system is supposed to be the first update to Georgia’s election system since 2002 but what happened Tuesday wasn’t much of an update at all.
Prior to the election night debacles Tuesday evening, Raffensperger said, “We’re rolling through it, minor stuff happens time to time but that’s why you do pilots so they don’t happen on a big election day.”
However when electronic voting machines cannot be read electronically and you have to rely on the redundant paper system not because of a close or contested election, that is not “minor stuff” happening. That is a failure.
We appreciate the hard work of poll workers and election officials, but the machines — not the people — are a failure.
There are 11,000 new machines waiting to be rolled out for the presidential primary in March.
How can we have confidence they will work any better than they did Tuesday?
Raffensperger has touted the other states and counties that are using this high dollar system. Shouldn’t the kinks have already been worked out?
The paper ballot generated by the high tech touch screen electronic machine is intended to provide a system for a reliable recount.
Instead, in Lowndes County the paper ballot was used for a first count — not a recount.
This launch was a fail and the state must hold Dominion accountable.