New technology being used for general election

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBAN, Ga. -- When voters head to the polls on Nov. 2, they'll see at least two new pieces of technology being used before they cast their ballots.

The first is a small device that scans the person's picture ID.

Once scanned, the person's information is used to automatically fill out the paperwork that is traditionally done prior to voting.

Each form is then printed out, complete with a barcode. The form is then scanned using a second piece of new equipment, which brings up the voter's registration information on file with the Dougherty County Elections office.

The voter verifies that the information is correct before signing it.

The two new pieces of equipment are being touted by voting officials as faster and more accurate than the traditional method of having the voter fill out the blank paperwork before a voting official has to type his or her information into the system.

Currently being used statewide on a trial basis, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the equipment appears to be receiving a favorable response from elections officials.

"Well, we believe that it speeds up the process for voters because they no longer have to fill in the information themselves and ... it makes the process less prone to operator errors because the information is scanned in," Kemp said in a recent interview.

The technology will also more readily integrate into future planned policy changes that are on the horizon, including voter verification initiatives designed to keep illegal immigrants from registering to vote.

"Right now, we can't check a person's immigration status until after they've registered to vote," Kemp said. "There has been legislation authored that will change that so that we check before a person can register, but we'll likely hear something from (the U.S. Department of Justice) on that."

Ginger Nickerson, supervisor of the Dougherty County Elections office, said that, so far, the new technology has worked well in handling the steady flow of voters taking advantage of early voting.

More than 2,300 people have voted in Dougherty County since the early voting period started in September, and elections officials say that number will likely hit 2,500 by the time their doors close Friday afternoon.

Next week, voters will be able to vote at both the elections office at the government center and at the Candy Room on the 200 block of Pine Avenue next to the Flint RiverQuarium.