CARTERSVILLE – Georgia’s new, secure paper ballot system gets high marks for accuracy in risk-limiting audits of last week’s election conducted Tuesday by the Secretary of State’s Office, Bartow County election workers and two nationally recognized organizations.

“An important part of the new voting system is the ability to audit with the use of paper ballots. This feature provides the confidence voters deserve,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a news release.

Georgia is replacing its 17-year-old electronic voting machines with a system that produces paper ballots. The system’s first statewide use will be during the March 24 Presidential Preference Primary.

The first use of the new system in a Georgia election was Nov. 5 in local municipal elections in six counties: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Decatur, Lowndes and Paulding. More than 27,000 votes were cast in the pilot counties, roughly one out of 10 cast statewide.

Bartow was selected for the audit because of its size and proximity to Atlanta. The public process consisted of examining a random sample of ballots to ensure the ratio of votes for each candidate is represented in the total compiled by the scanners used in tabulating ballots from early voting and Election Day.

Assisting the Secretary of State’s election staff and Bartow officials were experts from Verified Voting and VotingWorks, two nonpartisan, national organizations with extensive experience with election audits across the country.

“A risk-limiting audit is a thorough, transparent and structured process that provides solid evidence in the outcome of an election,” Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, said. “We are pleased to assist Georgia in piloting risk-limiting audits and in implementing Georgia’s new voting system. We hope, through these steps, to ensure a trustworthy record for audits to bolster citizens’ confidence in the outcome of Georgia elections.”

A Georgia law enacted this year requires audits after state elections beginning in November 2020. Raffensperger initiated Tuesday’s audit to provide voter certainty going into next year’s elections and to pilot the audit procedures.

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