Atlanta had made headlines almost seventeen years ago for being the first state to have adopted the electronic voting machines over the traditional paper ballots. History is repeating itself in reverse, as Atlanta announced that it would be reverting back to paper voting ballots in a world full of EVMs. The move to shift to paper ballots has provoked controversy from all quarters especially as the state has been under constant legal pressures after news of the way it handled the 2018 elections came to be known. Atlanta claimed that it chose the paper ballots as they are not as vulnerable to manipulation as electronic machines. This new system of the $108 million new machine that supports both electronic and manual voting is claimed to be a step towards preventing parties from hijacking polls. Atlanta is the first to have taken up this new hybrid system.
No, it is not going back to the old paper voting system but a combination of technology and paper ballots. The new machine called the Dominion Voting System are an improvement on the older Diebold Electronic machines. Due to increase in fraud, especially in the elections of 2018, the state has made a switch to the new tech. The machines have a touchscreen like the regular machines where the citizen can choose the party they wish to cast a vote for. Once selection is done, the machine prints out a paper showing the citizen’s choice which has to be again dropped back in the machine’s box for the final vote to count. In this method, the people can make sure that the vote that they have cast on the screen is the vote being registered. It will prevent votes from being bungled due to hacking. This system has seen the support of many, including President Donald Trump.
Electronics are always tricky, with evolution of machines news ways of hacking them are developed. Concern has been expressed about how fool proof this method might be and is it worth the money it will cost the state? Heavily protected government servers are constantly being hacked, a machine is nothing. Voting systems are under threat constantly even from foreign countries. These machines will be set up in preparation of the next term of elections. Opposition expressed their lack of faith in the new technology and citizens are worried about the tax crunch to afford the system. There have many instances of breach and the Secretary Of State’s Office cannot be trusted. It is most likely that the voting system will be vulnerable despite the expensive machines.
Secretary of State, Raffensperger claims that the system has been tested and since the machines are offline, chances of a malware are eliminated. He assured the citizens that the software will be heavily protected with firewalls, “It’s not going to be hacked. It hasn’t being hacked.” Electronic voting machines have failed several times, therefore many remain hopeful that perhaps inclusion of paper ballots will make a difference.