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After petition, Georgia to reexamine new voting system

August 20, 2019
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018 file photo, people cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 6, general election at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, Ga. Georgia election officials have little room for error as they work to replace thousands of outdated voting machines statewide in only a matter of months. The state is making a $106 million purchase of new voting machines. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018 file photo, people cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 6, general election at Jim Miller Park in Marietta, Ga. Georgia election officials have little room for error as they work to replace thousands of outdated voting machines statewide in only a matter of months. The state is making a $106 million purchase of new voting machines. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia secretary of state’s office said Tuesday that it plans to reexamine the state’s new election system as required by law after receiving a request from voters.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced last month that the state plans to buy a $106 million election system from Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems. He certified the new system on Aug. 9 and said it will be in place in time for the March 24 primaries.

The new system includes touchscreen voting machines that produce a paper record including a human-readable summary of the voter’s selections and a machine-readable code used by a scanner to tally the votes.

A petition bearing the signatures of more than 1,450 Georgia voters was submitted Monday to Raffensperger’s office. It says the Dominion system doesn’t meet the requirements of Georgia’s voting system certification rules and doesn’t comply with the state election code.

Georgia law allows voters to request that the secretary of state “reexamine any such device previously examined and approved by him or her” as long as at least 10 voters sign onto the request.

“Requesting a reexamination of the new paper ballot system almost immediately after it was thoroughly tested and passed by an independent testing lab is a waste of everyone’s time and resources,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Tuesday in a text message.

“We will comply with the legal requirements to conduct a reexamination, but the activists requesting the reexamination will have to pay for it,” Fuchs said.

The law says the people or organization requesting the reexamination shall pay “the reasonable expenses” for having it done. The petition asks the secretary of state to waive any such fees or, if fees are not waived, to notify the petitioners before beginning the reexamination.

Fuchs said the secretary of state’s office is reviewing how the reexamination should proceed and what the cost will be. She said it will not interfere with the timeline for implementing the new system.

The petition, which was filed by voting integrity advocates on behalf of voters, alleges that Raffensperger failed to complete key parts of the certification process and used the incorrect testing standards.

“Petition signers certainly do not anticipate being asked to personally pay for a ‘do-over’ of the Secretary’s shoddy work in his flawed certification of the new voting system,” said Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, which coordinated the petition.

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