SAFE Commission to meet Thursdays to review vendors for Georgia’s new voting machines

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Cynthia Welch, Rockdale County’s Director of Elections

Cynthia Welch, Rockdale County’s Director of Elections, will join fellow members of the Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission on Thursday, Aug. 30  to review vendors seeking to replace  Georgia’s  current voting machines. The 18-member SAFE Commission will meet in Grovetown, located near Augusta, to look at systems that offer a verified paper trail.

“We’re giving all vendors who have an interest in providing Georgia with a new voting system, the opportunity to do that,” said Welch. “The vendors had to respond to the Request for Information (RFI) by Aug. 24.  The meeting on Thursday, Aug. 30, will start the process toward moving Georgia toward a new voting system. We have received so many e-mails saying that Georgia should go to a paper ballot system. Voters don’t trust the bar code system. They would like to see us go back to paper ballots We haven’t had paper ballots since 2000.”

Welch said several panels are scheduled for the meeting, which will be open to the public. The panels will include moderators and panelists who will be discussing a variety of topics ranging from voting rights to voting accessibility to intergovernmental coordination to funding of the new voting machines.

“It will be a daylong meeting to gather information and input,” said Welch.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Columbia County Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Drive, Grovetown, GA, near Augusta. Those who cannot make the meeting in Grovetown, may email questions or concerns to safemmission@sos.ga.gov.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp appointed the commission in April 2018 to conduct thorough discussions on all options – including the feasibility of using all hand-marked paper ballots to all electronic machines with a voter-verified paper trail. The commission was charged with gathering feedback from stakeholders,  conducting cost analysis of market options, researching post-election audit procedures, and providing recommendations to lawmakers before the next session of Georgia’s General Assembly.

Rockdale served as a pilot for a paper ballot verified voting machines during the Conyers municipal elections in 2017. Rockdale was the first county in Georgia to test the new machines.

In addition to Welch, H. Maxine Daniels, retired director of Voter Registration & Elections in DeKalb County, supervisor of Rockdale County Board of Elections & Voter Registration, was appointed to Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s 18-member

SAFE Commission Members:

Co-Chairs

– Secretary of State Brian Kemp

– State Representative Barry A. Fleming (R – Harlem)

State Legislators

– State Representative James Beverly (D – Macon)

– State Senator Lester Jackson (D – Savannah)

– State Senator Brian Strickland (R – McDonough)

Elections Officials

– Lynn Bailey, Executive Director, Richmond County Board of Elections

– Nancy Boren, Director of Elections & Voter Registration, Muscogee County

– H. Maxine Daniels, retired Director of Voter Registration & Elections, DeKalb County

– Deidre Holden, Supervisor of Elections & Voter Registration, Paulding County

– Darin McCoy, Probate Judge and Election Superintendent, Evans County

– Cynthia Welch, Supervisor, Rockdale County Board of Elections & Voter Registration Office

Information Technology and Cyber Security Expert

– Wenke Lee, Co-Executive Director, Georgia Tech’s Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP)

Political Party Representatives

– Michael Jablonski, General Counsel, Democratic Party of Georgia

– John Monds, Libertarian Party of Georgia, Executive Committee

– Vincent Russo, Deputy General Counsel, Georgia Republican Party

Voter Accessibility Expert

Those who cannot make the meeting in Grovetown, may email questions or concerns to safemmission@sos.ga.gov.

Voters At-Large

– James “Jimmy” McDonald, Managing Principal, McDonald Firm, LLC

– Sheila Ross, Director of Capital Litigation, Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia

On Common Ground News


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