Secretary of State’s Analysis Shows $200+ Million Cost for Hand-Marked Ballot System

A press release and memo released by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office today states than an internal analysis reveals that a hand-marked ballot system could cost between $207-$224 million over the next ten years. Most of the printing costs, shown as approximately $164 million in the memo, would fall to the counties to pay.

Press release:

Today, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released the results of a comprehensive internal inquiry into the cost of implementing a hand-marked paper ballot system for the State of Georgia.


The internal inquiry, conducted by Georgia Secretary of State Director of Elections Chris Harvey, concluded that hand-marked paper ballots will cost the state up to $224 million over the course of a decade.


“The $224 million price tag for hand-marked paper ballots stands in sharp contrast to touchscreen-marked paper ballots which would cost our state $150 million and come with the added benefits of superior security, accessibility, and transparency,” said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. “It is our hope that lawmakers will choose the option that will bring greater savings to our taxpayers and peace of mind to our voters.”


The analysis, which took into account the various costs associated with hand-marked paper ballots including ballot scanning machines, electronic poll books and printing costs, noted that the vast majority of this unfunded mandate will fall to Georgia’s counties and taxpayers.


“Implementing hand-marked paper ballots would cost our state more than the estimated $224 million, since that number does not include the costs of staff, training, and other items related to election systems,” said Harvey. “A hand-marked paper ballot system would also dramatically shift costs onto local governments – placing a heavy burden on local taxpayers and drawing a stark distinction between this and other options designed to prioritize taxpayer savings.”

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FreeDuckDave BearseNoParty4MejbgotchaWill Durant Recent comment authors
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jbgotcha
jbgotcha

This is an out and out lie from the Secretary of State’s office. Hand marked paper ballots would only initially cost the state $30 million. These numbers don’t even reflect the vendor’s numbers. ES&S is the vendor they are trying to use to shove these un-auditable and hackable machines down our throats. ES&S is a highly partisan company that donates to the Republican party. Their lobbyist is now Gov. Kemp’s chief of staff. Something rotten is going on here. Why wouldn’t we want a system that can be effectively audited? This is a complete farce. They held debate today for… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

It’s all about the presentation, too, because for some reasons the estimate includes a decade of printing costs. Not to mention the equipment costs are estimated, and not real prices. And you have to assume they’d round everything up, given the clear advocacy of the piece. (The estimate looks more like a pie-in-the-sky pro forma budget than anything). But even if you just assume accuracy of the “low cost”, the cost would be what, around $20 million a year over a decade, or $50 million for the first year. So, it’s not like they’re as far away from that $30… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

This smells fishy.
Are all the vendor proposals publicly available?
If the Gov. wanted an independent analysis he should get an independent firm to conduct one, not some internal memo with zero transparency.

If this was a corrupt process this is very much what it would look like.

bethebalance
bethebalance

I know this has been discussed before, but these touchscreen machines would produce a paper receipt that has just a bar code, or a bar code along with a written description of the votes cast?
Either way, has there been any talk of a separate bar code-reading machine that voters can use right after casting their vote, to double-check the accuracy?

Benevolus
Benevolus

I’ve read the ES&S proposal and it is not clear about that. It only specifically indicates a barcode on the ballot access card. So you would have to have been privy to the presentations to know exactly how this works I guess. I have asked Scott Holcombe about this but he hasn’t responded (he’s not my rep though). They do seem to have a scanner for hand-marked ballots as part of their system though: “ES&S offers the DS200 and ExpressVote for Method 1. Hand-marked ballots and vote summary cards marked via the ExpressVote are tabulated on the DS200 precinct tabulator… Read more »

jbgotcha
jbgotcha

In addition, ES&S has the ability to have remote access to voting machines. The vote tabulations can be manipulated that way. This is clearly an attempt at securing one party rule in GA for the foreseeable future. We are in big trouble.

jbgotcha
jbgotcha

ES&S has donated $30k to the Republican State Leadership Committee & installed remote access software in election systems in 300 jurisdictions.

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/05/voting-machines-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/

Will Durant
Will Durant

Printed paper costs more than 27,000 machines to print paper? This BS needs to be packaged up and sold because it is USDA prime. Yanno’ the Guv’na when he was SoS promised an Ernst and Young review of his office and processes after mailing out all of our voter data. He copped out after the storm blew over. I’m with B, I want to see a guaranteed independent consultant pulled in on this and it should have already happened. As I stated a couple of weeks ago however, it is quite obvious the fix is in. It is the Guv’s… Read more »

jbgotcha
jbgotcha

ES&S has donated $30k to the Republican State Leadership Committee & installed remote access software in election systems in 300 jurisdictions.

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/05/voting-machines-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

A ballot marking machine is great if it ONLY produced a ballot that must be read as printed, no bar codes. A ballot that prints voters choices, but only reads an easily hacked-rigged bar code for vote tabulation is not a secure system. We need a system that only reads and tabulates voter choices with those choices visible for verification.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Raffensperger after three months hasn’t had time to report on the hack of the voter database by the Dems or malfunctioning machines in the Lt Gov race, but when voting machine lobbyists say “5h!+”, the response is where and how high.

It bodes well for Dems when Raffensperger thinks 55% or Georgians “are in the minority” and “out of the mainstream”.

Will Durant
Will Durant

So let’s review on our most recent experiences with voting machines: First we have a SoS tell us an untold amount of times over an eight year period that the results from the total electronic machines were infallible even though there was no way to verify such claims. For an unknown number of years to me anyway ES&S was supporting the SoS in these claims and in actually handling the logistics of running the elections. Then we get to the year the SoS is running for governor himself and lo and behold they are indeed fallible. But, but… we don’t… Read more »

FreeDuck
FreeDuck

I’m curious to see the analysis of the touchscreen machines. Is there an assumption that this equipment will not need to be updated or replaced over 10 years? If so I’m very skeptical.

Will Durant
Will Durant

As pointed out in the open letter from Freedomworks and the National Election Defense Coalition that Jessica linked on Thursday the SoS is comparing an inflated original price for pen on paper ballots and the inflated “cost to run elections with hand marked ballots for ten years” against just the initial price of the ES&S ballot marking machines. https://coaltionforgoodgovernance.sharefile.com/share/view/s79c8255766c48d7a?skipNativeCheck=true&fbclid=IwAR3m1GF0uLYlgjIReHA5m1orjVAgeN1nZwmB9kq1Cr1Bj9HrwKGv_NtmNd4 Keep in mind that the ES&S machines and their software are proprietary and will require annual fees in addition to the state contracts already in place for their election services. The example they use of comparing a the purchase and complete… Read more »

Will Durant
Will Durant

Of note earlier in the session we got this nugget from the SoS to the AJC: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger spoke in favor of ballot-marking devices during budget hearings last week, saying they’re more accurate because computer-printed ballots avoid ambiguity that could be introduced by stray marks on hand-marked ballots. But he also said he wouldn’t bias the state’s selection of a voting technology. “I don’t have a predetermined outcome,” Raffensperger said. “I want a fair process.” And this from: Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis was forceful in his opposition to hand-marked paper ballots when he spoke on the… Read more »