Georgia Finalizes Electronic Voting Contract

Diebold Election Systems got the contract to revamp the state's voting systems.

ATLANTA -- Following the 2000 presidential election, many states looked at their elections systems with a new, jaundiced eye.

Georgia and Secretary of State Cathy Cox decided to examine potential shortcomings in the state's existing election systems and to look for a way to improve elections' accuracy. The state's General Assembly passed legislation in 2001 that mandated that all 159 of the state's counties move to a modern, uniform system of voting by 2004.

The legislation also created the 21st Century Voting Commission to evaluate equipment options and recommend to the governor and General Assembly a platform for the uniform statewide system.

The state announced late last week that it has finalized a $54 million deal with Diebold Election Systems to overhaul the state's election system technology. Georgia officials said their state is among the first in implementing a uniform, state-wide computerized touch-screen voting system.

"We are extremely pleased to announce that Diebold Election Systems has been selected to serve as Georgia's partner in deploying cutting-edge electronic voting units that will greatly enhance the accuracy, reliability and accessibility of Georgia elections," said Secretary of State Cathy Cox. "After a thorough analysis of the proposals submitted, our review committee unanimously found that Diebold offered the election technology solution that will provide the best capability and value for Georgia. Our elections division and Diebold are prepared to immediately begin the important work of training county election staff and educating voters on the use of the new electronic system."

The contract, which is the largest voting system sale to date in the United States, includes more than 19,000 AccuVote touch-screen voting systems to be distributed throughout 159 counties within the state.

State officials said the AccuVote machines accurately and securely capture each vote. Each voting station will be equipped with a 15-inch touch-screen monitor for easy use by voters, and the machines also provide full, private ballot access to visually impaired voters using a voice-guidance system and a standard keypad.