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Troup County elections board hosts new voting system demo

The Troup County Board of Elections and Registration conducted a public demonstration of the new voting system Wednesday at West Point Active Life.

The new system is being implemented statewide and has undergone four live elections ahead of the March 24 presidential primary. This system replaces the paperless equipment that dates back to 2002 and offers up-to-date technology with important security and transparency features.

The Dominion Voting Democracy Suite (D-Suite) features a Ballot Marking Device (BMD) that allows voters to verify their choices made on a touchscreen tablet. Voters will then print their ballot and place it into an optical scanner for counting. Prior to scanning the final ballot, the new system will allow voters to review and make changes before placing the ballot into the optical scanner. If a change is needed, the ballot will be marked as spoiled and the voter will remake their selections.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State Office, the system cost the state approximately $90 million that includes voting hardware, software, implementation, training and support.

During the public demonstration, Andrew Harper, Troup County election supervisor, gave a brief presentation on the new system and answered a few questions.

One question raised was about a backup in the event of technical difficulties.

“In an emergency situation, we do provide paper ballots,” Harper said. “We go back to the old school paper way. That’s the backup plan.”

After the presentations, people lined up to go through the new process as members of the board of elections looked on and assisted.

Ertmon Winston participated through the training and his first impression was the ease of the process.

“Once you go through it, it’s quite simple and self-explanatory,” Winston said.

West Point City Councilwoman Sandra Thornton was also on hand. Thornton suggested more of these demonstrations leading up to the elections.

“We are trying to do as many as we can with the tight schedule we have for this election and will probably do some more before the next election which are all the state, county and local races,” Harper said.

The next demonstration will be held in LaGrange on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the LaGrange Active Life Center and again on Mar. 7 at First Baptist Church at 204 Fannin St.