GA VVPAT report available

Below is the press release to the GA VVPAT report that was issued by the secretary of state. I testified at the hearing in Macon as a part of this process. (Note, the interesting question mark symbol in the press release appears on their version as well). The access link to the report is here.

Secretary of State Karen Handel
Issues Report on Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail 2006 Pilot

Atlanta, GA � Secretary of State Karen Handel today released a report regarding the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Pilot conducted in three precincts during the November 2006 general election and runoff elections. The pilot tested touch screen VVPAT voting machines, required a manual audit of the paper ballot printouts, and included over 450 exit interviews with participating voters.

�The pilot provided important feedback in a number of areas. While voters expressed strong support for the idea of VVPAT and liked the pilot machines, they were also very confident in the accuracy and security of our existing system. And, the VVPAT manual audit results matched the electronic count 100%,� said Secretary Handel. �However, significant practical challenges were revealed with the VVPAT technology itself and the manual recount process.�

Key findings include:

  • The exit poll showed that voter confidence in the accuracy and security of the existing non VVPAT machines was 86.9% and increased to 89.4% with VVPAT addition.

  • 82.4% of voters favored adding a reviewable paper trail.

  • Technical challenges exist with the VVPAT technology, including paper jams, inefficient and confusing ballot tape layout, and increased voting time.

  • The sequential printing of the VVPAT paper ballots does not guarantee voter anonymity as required by Georgia law.

  • The manual audits, while successful in verifying the accuracy of the electronic vote count, proved very costly, time-consuming, and prone to human error.

�Clearly, we need to continue to evaluate paper audit trail technology, and in the meantime, pending budget approval, we will move forward with an independent, outside audit of our existing equipment and policies to obtain unbiased data regarding the security of our equipment and to identify additional procedural improvements and audit policies,� added Secretary Handel.

The pilot was authorized by Senate Bill 500, �The 2006 Georgia Accuracy in Elections Act� and was conducted in one precinct in the three participating counties � Bibb, Camden and Cobb. The Diebold Accu Vote TSX was selected based on legislative requirements. 2,038 voters used the machines. Additionally, a public hearing was held in each of the pilot counties.

Other Georgia counties use the Diebold R6 and the Diebold TSX. There is no VVPAT attachment produced for these particular models. Georgia implemented the existing touch screen machines in the 2002 General Election.

An executive summary, along with the full report, is available at the Secretary of State�s website at

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State’s office offers important services to our business community, our government, and our citizens. These services include an efficient and secure election process, and the regulation of corporations, securities, and professional license holders. The Office also controls the state archives and the Capitol museum.