ATLANTA – Today, the Georgia Senate voted to pass HB 316, the legislation that proposes a massive purchase of unsecured voting machines and an unfunded mandate without knowing the costs to taxpayers and counties — which will likely mean higher property taxes for homeowners.
Fair Fight CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo released the following statement:
“Today too many Georgia legislators sided with vendors over voters and cybersecurity experts, paving the way for more of the same with Georgia’s elections system: unsecured machines, unfunded mandates, longer lines, and more mismanagement. This bill pretends to be an improvement over our current system, but those pushing it cannot guarantee the security of machines, and they ignore extra costs passed on to the counties. These legislators chose to support a bill that lobbyists with close ties to the Governor’s office are selling. But our fight is only just beginning – through litigation and grassroots mobilization, we will ensure Georgia’s elections are soon both free and fair.”
- Represents the largest purchase of voting machines in history, not just in Georgia but in the country, and the massive $150 million price tag only accounts for upfront costs.
- Represents an unfunded mandate that may force counties to raise property taxes. Georgia’s 159 counties will pick up the tab for unknown yearly costs of licensing, maintenance, and other unforeseen expenses. The bill’s backers have put out unresearched, bogus cost estimates and said nothing about the costs to counties.
- Is being rushed through the legislature with no fiscal note — meaning that legislators are voting on the bill without knowing the true cost to taxpayers, an irresponsible and unprecedented omission for a bill of this magnitude.
- Is opposed by small government, conservative groups like FreedomWorks because it is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a higher cost for a worse product. Even Fox News security analyst and Trump 2020 advisor Lt. Col Tony Shaffer (ret) is lobbying against the bill.
- Ignores cybersecurity experts who have made clear that voting machines are hackable and unsecure. The bill mandates the use of machines that experts were easily able to hack during demonstrations.
- Forces Georgians to vote on unreliable machines that erased 100,000 votes in 2018. New machines could use barcodes to record votes, making it impossible for a voter to verify their vote and impossible to conduct a true audit or recount. The bill does not require a risk-limiting audit of machines to take place until 2024(!)
- Ignores the will of Georgia voters, who have made clear in both public polling and public testimony that they prefer to vote by hand-marked paper ballots.
- Would cause longer lines on Election Day. The bill requires more voters to vote on each machine, which will directly lead to longer lines.
- Tinkers around the edges in an empty attempt to appear bipartisan, but it maintains voter purges.
- Will likely award a $150 million taxpayer funded contract to a company that employed a top Brian Kemp advisor as a lobbyist. With this bill, Governor Kemp and leaders in the legislature are putting for-profit machine vendors before Georgia voters.