Voting System Commission recommends new voting machines

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With public trust in voting machines across Louisiana and other states shaken, a new system is being considered by Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin. For months, the Voting System Commission has been listening to the public about what they would like to see.

“There’s no checks and balances in our current system. It’s an old machine, it’s called direct recording equipment (DRE) that basically just tallies votes. So, the number on the back of the machine is the number. There’s no way to double-check it,” said Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R).

Sen. Hewitt helped create the commission last year and said they are leaning more towards machines that will tabulate handwritten ballots and be easily auditable.

“We think it’s going to be a great system. Again, it’s being done in 38 other states, some variety of this, and I think it’s going to help move Louisiana forward,” Hewitt explained.

The systems we have now have been in place since the early 2000′s, and it is nearly impossible to get replacement parts for them anymore. They have also been using the Dominion software. Security with Dominion has raised alarm for its potential to be hacked.

“What I’ve learned is, anyone who is suspect of a voting machine is usually suspect to all companies who create voting machines. So, we have to take that into consideration,” said the Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.

Ardoin said the vast majority of the public are in favor of some kind of paper ballot. However, folks who are disabled need some kind of ballot marking device.

“I think the ballot marking device is somewhere in the middle of that issue. So, it’s not all electronically recorded, there is a paper aspect to it in a ballot marking device. Then, paper is sort of an all or nothing kind of thing,” Ardoin added.

The next step will be having public discussions of standards in open hearings. After that, there will need to be legislative oversight, followed by a request for proposals from companies to place their bids. All of that could take as long as 18 months to complete. This new system will definitely not be around for the midterm elections but it is possible we could see it rolled out statewide for the governor’s race in 2023.

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