Hand-Marked Paper Ballot System to Cost Georgia Taxpayers Over $200M

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released the results of a comprehensive internal inquiry into the cost of implementing a hand-marked paper ballot system for the State of Georgia.

The internal inquiry, conducted by Georgia Secretary of State Director of Elections Chris Harvey, concluded that hand-marked paper ballots will cost the state up to $224 million over the course of a decade.

“The $224 million price tag for hand-marked paper ballots stands in sharp contrast to touchscreen-marked paper ballots which would cost our state $150 million and come with the added benefits of superior security, accessibility, and transparency,” said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. “It is our hope that lawmakers will choose the option that will bring greater savings to our taxpayers and peace of mind to our voters.”

The analysis, which took into account the various costs associated with hand-marked paper ballots including ballot scanning machines, electronic poll books and printing costs, noted that the vast majority of this unfunded mandate will fall to Georgia’s counties and taxpayers.

“Implementing hand-marked paper ballots would cost our state more than the estimated $224 million, since that number does not include the costs of staff, training, and other items related to election systems,” said Harvey. “A hand-marked paper ballot system would also dramatically shift costs onto local governments - placing a heavy burden on local taxpayers and drawing a stark distinction between this and other options designed to prioritize taxpayer savings.”