November 3, 2006
Electronic voting is meant to make it easier for you to vote and quicker for votes to be counted, but some say it's unreliable.
We all want our vote to count, but the fact is, there have been issues across the country with electronic voting machines, sometimes with votes not being counted.
But local elections officials say they are doing what they can to make sure it doesn't happen here.
Lois Hand voted early. While she's certain who will get her support, she's not as sure her vote will be counted.
"What really concerns me is that there is not a paper trail," she said.
The electronic voting machines used in Georgia have brought convenience and controversy at the same time. People like Lois say they are unreliable and open opportunities to hack into democracy.
"I think that is very easy for the people in power to manipulate," Lois said. "I have no faith in them at all."
Well, not exactly, according to Augusta's Director of Elections Lynn Bailey.
"If a person has access and opportunity, yes, they can do stuff to computers, but you have to look at the whole picture," she told News 12.
Bailey gave us a first time exclusive look at the checks and balances in place to make sure your vote is counted.
It's a 20-minute procedure done on all 500 machines in the county. It includes calibration and checking the memory cards.
And Ms. Bailey tells us when these machines are not in use, they are locked and sealed.
If you voted absentee, your ballots are kept in closet, under lock and key.
Last year candidates Bobby Hankerson and Calvin Holland saw how the machines are less than perfect.
27 votes were not counted after a poll worker incorrectly programmed a memory card.
"But I have to say that whole thing was a great exercise in democracy, because we have 27 voters whose votes would not have been counted if we did not have this process of checks and balances that were up here," Bailey said.
While plenty of folks have faith in this technology, Lois says she's still a little uneasy.
"I don't see how there's accountability built in here," she said. "At least with paper ballots, chads or no chads, if it takes three months, they can be recounted."
If you're unsure about the machines, you can actually go to the warehouse in south Augusta to watch them tabulate the votes on Election Night. There is 12-foot window where you can look in as they count, and you can ask questions.