Louisiana begins more transparent search for voting machines

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana is working to bring more trust into its elections through the Voting System Commission. The appointed commission held its first meeting Wednesday to work toward a decision on new voting machines.

The goal of the commission is to find a new voting system in a transparent way that will help bring back some voter confidence in the state’s elections.

After controversy over selecting new voting machines, legislation was passed this year to set up a 13 member commission to make a recommendation. The current Dominion DRE machines are decades old. A new paper-based system will have to be selected.

“Paper-based systems are universally recognized by election experts as cheaper, more secure and easily auditable,” Sen. Sharon Hewitt said.

Currently, the machines are outdated and don’t have the ability to recount ballots already cast. The new systems selected will either be hand-marked or marked by a machine, among other variations. This system will leave a paper trail for the votes.

“Moving to a paper-based system would allow us to recount if we so chose every ballot that was cast,” Sen. Hewitt said.

A plan on how to roll out a new system is underway since the same machines have been used for decades and the new ones will have to be taught to voters.

“Someone going to a voting booth will be looking for an older machine and now they see this new machine, they might freak out. I think we need to start earlier,” said Michael McClanahan, NAACP Louisiana State Conference President.

Members of the public emphasized they want machines that cannot connect to the internet in any way and have strong cyber security.

At the next meeting, there will be election experts as well as researchers to give information on the different voting systems and the public will get another chance to share their opinions. 

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