SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The largest meeting of election officials in U.S. history is happening this week in Savannah. More than 700 local and state officials are attending a required training for the upcoming election season.
This year all of the attention is on a new voting system geared toward improving election confidence.
Georgia election and voter registration officials from all 159 counties are meeting this week for their annual required training. This year, part of their training is focused on the state's new secure paper-ballot voting system.
“The old system worked, but it was 17-years-old and it was time to get a new one and it was time to get something with a voter verifiable paper trail,” said Chris Harvey, the state election director for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.
When people come to the polls they’ll notice a similar set up as they’ve seen before.
First they’ll get their voter access card, make their way over to the tablet to make their selections. Finally, when the voter is done the new system requires them to hit print.
“It’s really about security. It’s for the voter to verify their vote, but maybe even as important is after the election we’ll do post election audits where you don’t have to rely on scanners and computers. You’re going to look physically at the printed names,” said Harvey.
Recounts with paper ballots hasn't been possible in the state in the last 17 years.
In Nov., 7 counties tested the system and Harvey says it helped them work out the kinks.
"We learned some things and found some things that we could improve. When we did it in two more counties for the runoff, we had flawless execution."
Harvey says each scanner can hold 3,500 ballots. The idea is to give people the best possible equipment to further encourage people to come out to vote in the 2020 election.
“We want every election official in Georgia to be comfortable with the system and confident that when they receive a vote, the voter is going to vote without issue and their vote is going to be counted.”
In March of 2020 everyone in the state will be using the new system for the presidential preference primary.