As could be expected in an election year, a proposal to overhaul the state’s method of voting is getting bogged down in politics.
But it shouldn’t, because this is too important.
For background: Georgia uses 16-year-old touchscreen technology for its elections. The machines are powered by Windows 2000, which Microsoft doesn’t even support anymore.
And there are always questions about the lack of a paper trail. Votes are recorded on data packs, which can be run through a machine again, but without seeing a voter’s actual ballot, there’s going to be a question of whether tampering might have happened.
Of course no system is foolproof, but pencil-on-paper is as close to perfect as we can get. And with optical scanning, counting votes doesn’t have to take all night (unless, of course, we’re talking Fulton County).
But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday of a skirmish between two Republican candidates for governor over this very issue.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he’ll support a plan to ditch the current system and go with paper voting. But Secretary of State Brian Kemp — the state’s top elections official — went for predictable political rhetoric to save face on the voting system he’s used.
“Is Casey Cagle that desperate for higher office that he would side with the radical left to tear down Georgia and our institutions?” Kemp asked, according to the AJC.
Kemp offers a lot in the GOP field, but Cagle is far from siding with “liberal conspiracy theorists” in raising the possibility of making a change. Indeed, it should be accepted fact Georgia will have to make some kind of change in its voting system within a few years at most. The technology’s age will require it.
Democrats and Republicans should be able to work together to make it easier for Georgians to vote, and to have every confidence their votes will be counted accurately, quickly and securely.
Alcohol measure deserves ‘yes’
The Covington City Council will consider a measure to allow downtown shops to serve alcohol to customers.
It deserves a “yes” vote as soon as possible.
For several years, some shopkeepers erroneously thought they could serve a glass of wine to customers while they browsed. But, a closer inspection of the law revealed that wasn’t acceptable. And when the council went to address the matter, it was voted down last year.
But there are two new faces on the City Council and, it seems, a growing appreciation of the need to accept new ways of looking at problems.
This one should be easy. If store owners can serve responsibly — to adults who aren’t intoxicated — this should be easy. We wouldn’t expect them to be in true competition with restaurateurs because no one can afford to give away that much product.
Our Thoughts is the opinion of the editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher David Clemons and Managing Editor Jackie Gutknecht.