Three election security bills headed to governor Kemp.

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After two years of legislative debate and loud and persistent grassroots citizen activism, the Georgia Assembly voted to beef up security in Georgia’s elections substantially. According to election security activist David Cross, one of the most significant changes will be the addition of a”visible watermark security feature” on ballots that will identify each ballot as an “official Georgia ballot.” This election security measure is one of many the Georgia Assembly passed before it adjourned for Sine Die after midnight on Mar. 28.

Three critical bills, SB189, HB974, and HB1207, go a long way to end “unverifiable, secretly counted elections” in Georgia, according to a press release from VoterGA. VoterGA was founded by Garland Favorito, one of the state’s most dedicated election security activists. The new bills deter “ballot traffickingcounterfeit ballots, and ballot box stuffing” by requiring visible watermarks and more robust chain of custody procedures. According to Favorito, all of these measures will improve transparency in the administration of elections. The governor has 40 days to sign off on the bills for them to be official.

The omnibus bill SB189 passed 33-22 just after midnight on Mar. 28 after Democrats made several unsuccessful attempts to stop the bill. It is important to note that much of the language in HB976 was transferred to SB189 to make the legislative process more efficient. One of the most significant aspects of SB189 is that the text portion of the paper ballot, not the QR code, will be used as the “official vote for purposes of vote tabulation,” both in the election and in any subsequent audit or recount. QR-coded ballots make it impossible for voters to know their votes were cast and counted properly.

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