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New voting machines in works
During Effingham Day at the Capitol on Jan. 28, Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger tells the crowd that new voting machines will be on line for the 2020 election. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

ATLANTA — The General Assembly has elected to boost confidence in Georgia’s voting system.

Newly elected Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger will oversee the process.

“The number one issue will be updating our voting machines,” Raffensberger said during Effingham Day at the Capitol on Jan. 28. “At the end of the day, we sense that people want to see a paper ballot. The machines we have will probably look and feel similar to what we have today except, when you press a button, it will be to print a ballot.

“You will be able to look at that ballot and say, ‘Did I get it right? Do I agree with all that?’ Then you will take five or six steps to an optical scanner where the ballot will actually be counted.

“It will drop into a box and it we have to have a recount, there will be something to actually recount.”

The state also plans to get machines that will allow for post-election pre-certification audits.

“When you do an audit, what that really says is that those numbers are right,” Raffensberger said. “The person will know that the truly did win or lose. That confidence will be good for the entire state of Georgia and civic engagement.” 

Raffensberger, a former Georgia House member, said handling occupational licenses in the state is his office’s second-most important job.

“Over 500,000 people in the state of Georgia will have an occupational professional license,” he said. “I’m a licensed engineer. Nurses, architects and people like that have to have an occupational license through the Secretary of State’s office.

“My commitment to you is we will streamline licensing whereever we can. We will work on that.”

Georgia has reciprocity with other states.

“I think that’s really important because you have people move in from other states or, say their spouse gets a job here and then they come in from Tennessee, Alabama, Florida or wherever, and they want to practice in their chosen profession. If they can get their license here in Georgia, that’s good for job growth and it starts them doing what they want to do — practicing their careers.”

The secretary of state’s Corporations Division serves as custodian of corporate filings and provides copies and certifications of documents. The bulk of this is handled online.

“We had a bill that we passed in the House in the few years ago and we have to update the software that will allow you to renew your corporation for up to three years,” he said. 

Raffensberger said as many as 28,000 corporations  have updated their status in Georgia in one day.

“We want to make sure that you get your renewal quickly. I am also working with my IT folks to get that implemented for three-year renewals,” Raffensberger said.

Raffensberger wants to enhance entrepreneurship in the state.

“The cuts across all demographics, all folks,” he said. “When people create a business, that business will grow to be more than just you working up in your bonus room or working in your basement. Eventually, you are going to hire folks as you build your company.”