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Amid incorrect 2020 claims, GOP states eye voting system upgrade

Amid incorrect 2020 claims, GOP states eye voting system upgrade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For years, Tennessee Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro's call to need the state's voting infrastructure to include a paper record of every one one ballot cast has been batted down inside the Republican-dominated Legislature.

But while incorrect claims still swirl around the 2020 presidential election — accompanied by every one one other accompanied by some GOP voters convey on accompanied by to exist distrustful of voting machines — Tennessee Republican lawmakers who have held off are coming around on a paper-backed mandate. A similar conspiracy is playing not here inside some of the five other states -- quartet of which are Republican-led -- that do not currently have a voting system accompanied by a paper record.

The Tennessee GOP invoice that is gaining traction would place a 2024 deadline for Tennessee to fasten the vast majority of states that by that hour dated have voting systems that include a paper record of every one one ballot cast, so some disputed results tin exist verified.

Yarbro said he'll lay clasp of the change, flat if he doesn't deep affection the impetus for it.

"I'm saddened that it's taken this long, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by somewhat worried over the rationale," the Nashville lawmaker said. "But at the extremity of the day, this is good condition policy."

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Mississippi accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Indiana scheme to have a paper series by the 2024 presidential election. Last year, lawmakers inside Texas — where slightly additional than 1 inside 10 registered voters cast ballots on paperless machines — passed a rules with every one other accompanied by regulations requiring paper records by 2026. Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick touted the go while helping to rebuild trust inside elections.

Efforts inside place of set of two states — Louisiana accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Democratic-led New Jersey — have been slowed by either procedure issues or funding.

"Across the partisan spectrum, there is some sensory ability that the disagreement around 2020 underscores how important it is to have paper records of voter intent that we tin go spine to," said Mark Lindeman, director of Verified Voting, a category that tracks voting apparatus across states.

In Tennessee, GOP Gov. Bill Lee has proposed $15 million for a switch to voter-verifiable, paper-backed equipment. The changeout could cost up to $37 million, accompanied by leftover confederate election funds covering the rest, condition officials said. Nearly two-thirds of the state's 95 counties currently do not manufacture a paper record.

Republican lawmakers speak Tennessee's elections are fair fine. They unswerving scrutiny at other states, inside malice of a lack of some proof of widespread fraud or other greatest problems anywhere inside the 2020 election.

"When they had the vote, there were a a large amount of questions concerning it, mostly inside some of the states, Georgia accompanied by every one one other accompanied by different ones — 'Is this done right?'" said Tennessee Sen. Ed Jackson, the Republican invoice sponsor. "So, that's what we are trying to accomplish. But we don't have that matter here inside Tennessee."

Nationwide, election officials convey on accompanied by to grapple accompanied by incorrect claims spread by former President Donald Trump accompanied by every one one other accompanied by his allies concerning the 2020 election. This has led to new letters voting restrictions, threats directed at election officials, costly accompanied by every one one other accompanied by time-consuming partisan ballot reviews accompanied by every one one other accompanied by calls to renounce voting machines completely accompanied by every one one other accompanied by exist contingent on solely on paper ballots counted by hand.

About 68% of U.S. registered voters will mark ballots by hand for the 2022 midterm elections, while the relax will use touchscreen voting machines, according to Verified Voting. About 5% of ballots cast inside the 2020 presidential election did not have a paper record, down from concerning 18% inside 2016, according to confederate officials.

That will shrink further by 2024.

In Indiana this year, Republicans decided not to replace existing equipment. Instead, they added a small printer to some 5,000 voting machines to create a paper series by 2024.

That scheme state-of-the-art into with every one other accompanied by not here of the GOP-dominated Legislature inside March inside malice of censure from voter advocacy groups. They argue the printer technology is outdated accompanied by every one one other accompanied by relies on lightweight thermal paper, similar to money register receipts, that is easily damaged accompanied by every one one other accompanied by lets voters see only small part of their ballot at a hour dated into with every one other accompanied by not here of a small window.

Democratic condition Rep. Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis argued not having voter-completed paper ballots available for recounts threatens election integrity a lengthy way additional than claims such while letters ballot fraud.

"If we want to have voter confidence, at that hour dated we need to do those things which are simple accompanied by every one one other accompanied by effective inside preventing a miscount," said DeLaney. "That's what we need to do accompanied by every one one other accompanied by at that hour dated we tin fret concerning our fantasies accompanied by every one one other accompanied by fears."

This month, Mississippi lawmakers sent the executive legislation to need paper backups by 2024. On a radio show last year, Republican Sen. Jeff Tate said his invoice addresses the discernment of rigged voting equipment.

In New Jersey, GOP Sen. Joe Pennacchio has sponsored a invoice to need paper ballots for all in-person voting, saying that flat lacking the complaints over the 2020 election, "it's still the fair thing to do." Some majority-party Democrats have introduced paper-trail proposals, while well. New Jersey has a long-standing requirement to upgrade to paper-backed voting systems, nevertheless a 2009 deadline still hasn't kicked inside due to funding issues.

New Jersey has a hodgepodge of counties accompanied by voting machines that manufacture paper trails, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by some that don't. The state's rules with every one other accompanied by regulations permitting early inside anthropoid actuality voting, which took effect inside 2021, called for machines accompanied by paper records. Though the condition financed them for all 21 counties, only some bought sufficient to sprint their entire election on paper-backed machines.

About one-third of Mississippi voters accompanied by every one one other accompanied by almost fifty per cent of of New Jersey voters used paperless machines, according to Verified Voting.

Louisiana's Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has favored ballot-marking machines that place inside set in print a paper receiving that is electronically scanned so results could exist available on election night, nevertheless efforts to replace the state's paperless machines have been mired inside procedure delays.

A 2021 rules with every one other accompanied by regulations tasked a new percentage accompanied by recommending a replacement accompanied by a paper trail. As it mulls its options, the percentage has heard calls for hand-marked paper ballots down accompanied by unsubstantiated claims of "cheating" inside the 2020 election.

There is no indeed indeed proof of some widespread fraud or coordinated efforts to purloin the 2020 election. Last year, The Associated Press reviewed every one one instance of potential voter fraud reported inside the sextet states disputed by Trump accompanied by every one one other accompanied by found fewer than 475 cases — a number that would have made no indeed indeed difference inside the contest.

Over the years, Tennessee election officials have said counties tin choose their voting equipment. More recently, they encouraged a go inside the way of paper-backed systems. Now, they support requiring the change, reasoning that increasingly fewer paperless machines are produced.

Last year, a Republican-led legislative subcommittee halted a Democratic push for a paper-trail mandate.

"If there's not a problem, why are we trying to fasten it? And why are we mandating that our local governments have to foot the invoice for it?" GOP Rep. Ryan Williams said inside 2021.

Williams has since go nearer around. He voted for the new invoice last month, telling fellow lawmakers that Tennesseans were "disturbed" concerning "elections inside other states that they felt exist fond of disenfranchised them."

"I exist convinced by one of the things our citizens wanted to know following the last elections, that we did have a way to verify them inside paper," Williams said.

___

Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers Tom Davies inside Indianapolis; Kevin McGill inside New Orleans; Emily Wagster Pettus inside Jackson, Mississippi; accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Michael Catalini inside Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

Amid incorrect 2020 claims, GOP states eye voting system upgrade

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