(The Center Square) — The Georgia Senate has passed a bill proponents say would eliminate the use of QR codes to count ballots, but the state office that oversees elections said it could make it “impossible” to run this year’s elections.
Senate Bill 189 effectively eliminates using QR codes to tally ballots during elections. Some critics have expressed distrust of QR codes on ballots.
“Public trust in our elections should be of utmost concern for every elected official in Georgia,” state Sen. Max Burns, R-Sylvania, said in a statement. “Removing QR codes from printed ballots is a powerful step forward to increase that trust and secure our state’s elections.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office previously dismissed concerns about QR codes as “fears stoked by misinformation and disinformation.” On Wednesday, his office refuted assertions that the bill was necessary.
“I don’t think they have thought through all the implications,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs told The Center Square in a statement when asked about the bill’s passage. “It would make it impossible to run the 2024 election.”
Raffensperger, a Republican, has drawn the ire of many in his party after the 2020 elections, and his office previously said removing QR codes from ballots would take six to nine months and be impossible in an election year. Making the necessary changes in software and hardware could also cost taxpayers roughly $25 million, the secretary of state’s office said last month.
According to state officials, the previously approved Senate Bill 202, the Election Integrity Act of 2021, mandates counties upload scanned ballot images for every vote.
“Georgians deserve to have public trust and transparency in our elections process,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones, a Republican, said in a statement. “With the elimination of QR codes on printed ballots, we can help further ensure that Georgians trust their votes were properly counted.”