Senate bill looks to create voting machine oversight commission

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – After multiple efforts to get new voting machines in Louisiana, a legislative bill is looking to bring the public in on the decision.

Senator Sharon Hewitt has proposed a bill to create a commission that would oversee the selection process of new voting machines. The Secretary of State has had to halt his search for machines twice and now there are hopes this commission can ensure voter trust in the process.

The selection of voting machines has come with challenges and with unproven claims of voter fraud still being discussed after the 2020 election, the legislature hopes to create trust in the process. The commission would be made up of election and cyber security experts as well as politicians and governor appointed members.

“I think of it as a funnel. The commission is the first decision,” Senator Hewitt said. “You’re looking at what are the families of voting systems that you want. Do you want ballot marking devices for example, or do you want DRE’s that are the things we are used to.”

Several speakers took the stand in opposition of the bill stating voting should be done on paper ballots. They claimed it was a safe way of voting to avoid hacking. They also suggested having grassroots members of the state to be on the commission.

“Bureaucracy is basically demonstrated there. I don’t know where the grassroots efforts of concerned citizens are on that,” said Lenar Whitney, a Louisiana RNC Comitteewoman.

Senator Hewitt said that could be considered and there would be a process to decide who could be added.

Hewitt also said the decision to use paper ballots would still require equipment for tallying ballots to get results in a timely manner.

The decision on using paper ballot machines would be up to the commission.

“This is the opportunity, this piece of legislation and the frameworks that Senator Hewitt has put together is the actual process by which we collect information, collect data, and we get the input from the public,” Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said.

The Senator and Secretary of State have worked on some amendments to improve the bill. The bill was moved favorably to advance on for further debate on the house floor.

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