2023 Election Successful; Work Already Begun on 2024 Election Prep

With election results from across the state in the books, including results in the Martin and Toccoa Municipal Elections, both state and local officials are looking back at the past several weeks and reviewing the election process. 

In a press release from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, he termed the 2023 elections, and the inaugural run of the state’s new Georgia Registered VOter Information System, or GARViS, a success. 

Deployed to all 159 Georgia counties in February 2023, GARViS is the newest tool for election administrators across Georgia, which officials say utilizes the newest generation in fully-secure, cloud-based data warehousing. GARViS uses Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program  servers and, according to Raffensperger, is the result of more than  150,000 hours of development, testing, and deployment. GARViS hosts more than 12,000,000 voter records, including more than 7 million active voter records.

According to state elections officials, GARViS’s advanced capacities allowed for a faster, more streamlined voter check-in process during Advance Voting, which reduces the risk of clerical errors at polling places and improves the voter experience. Additionally, according to Raffensperger’s press release, for the first time in Georgia history, Election Day voters who were checked-in using the state’s Poll Pads technology were able to see voter credit displaying on their GA My Voter Page within 30 minutes of checking in at the polls.

GARViS uses Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program  servers and is the result of over 150,000 hours of development, testing, and deployment. GARViS hosts over 12,000,000 voter records, including over 7 million active voter records.

Locally, Stephens County Election Supervisor Bruce Carlisle says the election went fairly well, and gave the local office a chance to see what worked well and what things needed improvement. 

Also gave the office a chance to train new volunteer poll workers in advance of next year’s extremely busy election year. 

Carlisle said the hands-on experience working with both absentee and provisional votes gave the office an opportunity to become familiar with the process and new technology, and he added that there are plans in the works to sit down with county administration and elections personnel to see where improvements can be made and build on the things that went well. 

Carlisle said deputy elections supervisor Isaac Overstreet was an invaluable assistance in dealing with the technology, even though the training in the new systems that was promised by the state was not provided. 

On the subject of the new GARViS system, he said he would give it a 5-star rating, adding that he was told that Stephens County was one of only a few counties where the GARVIS system did not work as expected, but Carlilse said he was confident that every vote was counted, and that voters were given credit for their votes within 30 minutes during early voting, and right away during election day voting. 

He finished the wrap-up of the 2023 Municipal Elections, saying that the voter turnout was lower than expected, and that he was disheartened by the number of people who had expressed through social media that they did not know where to vote, despite the extensive efforts by the elections office to disseminate that information in the weeks leading up to voting, but he said that the election was successful, and they are already gearing up for next year’s elections.