One of the nation's most unique election partnerships is in Georgia


KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 19, 2016)The brains of Georgia’s elections sit in a nondescript former residential home in Kennesaw, where bedrooms and living areas are now offices and the former garage houses a training room where election official run through mock elections.

The state’s collaboration with the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University is one of the most unique election partnerships in the nation. The center has only one client – the state – and only a handful of staff and student assistants, yet it has a hand in almost every operation that touches Election Day.

It creates every ballot (even the local ones) used in every election every year across the state; sources every electronic poll book (list of eligible voters) used in every election for each of the state’s 3,000 precincts; and tests every single piece of voting equipment used across the state, among other things.

“Each election,” said the center’s director, Michael Barnes, “is a miraculous operation.”

Founded in 2002 through a partnership with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, the center acts as a kind of repository for both state and local elections officials in the actual nuts-and-bolts of running an election.

“If we get a phone call at 7:30 in the morning on Election Day (from a local elections office) where the election management system is not responding, it’s not booting up to where they would be able to tally results that night, we can have an individual with a backup server in their car headed to that jurisdiction within about 30 minutes,” Barnes said. ...

Name of Publication:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Link to Article:


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit