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The Adoption of Cloud for Voter Registration in Georgia

Georgia is replacing its current voter registration system with a Salesforce cloud-based platform. The new system, called the Georgia Registered Voter Information System (GaRVIS), will be housed on secure Salesforce servers authorised by the Federal Risk and Authorisation Management Program (FedRAMP) at the highest security level – the same level the company uses for its most sensitive government clients.

Technology consulting firm is the implementation partner developing the user interface that Georgia’s elections officials will use as part of the Salesforce system. The changes to the voter registration process will be entirely on the administrative side, officials said. Georgia voters will not see any difference in their voting experience.

This new system is more advanced, more secure and more user friendly and will give our election directors and my office new tools to better manage our election efforts.

– Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State

The current system was initially unable to handle the high turnout associated with early voting in the 2020 election. During early voting, wait times exceeded eight hours before extra capacity was added, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Technology evolves just as the threat environment evolves. The team realised that people needed a faster, better, friendlier and more secure system, and that’s why they chose this more secure technology platform.

GaRVIS will house the state’s 7.7 million voter registration records and process early votes and absentee ballots. The new system will cost less than $3.5 million, a spokesman for Raffensperger’s office said. This upgrade is the result of a modernisation initiative to build modern, scalable, resilient and secure technology for Georgia elections.

“Since day one, I have taken action to secure the vote in Georgia. This partnership will help ensure Georgia’s voting system is secure, reliable, efficient for years to come,” Raffensperger said.

County and local elections officials around the state have already been introduced to the new system and will be trained on it in the coming weeks and months, officials said. Following training, the new system will be launched statewide. County and local elections offices will still be able to use the old system while learning to use the new one. The current system will remain operational so it can be used as a backup if necessary.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, a report titled “Government Cloud Platforms 2021–2022 RadarView” evaluated 15 providers based on product maturity, enterprise adaptability and future readiness. The report identifies four trends that are shaping the market. The first is the increasing compliance needs that are accelerating the shift to the cloud. The cloud helps agencies address sensitive workloads, such as those involving health care data while complying with requirements.

State and local governments are increasingly adopting cloud to lower IT and licensing costs. Cloud can help city councils manage and organise resources and foster communication and collaboration. It can help them securely store, analyse and process sensitive economic data, and they can more easily capture and process data from the internet of things and edge computing.

The second trend is the emergence of tailored cloud regions for communities such as defence and intelligence. Such regions can address the level of sensitive data that these communities work with, and these users can look to these isolated cloud resources to deploy workloads securely and compliantly.

The third trend is the fact that convergence with emerging technologies is driving change. Fourth, government cloud providers are expanding their influence by growing into new regions and helping the public sector shift to the cloud while maintaining data governance and sovereignty. Moves toward modernisation, smart cities and a digital economy are driving governments to upgrade their IT infrastructure, and the cloud is the best way to ensure that data is securely and readily available.

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