2017, file photo shows a new voting machine which prints a paper record on display at a polling site in Conyers, Ga. Georgia officials have estimated it could cost over $100 million to adopt the machines statewide. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

A federal judge may have to consider if Georgia should switch from electronic voting machines to paper ballots before the upcoming November elections.

Voting rights groups and individuals in Georgia have sued the state saying the 2002 touch-voting machines need to be replaced as they are prone to hacking and votes have been recorded incorrectly.

Those groups have asked a federal judge, Amy Totenberg, to have the Georgia Secretary of State’s office implement the use of paper ballots before the November 6 elections.

Totenberg listened to arguments in court Wednesday from both sides and said she hopes to have a decision by Friday, or by Monday at the latest, according to ABC News.

Cybersecurity experts and federal officials have told Georgia that voting machines without an auditable paper trail are not secure as the lawyers argued in court favoring the use of paper ballots.

Currently, Georgia uses paper ballots counted by optical scanners for absentee voting and for provisional ballots on election day. The technology and protocols are already in place and simply need to be upgraded; however, optical scanners are considered limited throughout the state.

Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who is also running to be governor, says such a change cannot be made before November. Kemp faces Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. Kemp has already placed in for proposals from bidders to have the machines change and include paper ballots for auditing before the elections in 2020.

According to state election board officials, the state touchscreen voting system was found to record every vote that was cast and listed ways that paper ballots could be changed.

The judge stated a lot of nationally recognized organizations have raised credible concerns on the voting system and that she will have to review her decision as switching to paper ballots before November would be problematic.

 

 

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