“Exclusive: First look at paper-ballot machines that Georgia is testing”

AJC:

The test of the system, demonstrated exclusively Tuesday for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV, came as early voters in Conyers will begin Oct. 16 to use the ballots along with new electronic record, voting and tabulating machines ahead of a Nov. 7 election for mayor and two City Council seats.

If all goes as planned, it’s the first time voters — excluding absentee voters — will have cast ballots on a system with a paper component since 2008. Back then, officials attached paper spools for a local election on some of the state’s existing electronic voting machines but decided the process was too cumbersome to proceed.

It also sets the stage for conversations at the state Capitol about how Georgia can transition away from the aging election system it currently uses. The state last overhauled its system in 2002, at a cost of at least $54 million, when it committed to the now-familiar touch-screen electronic voting machines that millions of voters here still use today.

At the same time, it eliminated a paper trail of recorded votes — something election experts now warn against.

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