Georgia Senate backs new electronic voting machines

FILE- This May 22, 2018 file photo, shows a voter access card inserted in a voting reader during voting in the Georgia primary in Kennesaw, Ga. Just months after a highly contentious race for Georgia governor, the state Senate has approved a House plan to purchase new electronic touchscreen voting machines that print a paper ballot statewide. It's a big step toward replacing Georgia's current outdated voting system, which offers no auditable paper trail. But some say it's a big step in the wrong direction. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Legislation calling for Georgia to purchase new electronic touchscreen voting machines that print a paper ballot is headed to the governor's desk.

The House passed the election bill Thursday, a day after Senate approval.

The bill would replace a system that offers no auditable paper trail.

Republican lawmakers and many county election officials say the proposed $150 million purchase of electronic ballot marking devices will be the easiest to administer and can accommodate all Georgians.

But Democrats, cybersecurity experts, and others say the machines are hackable and hand-marked paper ballots would be cheaper and more secure.

The proposal comes months after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, then the secretary of state, defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in the governor's race, and amid several lawsuits challenging the state's handling of elections.

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