MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Many Cobb County voters will cast hand-marked paper ballots in Nov. 5 municipal elections as part of a backup plan for Georgia's election equipment ordered by a federal judge.
A paper ballot system will be trialed in the cities of Austell, Kennesaw, Powder Springs and Smyrna in those elections and any subsequent runoffs, news outlets reported.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ordered election officials to develop and test a contingency plan in case the state's newly purchased electronic touchscreen voting machines aren't fully implemented by 2020.
The new machines, which print a paper record of a voter's selections, will replace the state's current outdated voting machines that don't produce an auditable paper trail.
Totenberg said the old machines can't be used after 2019. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he's confident the new machines will be in place for Georgia's March 24 presidential primaries.
Cobb County elections director Janine Eveler said she expects Cobb voters to be using the new machines by March, but that the paper ballot test is a "fail safe" against any issues that might arise.
Eveler said the state will foot the bill for printing paper ballots during the trial, so local governments won't incur additional costs.