Georgia SOS seeks to replace criticized voting machines

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s new elections chief is asking lawmakers for $150 million to replace the state’s aging electronic voting machines, which experts have warned are vulnerable to hacking.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Georgia legislators holding budget hearings Wednesday that a new voting system is his top priority. However, he all but closed the door on options that use hand-marked paper ballots, which cybersecurity experts favor.

Experts say the touch-screen machines Georgia has used since 2002 make auditing elections difficult because they produce no verifiable paper record.

The machines and Georgia’s registration practices became the subject of national criticism during last year’s governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Before winning, Kemp served as secretary of state and refused calls to resign from overseeing his own election.

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