Cathy Watkins of Cartersville inserts her printed-out ballot into a scanner Thursday after voting on Georgia’s new voting machines. Voters in six counties across the state, including Bartow County and its city of Cartersville, are testing the new voting system in this fall’s elections. Voters across Georgia will use the machines in the March 24 presidential primary. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM
Photo: MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM
Photo: MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

How DeKalb residents can try out Georgia’s new voting machines

Update: Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson’s office originally said this town hall event was scheduled for Dec. 11, but later announced that it was postponed. Officials are expected to announce a new date soon.

An upcoming event in DeKalb County will give residents the chance to try out Georgia’s new voting machines before they see a full rollout in the spring.

A town hall hosted by DeKalb Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson will include interactive demonstrations of the new machines and information on voter registration, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

All of Georgia's electronic voting machines are being replaced with a new voting system before the March 24 presidential primary. The new voting equipment prints out paper ballots, providing a way to check electronic results after years of complaints of alleged voting irregularities and security issues.

MORE: How Georgia’s new voting machines work

“I want to ensure DeKalb residents have faith in the system and equal access to voting free of disenfranchisement,” Cochran-Johnson said in a statement.

The town hall comes as state election officials intend to remove 313,000 of the state’s 7.4 million registered voters because they moved away or haven’t participated in elections for at least seven years.

All of Georgia’s electronic voting machines are being replaced before the March 24 presidential primary. The new voting system uses touchscreens, printed-out paper ballots and ballot scanners.

In DeKalb, about 27,700 voters were deemed “inactive” and were placed on the list to be purged from the rolls, elections director Erica Hamilton said at a recent Board of Registrations and Elections meeting. Their registrations won’t be removed if they sign and return postage-paid postcards within 30 days. They can also restore their voting status by voting or re-registering to vote.

“Understanding the approaching purge, I want to get an early start on checking the voter status of DeKalb residents,” Cochran-Johnson said. “I hear my constituents loud and clear when they voice concerns and I’m dedicated to ensuring no vote goes uncounted.”

The town hall panel will include speakers from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office and DeKalb elections board. They will discuss topics including voting practices, absentee voting procedures, ballot processing times and provisional ballots. Attendees will also be able to check their voting status and register to vote at the event.

Voters in six pilot counties — which did not include DeKalb — cast ballots on the new voting system during local elections earlier this month. There were some minor problems, but officials said the first trial of the new machines went smoothly overall.

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