July 24, 2018 - Atlanta, Ga: A voter walks toward the voting booths during the Georgia runoff election voting at Henry W. Grady High School Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in Atlanta. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)
Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: Jason Getz

Federal judge: Is it realistic to force Georgia to use paper ballots?

A federal judge is considering whether to switch Georgia from electronic to paper ballots before November’s election.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg wrote in an order Tuesday that she’ll evaluate the “practical realities” of changing the state to paper ballots less than three months before the election.

Totenberg’s order came in response to a lawsuit from voting integrity groups who say Georgia’s touchscreen voting machines could be hacked. The Coalition for Good Governance and other plaintiffs asked for a preliminary injunction Friday to stop the state from using direct-recording electronic voting units.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a defendant in the case, has said Georgia’s voting machines are safe but should be phased out after this year’s election.

Kemp, a Republican, will face Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election for governor.

Totenberg asked the parties in the case to file briefs this month about how difficult it would be to implement paper ballots statewide this fall.

“The court appreciates the gravity and importance of the constitutional issues,” Totenberg wrote. “At the same time, the court needs as a priority to assess the concrete reality of the challenges involved in implementing the Coalition’s requested injunctive relief in the compressed time frame available.”

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