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Old Georgia voting machines mothballed at port, saving tax money

Early voting machines wait to be processed at the Fulton County Elections Preparation Center in Atlanta on November 8th, 2016. (Photo by Phil Skinner)
Early voting machines wait to be processed at the Fulton County Elections Preparation Center in Atlanta on November 8th, 2016. (Photo by Phil Skinner)

Georgia's old voting computers will be moved to a government warehouse at the Port of Savannah, saving taxpayers about $432,000 a year in storage costs.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg recently approved the agreement, which resolves concerns about the expense of preserving 30,000 voting touchscreens for an election security lawsuit. Plaintiffs in the case want to inspect the computers to find out whether they were infected by viruses or malware.

The 18-year-old computers, which recorded votes electronically, were replaced this year by a voting system that uses new touchscreens and also prints out paper ballots.

The Georgia Ports Authority will store the obsolete equipment, which would fill 48 semi-trailers, at no ongoing cost to the state. The government will pay to transport the computers from rented warehouses to the port.

The secretary of state's office had sought to destroy the computers as state agencies had to reduce spending by 10% in the current fiscal year, which began last week.

But the June 25 court order denied the state's request and required continued storage of the voting computers.

Totenberg ordered state and county election officials to collect memory cards and work toward identifying a sample of voting machines for further examination.