While a U.S. District Court judge has rebuffed attempts to move Georgia’s fall municipal elections to paper ballots, she did order the state to replace its direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines with paper ballot systems by its March 24 presidential primary.

“The court prohibits any use of the GEMS/DRE system after 2019,” Judge Amy Totenberg noted in an order that granted “narrowly tailored relief measures to ensure that the GEMS/DRE system is not resorted to as a stopgap default system in the event the Secretary of State and its contractor are unable to fully and properly rollout the new BMD system in time for the 2020” presidential primary or other elections going forward.

Under former Secretary of State Brian Kemp, now governor of the state, Georgia was plagued with election woes and the state dragged its heels in replacing outdates and insecure systems. Kemp famously said that Georgia didn’t have to worry about its voting systems because they were secure. That was before Totenberg admonished Georgia officials in September for sticking their “head in the sand” in the face of evidence that showed the state’s election systems had obvious security holes.

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