By BEN NADLER
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Just months after a highly contentious race for Georgia governor, the state Senate has approved a House plan to purchase new electronic touchscreen voting machines that print a paper ballot.

It's a big step toward replacing Georgia's current outdated voting system, which offers no auditable paper trail. But some say it's a big step in the wrong direction.

The proposal comes amid several ongoing lawsuits challenging the state's handling of elections as well as a probe by U.S. House Democrats.

Republican lawmakers and county election officials say the proposed touchscreen machines are the easiest to administer and can accommodate all Georgians, including those with disabilities, under one system.

Democrats, voting integrity activists and cyber security experts say the machines are hackable and that hand-marked paper ballots would be cheaper and more secure.

The proposal now goes back to the House to consider Senate amendments.

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