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Georgia’s First Day of Early Voting Greeted by Tech Difficulties

Voting machine malfunctions in Fulton County caused delays and forced staff to verify information manually.

(TNS) — On the first day of early voting in Georgia, election precincts in Fulton County encountered technology issues that created long lines.

A spokesperson for the county, April Majors, said the issue was with the machine used by poll workers to verify voter registration. Because the machine wasn’t working, poll workers had to verify voters’ information manually, which took much more time than the machine would have.

In an emailed statement at 12:40 p.m., the county’s department of registration and elections said, “Fulton County’s early voting polling locations at libraries are experiencing network technical issues. Unfortunately, they are unable to quickly verify voter’s registrations.”

They county followed up with another emailed statement about an hour later, saying all early voting locations were back to “normal operations.”

“The county’s Information Technology Department worked diligently to resolve the issue,” the statement read.

The problem was initially affecting the entire county, but as of lunchtime was only impacting some precincts.

Jerry Hudspeth, 73, of Johns Creek, said he went to vote Monday morning at the Johns Creek Library. Hudspeth said he and about 40 other people stood in line for 20 minutes and the line didn’t budge.

A poll worker came out and said they were having problems with the internet. Most people left, Hudspeth said. He came back to vote later, around 11:45 a.m., and said the line seemed to be moving.

“Fulton County has had months to prepare for this and told everybody to vote early,” Hudspeth said. “It was very disappointing.”

Amy Dosik of Sandy Springs said she encountered similar problems when she went to vote around 8:30 a.m. at the North Fulton County Government Center on Roswell Road. Dosik said she was about the 20th person in line, but there were many more people behind her.

Poll workers came out and began asking voters to fill out paper absentee ballots. According to Dosik, the poll workers said that the electronic voting machines were on, but they weren’t loading the list of registered voters.

Dosik said that she was able to cast her ballot and she didn’t see any voters turned away. She added that there was a poll monitor present, which was “encouraging to see.”

©2018 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.