‘Rare error’ delays Fulton County vote counts in 6th district race

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‘Rare error’ delays Fulton County vote counts in 6th district race

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David Barnes
Alpharetta resident Toni Kuhn, left, hands her voter card to Birdel Jackson III, center, at Alpharetta Fire Station 82 in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Cobb, Fulton and North DeKalb residents cast ballots today for the highly contested 6th Congressional District race. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

A “rare error” with a memory card that didn’t properly upload its vote tallies caused a long delay Tuesday night as Fulton County reported election results.

The issue was with a card with vote totals from the 6th congressional district, said Richard Barron, Fulton’s director of registration and elections. While no votes were compromised, the problem delayed counting for more than an hour while the card was identified and reread, Barron said.

“While we’re looking for it, we can’t let any more results come through,” Barron said. “When you’re reading memory cards, if you don’t have something right, it can happen.”

Barron said when the county moves to export vote totals to its website, it should get a dialog box that says “operation successful.”

Instead, the result was “just a line of gobbledygook, just a line of junk, just letters,” Barron said.

The problem was discovered between 10:30 and 11 p.m. In addition to delaying 6th district results, it also affected updates in the Roswell, Johns Creek and South Fulton elections. Counting in all had to be halted while the card was found.

Candice Broce, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office, said the problem seemed to come from the fact that Fulton had to run multiple databases to handle the various elections. She said an investigator is at the county’s main elections center, but that the problem appears to be a technical issue.

“It seems like they got it squared away pretty quickly,” she said. “We’re still trying to figure out exactly what the connection was.”

Just after midnight, Barron said he was “ready to keep going.” He estimated the problem pushed results back by an hour and 15 minutes.

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