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Delivery issues led to missing voting equipment in Gwinnett County

An Atlanta voter waits in line to cast his ballot at the Pittman Park Community Center during the Georgia primary elections, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM) AJC FILE PHOTO
An Atlanta voter waits in line to cast his ballot at the Pittman Park Community Center during the Georgia primary elections, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM) AJC FILE PHOTO

Gwinnett County did not have all of its polling equipment delivered to precincts on time Tuesday because of a change in how the equipment was delivered, a county spokesman said.

When polls opened at 7 a.m., 16 of the county's 156 precincts still had not received voting machines. At another two locations, polls opened late because poll workers had trouble setting up the machines. At 17 locations, a judge ordered that the polls stay open past 7 p.m.

In the past, Gwinnett spokesperson Joe Sorenson said, the county had rented trucks and used off-duty firefighters to deliver the equipment. But with the roll-out of a new voting system that uses touchscreens, printers and ballot scanners that take up more space, the county hired a private company to deliver the equipment.

The late delivery, Sorenson said in a statement, was the result of “equipment staging issues and coordination issues between Elections workers and the trucking company.”

He said the amount of equipment that would fit on each truck was an issue, as was driver communication. The routes used to deliver equipment weren’t always the most efficient.

The county plans to add a third delivery day for polling equipment for the remaining 2020 elections, Sorenson said, as well as modify the delivery plan.

He said as elections officials continue to count absentee ballots, there won't be more information released about the issues that led to precincts opening without all the equipment they needed. The county has received more than 77,000 absentee ballots, but still does not have a final number for how many were turned in. More than 74,000 people voted in person on Election Day.

"Right now, their focus is going to be on getting this election done," Sorenson said. "It will be after the election is certified until they pay any attention to this."