Voter check-in computers come back online after outage in Georgia

May 2, 2022 Atlanta: Voters gathered at the Buckhead Library located at 269 Buckhead Ave NE in  Atlanta for early voting on Monday May 2, 2022. Three weeks of early voting began Monday for voters who want to cast their ballots in the Georgia primary before election day on May 24. In-person early voting is usually the most popular way of participating in Georgia elections, providing at least 17 days when voters can pick a time that fits their schedule. About 54% of voters cast ballots in advance during the 2020 presidential election. The primary includes races for Georgia governor, the U.S. Senate, statewide offices and the General Assembly. Early voting locations, hours and sample ballots are available online on the state’s My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. The primary might be the first time many voters go to the polls since the General Assembly passed Georgia’s new voting law in March 2021, though some cities held local elections in the fall. Changes to voting laws affect early voting in several ways. The minimum early voting hours are set at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and counties can offer up to 12 hours of daily early voting, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In previous elections, early voting times were required “during normal business hours,” but those hours weren’t defined. Early voting will also be offered on two Saturdays, and local election offices have the option of providing voting hours on two Sundays as well. Before the law, one Saturday of early voting was required. Early voting is available from May 2 to May 20. All voters also have the option of casting absentee ballots in advance of election day, but the rules have changed. Under Georgia’s voting law, voters can no longer request an absentee ballot online without signing a paper form, meaning they’ll need access to a printer in most circumstances. A driver’s license or other form of ID is also required. The state’s new absentee ballot request website is securemyabsenteeballot.sos.ga.gov.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is now 11 days before election day, on May 13 for the primary, and completed ballots must be received at local election offices before polls close. Voters can return absentee ballots through the mail or in drop boxes, but fewer ballot drop boxes are available this year, and there won’t be an option during the final days of the election. Georgia’s voting law prohibits drop boxes from being used except during early voting hours, and they can only be located inside early voting locations. The number of drop boxes in each county is capped at one for every 100,000 active voters or the number of early voting locations, whichever is lower. Every county must install at least one drop box. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
May 2, 2022 Atlanta: Voters gathered at the Buckhead Library located at 269 Buckhead Ave NE in Atlanta for early voting on Monday May 2, 2022. Three weeks of early voting began Monday for voters who want to cast their ballots in the Georgia primary before election day on May 24. In-person early voting is usually the most popular way of participating in Georgia elections, providing at least 17 days when voters can pick a time that fits their schedule. About 54% of voters cast ballots in advance during the 2020 presidential election. The primary includes races for Georgia governor, the U.S. Senate, statewide offices and the General Assembly. Early voting locations, hours and sample ballots are available online on the state’s My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. The primary might be the first time many voters go to the polls since the General Assembly passed Georgia’s new voting law in March 2021, though some cities held local elections in the fall. Changes to voting laws affect early voting in several ways. The minimum early voting hours are set at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and counties can offer up to 12 hours of daily early voting, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In previous elections, early voting times were required “during normal business hours,” but those hours weren’t defined. Early voting will also be offered on two Saturdays, and local election offices have the option of providing voting hours on two Sundays as well. Before the law, one Saturday of early voting was required. Early voting is available from May 2 to May 20. All voters also have the option of casting absentee ballots in advance of election day, but the rules have changed. Under Georgia’s voting law, voters can no longer request an absentee ballot online without signing a paper form, meaning they’ll need access to a printer in most circumstances. A driver’s license or other form of ID is also required. The state’s new absentee ballot request website is securemyabsenteeballot.sos.ga.gov. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is now 11 days before election day, on May 13 for the primary, and completed ballots must be received at local election offices before polls close. Voters can return absentee ballots through the mail or in drop boxes, but fewer ballot drop boxes are available this year, and there won’t be an option during the final days of the election. Georgia’s voting law prohibits drop boxes from being used except during early voting hours, and they can only be located inside early voting locations. The number of drop boxes in each county is capped at one for every 100,000 active voters or the number of early voting locations, whichever is lower. Every county must install at least one drop box. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

‘Glitch’ snarled early voting Thursday morning

Georgia’s voter check-in system was restored Thursday morning after a statewide outage had caused problems with early voting in the primary election, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Voters were still able to cast ballots during the outage, but poll workers had to use backup procedures to verify their registration information before they were allowed to vote.

The problem was caused by a “glitch” after primary and backup servers automatically restarted Wednesday night, said a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. Restarting the servers Thursday morning appeared to fix the issue,

The disruption affected Georgia’s voter registration system, called ElectioNet, which is used to check in voters at early voting locations during the primary. The secretary of state’s office announced plans to replace the ElectioNet system earlier this year, but the new computer system wasn’t ready in time for the primary.

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Election workers instead checked in voters without using ElectioNet, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Early voting locations have thumb drives that contain the voter rolls, and counties could also verify voters’ registration information through the state’s My Voter Page. Some counties, including Fulton, use check-in system called EasyVote that remained operational.

Backup systems create voting records that ensure only one ballot is cast for each voter, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Through Wednesday, early voting turnout reached record levels for a primary, with over 92,500 people voting in the first three days. Early voting is available for three weeks ahead of the May 24 election.

In DeKalb County, election officials confirmed they were unable to use ElectioNet during the outage Thursday, but there were no reports of delays or lines.

“Our goal is to process everyone accurately and quickly so everyone can cast their ballots today as intended,” said spokesman Erik Burton.