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Tech glitches keep Atlanta voters waiting for mail ballots


ATLANTA (AP) — The election director for Georgia’s most populous county said Thursday that technical issues have prevented officials from processing absentee ballot applications sent in by email, causing a backlog of thousands of pending applications ahead of the June 9 primaries.

Voters in Fulton County, covering Atlanta and its northern and southern suburbs, have complained of weeks of waiting with little or no information. The issue highlights the growing pains of Georgia counties from the state’s big shift toward absentee voting by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Election Director Richard Barron made the remarks at a meeting of the Fulton County election board held by video conference. He said that while the county was largely caught up with ballot applications sent through the mail, processing emailed applications has caused “a lot of difficulty.”

First a “deluge” of email applications essentially froze the county email accounts where they’re collected because “there was so much memory taken up from all of the attachments,” Barron said. Then, he said, various types of attachments, including some with movie files, jammed up printers.

Barron said the county has received nearly 27,000 emails containing applications, though he said he couldn’t give a total number of applications because some contain applications for multiple people while others are potential duplicates. Only about 3,000 of them have been able to be processed so far, he said.

Barron said that a workaround is being implemented and that the county should be caught up on the processing of email applications by next week. He said workers from other areas of county government are being brought on to help and that staff are working overtime to get caught up.


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