Voting slowed to a crawl across Georgia this week in large part because of check-in computers that couldn’t handle the load of record turnout at early voting locations.
The problem created a bottleneck as voters reached the front of the line, when poll workers had to deal with sluggish laptops to verify each voter. Some early voting sites reported checking in just 10 voters per hour at each computer.
The computer problem shows why poll workers struggled to clear long lines: They could only move as quickly as the technology would let them while managing 243,000 voters in the first two days of Georgia’s three-week period of early voting.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger initially attributed the lines to high turnout, which is part of the reason for delays. But it became clear from interviews with poll workers, election officials and voters this week that technical difficulties contributed to severe waits.
Raffensperger said Wednesday that he’s working with the state’s election software company to improve speeds and process voters more quickly.
Later in the day, his office said the state’s elections software vendor, New Orleans-based Civix, had increased bandwidth, resulting in immediate improvements reported by many counties. Wait times fell from over three hours to about one hour Wednesday afternoon at several early voting sites in metro Atlanta.