Sec. of State: User error responsible for long pause in 6th District results

11Alive has extensive coverage of the 6th district race

ATLANTA -- User error is being blamed for the rather long pause in the tabulation of election results for Georgia's 6th District race.

Vote counts seemed to be rolling in early and steady in Tuesday's special election for the Congressional seat to represent parts of Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb...until they weren't.

ELECTION RESULTS | Click here for the latest numbers

Fulton County's board of elections confirmed that the cause of the delay was a "rare technical error" with a memory card used to report results. The error was first discovered by Kennesaw State.

On Wednesday, the Georgia Secretary of State offered a more detailed explanation into what really happened. According to a spokesperson with the agency, Fulton County experienced an error when officials tried to upload voter results to the election server.

The Secretary of State's office believes that some of the memory cards used for special elections local to Johns Creek and Roswell were not properly sorted out from those used in the 6th District Congressional and another Senate race. When county officials tried to upload the results from all of the cards in lone large batch, the upload failed because some of those affected cards were not compatible with the database.

As a result, election officials had to track down the incorrect card and re-do the process.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in a statement that his office was certain that Tuesday's hours-long hiccup was as a result of user error and not with any of the voting systems or equipment. 

"Fulton officials are ultimately responsible for the error," Kemp said in a statement. "We have opened a formal investigation, and we will continue to gather the facts to find out exactly why this failure in training and basic procedure occurred."

Vote counting eventually got back on track, but when it was all said and done, 6th District Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who started the evening with a commanding lead, failed to gain the majority vote and win outright. The race was called by the Associated Press around 1 a.m., and is headed for a June 20 runoff between Osoff and Republican Candidate Karen Handel.

FULL WRAP-UP | Ossoff, Handel headed for runoff

While the Secretary of State may be confident in the integrity of the race, this was not the only mishap to befall this special election. During the final weekend of early voting for the 6th District race, an Internet connectivity issue was reported in Fulton County, forcing poll workers to resort to checking in voters by hand instead of electronically. Because of that, voters reported long lines -- particularly at the Roswell and Ocee Libraries -- with wait times said to be four hours long.

In Cobb County, just hours before polls opened, a thief smashed their way into a poll worker's car while they were inside a store and stole election equipment used to check voters in. The thief was later arrested by Cobb County Police, and the Cobb County board of elections told 11Alive that that poll worker could face punishment. 

Photos | Election day in the 6th district

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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