Glitch temporarily halts voting

Published 12:04 am Thursday, November 1, 2012

NATCHEZ — A computer malfunction in Jackson meant Adams County’s absentee voters had to either leave for lack of time or vote the low-tech way Tuesday.

The issue has since been fixed.

Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker said Mississippi’s statewide election management systems computer was not accessible for part of Tuesday due to an interruption in Internet service in Jackson.

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“We told voters, ‘We will give you a choice — you can stay here at the counter and vote the old-fashioned way, or you can come back later if you don’t have time for that now,’” Walker said.

The computer system in Jackson came back online at approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday, and Walker said those votes that were cast on the paper ballots during the system downtime were re-entered electronically.

“After 5 p.m. we took all of the people who voted the old-fashioned way and uploaded their data in to the system to show that they had done everything,” he said. “The computer now shows that they are a registered voter and that they did vote yesterday.”

The circuit clerk said he prefers for voters to use the computer-based voting machines because it maintains an electronic record of who has and has not voted, but it is not unknown for the system to go down and the clerk’s office is prepared to vote non-electronically if that happens.

In-house absentee voting at the circuit clerk’s office will continue through Saturday.

Saturday the office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.

All mail-in ballots must be received by the clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Monday.