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Politics

Computer Woes Slow Riverside County Voting

In this undated photo, unopened mail-in ballots are stacked in postal bins ready to be counted. The Postal Service says it has already handled 100 million election ballots this year.
Elaine Thompson AP
In this undated photo, unopened mail-in ballots are stacked in postal bins ready to be counted. The Postal Service says it has already handled 100 million election ballots this year.

Updated 6:20 p.m., Saturday, October 31

Riverside county officials say they have idenitified the issues causing delays at their voter assistance centers. In a news release Saturday evening, the county said, "These issues are being resolved. Tomorrow, we expect all voter assistance centers to process faster, with fewer delays."

Original Story:

Some voters in Temecula and other parts of Riverside County reported long waits of as much as three hours to cast their ballots on Saturday. County officials said some of their 130 sites were experiencing “intermittent delays in processing voters related due to significant volume in the voter registration lookup system,” which is connected to the Internet.

County spokeswoman Brooke Federico told KPBS the system is used to look up voters who arrive at polling sites without their mail-in ballots. Once the voter is located in the system, the mail-in ballot is invalidated so the voter can cast a ballot in person. Federico said the county staff was working to correct the problem.

Voters were also being given the option of casting a provisional ballot instead of waiting for the system. Provisional ballots are counted after elections officials confirm they were cast by voters registered in that county who had not already voted.

At one point, reports had circulated on social media saying “voting machines” were down. The county says there have been no delays with its ballot marking machines, which are not connected to the internet and only mark ballots that are printed and then cast in a ballot box.