Technology error rejected some Georgia voter registration applications


Any Georgian who tried to register to vote online using his or her driver’s license number between Friday evening and midday Monday is being encouraged to re-register, after state officials found a problem over that weekend that likely rejected many of the applications.

The problem originated in the state Department of Driver Services, during an unsuccessful update at 6:30 p.m. Friday to the agency’s online security certificate. The failure caused an error that blocked instant verification of electronic voter registration applications for people using their driver’s license number to confirm their identity.

Election officials with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office discovered the problem Monday morning, and the system was back online by 12:30 p.m. that afternoon, officials said.

Officials could not say how many people were affected by the outage. However, officials with the Secretary of State’s Office said they saw a spike that same weekend in requests for printed paper registration applications.

“It’s obviously pretty awful timing,” said Bert Brantley, the commissioner of the Driver Services Department. Brantley said technology vendors do the updates regularly, and in this case the vendor was trying to renew the security certificate ahead of a Nov. 2 expiration. The vendor did not expect a problem, Brantley said, and did not tell the department what it was doing. And no one knew it had failed until the Secretary of State’s Office noticed the glitch Monday, he said.

“It’s a communication failure,” Brantley said, adding that the department has banned any further updates to the driver services system until after the state’s Oct. 11 voter registration deadline.

Anyone can confirm his or her voter status online through the Secretary of State Office’s online “my voter page” website (www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do).

If you need to register, there are several options:

  • For online voter registration, go to the Secretary of State Office’s website (www.sos.ga.gov) and, under the elections tab, click “Register to Vote.”
  • Text “GA” or “Georgia” to “2VOTE” (28683). This service is sponsored by the state.
  • Download a voter registration application (http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/register_to_vote) and mail in the completed form.
  • Check the “voter registration” box when you renew or apply for your driver’s license.
  • If you are a college student, you can obtain Georgia voter registration forms or the necessary forms to register in any U.S. state from your school registrar’s office.

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