UPDATE: Service restored, early voting issues resolved in Kenner

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UPDATE: Internet service was restored shortly after 12:30.

KENNER, La. (WGNO) – An internet outage at the early voting station in Kenner has resulted in waits of one and a half to two hours.

Early voters wait in long lines in Kenner. Photo by Jabari Thomas.

Early voters wait in long lines in Kenner. Photo by Jabari Thomas.

Administrative Superintendent Tara Aleman said internet services never came on this morning as staff members began preparing for the first day of early voting for the presidential election.

“It [internet service] never came up,” Aleman said. “We opened at 8 a.m. Early voting doesn’t start until 8:30, but we start testing the machines and everything first thing in the morning, and the system was already down.”

Without internet service, the seven employees at the location on Minor Street have to manually enter every bit of information, resulting in the extensive wait times.

“We are on manual mode, so it takes quite some time,” Aleman said. “We have our poll lists already saved to our computers, so we can go from there to find the voters. We have to manually fill out paperwork and manually program their card for them to cast their ballot.”

Photo by Jabari Thomas.

Photo by Jabari Thomas.

In the nine years that she has worked for the Louisiana Registrar of Voters, Aleman said she has never seen an outage this bad.

“This has never happened before at this office,” she said. “Not even briefly.”

The votes being cast now do count and are as valid as any vote cast using the benefit of the internet, Aleman said, but the lack of connectivity is causing a tremendous wait.

“The line is going outside, so I do not see it when people leave, but I am sure it is happening,” she said. “Personally, I wouldn’t wait that long to vote.”