Secretary of State’s Office says March presidential primary will go off without a hitch

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office believes the Fulton County Elections Office will be up and running in time for the March 12 presidential primary.

The state of Georgia cut off the Fulton County Elections Office when it learned about the cyberattack earlier this week.

It didn’t want that cyber security issue to spread to state systems. But it thinks it can help Fulton be ready.

“March 12th will go off,” said Gabe Sterling with the Secretary of State’s Office. “That is absolutely our intent. We expect that we will have most of this done hopefully within. I don’t want to put a number on it. We’ll have enough access for the Fulton County workers to do to be fully prepared for the March 12th primary.”

County officials say there’s no evidence the weekend cyberattack targeted any one office, like elections, but is causing countywide problems.

Sterling said they took Fulton elections offline Sunday night, the moment they heard about the attack isolating all 148 users.

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In a statement, the county said, “In an abundance of caution, Fulton County and the Secretary of State’s respective technology systems were isolated from one another as part of our response efforts.”

And until the state and county can be reconnected safely, Fulton can’t properly hold elections.

But both sides say they are working to fix the issues.

“We are working with our team to securely re-connect these systems as preparations for upcoming elections continue,” the county said.

Sterling said voters will be able to cast their ballots on March 12, one way or another.

“If it comes to a point we have to work around the systems, we will do that. But I can guarantee everybody will be able to vote, safely and securely, for the March 12 presidential preference primary,” Sterling said.

Sterling thinks the state will be able to re-connect a limited number of Fulton County users shortly and furnish them with new laptops that haven’t been connected to the Fulton County system.

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