Yes, those grounds in the groove are unfortunately normal -- not just in electric coffee machines, but stove tops etc. If they make their way onto the seal and are not thoroughly cleaned off, each time you lock on the portafilter the hardened grounds will grind into the seal, eventually rendering it useless. Always a good idea to wipe off any fresh grounds from the lip of the basket before locking on the portafilter.
Every day or so, get a damp cloth, pack it into the groove and remove the grounds. Every so often, its worth unplugging the machine, removing the water tank, and turning it upside down so you can see what youre doing around the group as you clean away.