Fulton County launching special election task force after Tuesday’s voting nightmare

FULTON COUNTY, GA. — After Tuesday’s election debacle, we’re still hearing about fallout -- and so is the Fulton County Board of Elections.

The county's chairman has announced the formation of a special election task force.

The board got an earful from angry voters and lawmakers Thursday, all sounding off on the problems surrounding Tuesday’s election.

[READ: Allegations of voter suppression raised amid massive problems in Tuesday’s primary]

Voters blamed both the Secretary of State’s office and Fulton County for the issues that led to wait times pushing four and five hours at some polling places.

State Representative Park Cannon echoed voters' complaints that they were not advised of a change in their polling place until just hours before the election.

“My polling location had changed within 14 hours of the election and I even had trouble figuring out how to get that information to our neighbors and had to do a last minute robocall effort,” Cannon said.

Several voters called and messaged saying they didn’t get the notice that their polling place had changed locations until a day after the election.

[LIVE: Georgia Primary Election Results 2020]

Fulton County consolidated some precincts into bigger ones. But some voters told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot that they weren’t notified of the change until Wednesday.

Carlos Flores figured out Tuesday that Fulton County moved his polling place to Fanplex, but he said the county didn’t tell him until Wednesday.

“This notice should’ve come to us way before,” Flores said. “It’s unintentional voter suppression through incompetence.”

Sara Riney said the same thing happened to her.

“I didn’t get the letter until the day after the election, and I was pretty surprised and kind of like, what?” Riney said.

[PHOTOS: Voters wait in long lines to cast ballot in Georgia primary]

The Fulton County Board of Elections went online and heard dozens and dozens of similar complaints from voters, as well as lawmakers like South Fulton City Council member Helen Willis.

“I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed because this happened twice in my district,” Willis said.

The board heard from elections director Richard Barron about some of the problems in an after-action report.

Barron said they lost nearly 500 veteran poll workers over coronavirus fears and saw a 100-fold increase in absentee ballot requests.

Most of the people who didn’t get an absentee ballot sent in their request via email.

Any absentee ballot sent by Fulton County at the end of May probably never reached the voter.

The county told Elliot that it is hoping to address and fix these issues by the November elections.

Flores said he will keep his fingers crossed.

“I sure hope so, but I’m ready to stand in line three hours if I need to come November,” Flores said.

Barron also said the Secretary of State’s office expressed concerns before the election over Fulton consolidating so many polling places.