Allegations of voter suppression raised amid massive problems in Tuesday’s primary

ATLANTA — After widespread problems across metro Atlanta in Tuesday’s primary, some lawmakers are sounding the alarm over allegations of voter suppression.

Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot reports that at least three different agencies are calling for investigations into what went wrong.

Voters faced long lines, machines that didn’t work and no paper ballots. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that Tuesday’s primary was a mess.

Some voters were forced to wait hours to cast their ballot.

[LIVE: Georgia Primary Election Results 2020]

It didn’t take long for Democrats to claim the problems led to voter suppression.

State Senator and Georgia Democratic party chair Nikema Williams took to Facebook stating someone called police on their efforts to give comfort to voters stuck in those lines.

“As we watched what unfolded today, we knew that we were in the midst of a disaster,” said voting rights activist and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.


She believes Republicans are clearly engaging in voter suppression.

“While what’s happening in Georgia, while it once again is a singular example of the failed leadership of the republican party, it is also emblematic of what’s going to happen around this country as voter suppression becomes all-out war,” Abrams said.

“Well, that’s just a lie right out of the pit of hell,” said U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

Perdue told Elliot that he watched the election problems from Washington. He doesn't believe there was any coordinated voter suppression.

Instead, he blames just a few mostly metro Atlanta counties and their elections boards.

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

“If there’s voter suppression, it’s coming out of those Democratic-controlled boards of elections in six or seven counties, and it’s either incompetence or malfeasance, and we need to find out which,” Perdue said.

Jon Ossoff, who has been declared the winner for the Democratic nomination for Senate, said he was appalled by the voting issues Tuesday and will work to make sure each vote counts.

[READ MORE: Jon Ossoff wins Georgia Democratic primary, to face Sen. David Perdue in November]

“There are hundreds of thousands of votes not yet counted, and my campaign team and I are going to fight relentlessly to ensure that every vote is counted,” Ossoff told Elliot.

Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson was in second place, but just barely. She thinks she can beat Ossoff in a runoff because he has gone as high as he can go.

[READ: ‘We were in the midst of a disaster’: Stacey Abrams debates suing state over primary debacle]

“What that means is that he’s capped out. He has bought as much name recognition as a human being possibly can. Even state Democrats that pulled a ballot knew who Jon Ossoff was, and yet 52% chose to vote for other people,” Tomlinson said.

Sarah Riggs Amico was in close third. She thinks her last-minute campaigning closed the gap.

“We put a ton of money into our media buy, especially on television in the last few weeks, so I think we’re going to have a strong performance,” Riggs Amico said,

Perdue said either way, he’s ready for a bruising campaign.

“Whoever’s their candidate, we’re going to ask them the tough questions, and they’re going to have to deal with this socialist agenda that the left is trying to perpetrate in so many ways,” Perdue said.

Voters face long lines, problems

A DeKalb County resident is afraid she may not have a job after she waited in line for hours to vote in Tuesday’s primary.

"I pray that I still have a job to go to, but this is just too important, six hours out here. That's how determined I was to make it," said Charles Taylor-Johnson.

Johnson said she tried to drop off her absentee ballot at the main elections office in DeKalb County on Memorial Drive, but she says the drop box was already closed and locked before 7 p.m.

That was just the beginning of her wild day.

“I picked up the absentee ballots. I said, ‘Ma’am, these were all stacked on the absentee box down there because I was there in time enough to put mine in, but it was locked,” Johnson said.

Channel 2’s Kristen Holloway learned that several absentee ballots were left just sitting on top of the locked drop off box.

“I guess people just put them up there and walked off thinking, ‘OK, they’ll come back and get them,’” Johnson said.

Eventually she was able to vote early Wednesday morning after she was told to go to three different polling places that were supposed to stay open late.

She ended up at the Ray of Hope precinct, and found a massive line of voters waiting to get inside.

“She sent me to the right place but look how many times it took. I just didn’t give up. I got to go to work but I need to vote. I mean this is the one chance I have to make a difference,” Johnson said.

She told Holloway that she used a provisional ballot, but poll workers ran out of envelopes to seal votes.

Despite all the running around, Johnson said it was still worth it.

“I’m so happy I got a chance to vote. I work for some judges. They need my vote,” Johnson said.

Holloway attempted to contact the DeKalb County elections office twice to find out if the absentee drop off box was locked before 7 p.m. and why. She also asked if those absentee ballots sitting on top of the box will be counted.

She has not received a response yet.