ATLANTA — It’s been a rough day for many people who are choosing to vote on Election Day for Georgia’s primary.
Channel 2 Action News has been flooded by phone calls and social media messages describing issues at voting locations all day Tuesday.
As soon as the polls opened at 7 a.m., voters say some locations’ machines didn’t work or there were not enough paper ballots.
A Minute-by-Minute look at Tuesday’s primary
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9:30 p.m. Channel 2′s Mark Arum reports he’s still in line waiting to vote in Fulton County. All locations in Fulton County were allowed to remain open until 9 p.m., but Channel 2′s Tom Jones reported a line of hundreds of people waiting to vote at the Christian City Senior Living Center in Union City at 9:30. He was unable to get answers about the delay.
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie has signed an order approving a petition by the Board of Registration and Elections to extend voting hours to 9:30 p.m. for all DeKalb County polling places.
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The Georgia ACLU released the following statement about the voting issues across metro Atlanta:
“The Georgia elections held today were a massive failure. Countless Georgians were deprived of their sacred right to vote. Whether it is incompetence or intentional voter suppression- the result is the same-- Georgians denied their rights as citizens in this democracy,” said Andrea Young, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia.
“In March 2019, the ACLU of Georgia warned Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett – the state’s most populous counties – that they were not ready for elections in 2020. These counties have over two million of the state’s nearly seven million registered voters,” Young continued. “Based on their performance in the 2018 election — the ACLU warned that insufficient resources were allocated for polling places, machines, in-person election staff, and staff to process absentee ballots and that this would result in the disenfranchisement of voters in 2020. It gives us no pleasure to be proven right.”
DeKalb County will extend hours at seven polling locations, one of which will remain open until 10:10 p.m.
Channel 2 investigator reporter Justin Gray is in the “war room” at the Secretary of State’s office. Officials are keeping track of how late some precincts are staying open.
Three Douglas County locations will have their hours extended, according to a superior court judge.
- Lithia Springs High School (Precinct No. 1275) will remain open until 8:45 p.m.
- The Church at Chapel Hill (Precinct No. 736 South) will remain open until 7:20 p.m.
- Saint Julian’s Episcopal Church (Precinct No. 738) will remain open until 7:05 p.m.
Statewide Voting Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling fired back at the DeKalb CEO, who placed the blame of voting issues starting with the Secretary of State’s office.
“That the Dekalb County CEO doesn’t seem to know that training poll workers and equipping polling places is a responsibility that Georgia law places squarely on the county goes a long way to explain the issues that we saw today in Dekalb. See OCGA 21-2-70 (Each superintendent within his or her county shall:… (4) selection and equip polling places…, (8) instruct poll officers and others in their duties, and to inspect systematically and thoroughly the conduct of primaries and elections in the several precincts of his or her county to the end that primaries and elections may be honestly, efficiently, and uniformly conducted). The Secretary of State’s office is tasked with providing training to the superintendents, who then train their poll workers and county election officials. The fact that the egregious issues we are seeing today seem to be limited to a few precincts in a couple counties suggests that the breakdown occurred at the county level. The other 157 counties faced the same difficulties of using a new system and voting during a pandemic, but they seem to have handled the issues that arose diligently and efficiently."
Superior Court of Fulton County has issued an order extending voting hours today until 9 p.m. at all locations. The county has experienced issues at several locations throughout the day.
“Today is the first election in most poll workers in Fulton County and across Georgia operated the new election equipment introduced this year. While the majority of polling places operated smoothly, a number of sites experienced challenges with equipment throughout the day.”
Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chris Jose just learned that 19 county voting locations will stay open until 8 p.m. Tuesday night.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond just issued this statement about today’s elections, blaming the failure of leadership starting with the Secretary of State’s office.
“The Election Day issues relating to the use of state-purchased voting machines represent an attack on the democratic process. The Secretary of State’s office has alleged these issues resulted from a failure of county leadership. If there was a failure of leadership, it starts where the buck should stop, at the top. The eradication of any ‘learning curve’ rests squarely at the feet of the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his office.
“Therefore, I am calling on Governor Brian Kemp, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, and Speaker David Ralston to immediately launch a comprehensive, top-to-bottom investigation into voting issues, including the Secretary of State’s preparation for and administration of this election. It is the Secretary of State’s responsibility to train, prepare, and equip election staff throughout the state to ensure fair and equal access to the ballot box. Those Georgians who have been disenfranchised by the statewide chaos that has effected the voting system today in numerous DeKalb precincts and throughout the state of Georgia deserve answers.”
Austell Community Center voting precinct will stay open until 8 p.m.
Voters are now having to deal with heavy rain on top of the long lines.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray spoke with Fulton County commissioner Robb Pitts.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says his office has opened an investigation into Fulton and DeKalb counties over voting issues.
“The voting situation today in certain precincts in Fulton and DeKalb counties is unacceptable. My office has opened an investigation to determine what these counties need to do to resolve these issues before November’s election. Obviously, the first time a new voting system is used there is going to be a learning curve, and voting in a pandemic only increased these difficulties. But every other county faced these same issues and were significantly better prepared to respond so that voters had every opportunity to vote.”
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston is now calling for an investigation into the voting problems.
Georgia GOP released a statement, blaming Fulton County officials for issues during the primary election.
“Just hours into Election Day, it has already become painfully apparent that Fulton County’s Democrat leadership is woefully unprepared to conduct today’s primary vote,” said Georgia GOP Executive Director Stewart Bragg. “The chair of the Fulton County Registration and Elections Board is a Democrat donor and a Democrat primary voter whose failed management has led to long lines, voting machine malfunctions, and scores of other avoidable problems. This unacceptable incompetence will effectively disenfranchise countless eligible voters across Georgia’s largest county. Georgia voters deserve better from their public servants. Frustrated voters in Fulton County should contact their Democratic local elected official and demand change."
DeKalb County Chair of Board Elections Samuel Tillman said the county election office is experiencing technical issues with the voting machines.
“These issues are being seen statewide and are not isolated to DeKalb County. Any voter who has been turned away without casting a ballot should go to any precinct in DeKalb County and ask for a provisional paper ballot.”
Voters can call the DeKalb County Board of Voter Registration and Elections at 404-298-4020.
Channel 2′s Tom Regan is at the Park Tavern voting location, where many issues have been reported. A news conference is scheduled there for 11:30 a.m.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray received a statement from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office about polling problems. The statement blames the issues on poor planning and limited training by the counties.
One voter in Stone Mountain says his location is up and running.
One voter says there is only one voting machine at her voting location in southwest Atlanta.
One voter in Cobb County says her voting location had 7 machines but only 3 were operational.
A voter says the machines are down at the Stone Mountain Middle School Precinct in Tucker.
One voter says says he’s been waiting in line for more than 2 hours to vote at Bear Creek Middle School in Fairburn.
One voter says they waited in line for about an hour and 45 minutes at Fickett Elementary School in southwest Atlanta.
One voter in Brookhaven posted a picture of her voting location of lines stretching outside of the building.
Some voters are reporting that some people are leaving before they could vote due to the long lines.
Voter says the machines aren’t working at of polling site in Powder Springs First Baptist Church. Voters are having to use paper ballots.
One voter says people have been waiting in line for almost an hour without any movement outside the polling location at Bear Creek Middle School in Fairburn.
Triple Team Traffic’s Ashley Frasca says she’s hearing issues at a polling place in Roswell and in Atlanta.
Channel 2′s Nicole Carr had minimal issues at her location. She said the only slight hold up was two people who had received absentee ballots, and left them at home. They had to sign an affidavit, cast a provisional ballot.
A long line of voters at Park Tavern at Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta.
Poll workers at one DeKalb County voting location announced a delay due to technical difficulties.
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