A polling place indicator. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Multiple reports of long lines, technical difficulties and general confusion are coming in this election day across the metro Atlanta area.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pittman Park Recreation Center in Fulton County was sent too few machines; only three were available – or one for every 350 registered voters in the precinct.
In a press conference, Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron apologized for the mistake. “I just want to tell the voters there that on behalf of me and my staff, we’re sorry for the mix-up,” he said, noting that five more machines were sent to the location, per the AJC.
Another Fulton County polling place that experienced issues, the AJC reports, was Helene S. Mills Senior Multipurpose Facility. Four machines were down because their power cords went missing, and voters had to wait for hours.
A third Fulton County site was cause for confusion. A post being circulated on social media claimed that a polling place at the Ponce de Leon Library was closed and changed last minute to the Butler Baptist Church in the Old Fourth Word. The post claims there was only one person in the precinct directing voters to the new location.
Sister site Decaturish.com investigated the confusion and an employee of the library said it was an early voting location, but would not be a polling place on election day.
In Gwinnett County, the electronic Express Polls system, which is used to check voters into their appropriate precincts, temporarily went down at Anderson- Livsey Elementary school near Snellville, according to WSB-TV. Poll workers handed out paper ballots to the hundreds waiting in line to vote until the issue was resolved.
Another issue, reported by NewsOne, is that in poorer communities, which tend to have more democratic, minority voters, are given the oldest, most error-prone voting equipment.
“The counties and cities with the fewest resources are voting on the oldest equipment that tend to have the most problems,” Edgardo Cortés, an election security advisor at the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, confirmed to NewsOne during an interview on Monday.
And the problems aren’t only in Georgia, but Texas as well, where the race between Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his Democratic Challenger Beto O’Rourke has been tight, Politico reports. Civil rights groups and voters in both states are saying the touch screen machines are deleting votes or switching from Democrat to Republican.
Dan Whisenhunt, editor of Decaturish.com, reminded potential voters via social media that regardless of the technical issues and long lines, it’s still important to get out and vote. “Please keep in mind that not every problem people are experiencing today is evidence of an orchestrated campaign of voter suppression,” Whisenhunt wrote. “Problems may be caused by technical malfunctions and mistakes by individual voters… The important thing is that you document everything. If you have an issue, report it.”
The AJC says people can report their problems to the Secretary of State Office. In metro Atlanta, call 404-656-2871 or 404-656-2881. Anywhere else in Georgia call 1-877-725-9797. You can also contact the American Civil Liberties Union at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
Polls close at 7 p.m. today. If you are in line at 7 p.m., you will be eligible to vote. To find your polling location, click here.