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Election Day: voting problems reported throughout metro Atlanta

campaign coverage COVID-19 Metro ATL

Election Day: voting problems reported throughout metro Atlanta

File photo by Jonathan Phillips
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This story has been updated. 

DeKalb County, GA — Long lines and malfunctioning machines greeted voters on June 9 when they went to cast their ballot.

While voters were encouraged to vote absentee this election due to the pandemic, many voters didn’t receive their absentee ballots before today’s election.

Voters in both DeKalb County and Fulton County reported arriving early only to be stuck waiting in line for two hours. Many polling places also changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Rep. Bee Nguyen called out the problems on her Twitter account:

Other voters reported the same problem at different precincts:

Catie Leary said her partner tried to vote at Peachcrest Elementary School this morning. He woke up at 6 a.m., got in line to vote at 7 a.m. and didn’t get to vote until after 9 a.m., she said.

“My partner and I knew voting in-person would be especially bonkers, so we initially applied for absentee ballots,” Leary said. “But even though we turned in our applications at the same time, only my absentee ballot arrived. His didn’t and so he was forced to go in-person today. Just another day in the life of a Georgia voter.”

Another reader reported a long line at the library on 1463 Pryor Road in Fulton County.

“At 7:30 they came out and told us the computers were down and they had called someone out to fix the problem,” Ashley Holtzclaw said. “No updates since then but the line is moving slowly. Still in line at 9 a.m. We were told if the computers go down again, we can get a provisional ballot to fill in but we’d still have to wait in line until we got into the building to submit it.”

When contacted at 9:30 a.m., she said she was still in line. People who were finally able to vote said the ballots are a mess.

“They’re not separating the parties on the ballot,” she said. “You have to know who you’re voting for, or it could get really messy.”

An employee of the Secretary of State’s Office told Decaturish that the state has directed local elections officials to use paper ballots if machines didn’t work. The Secretary of State hasn’t issued a statement on the issues. Baoky Vu, who serves on the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections, confirmed the problems, saying, “Machines are down in certain precincts across a number of counties this morning.”

Elections Board Chair  Samuel Tillman released a statement about the problems around 11 a.m.

“DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office is experiencing technical issues with the new state-issued voting machines,” Tillman said. “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 experiencing issues should call the DeKalb County Board of Voter Registration and Elections at 404-298-4020.”

This is a developing story and it will be updated when more information becomes available.

Here are some additional resources for voters experiencing problems. To see a list of contact information for local elections boards, click here.

There are also numbers you can call:

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