Elections director says state to blame for voting lines in South Dekalb
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor
DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb Elections Director Erica Hamilton told the county Board of Voter Registration and Elections during an Oct. 14 meeting that the state was responsible for long lines at early voting locations this week.
Early voting began on Oct. 12.
“The state system is still registering voters, you’re processing absentee ballot requests, you’re processing absentee ballots that have been returned, and you’re also doing advanced voting. For 159 counties, in the amount of demand it is putting on the system with record turn-outs across the state, you have to think about that demand,” said Hamilton.
Poll workers are being provided with alternatives ways to ensure a voter has not yet submitted a ballot. Hamilton said the state’s system is taking up to four minutes to find voter information.
Despite the lines, voters at Memorial Drive were happy to be in line on Monday, Hamilton said. People were excited to vote on the state holiday, Columbus Day.
A Grady high school student who voted at Coan Recreation Center in Kirkwood on Monday, his 18th birthday, was cheered when fellow voters found out it was his first ballot cast.
Board member Dele Lowman-Smith questioned why there were disparate outcomes in North and South DeKalb County this week during early voting.
“While the Secretary of State’s system may be experiencing problems, it is only seeming to show up in the South where there are lines, versus in the North where the lines seem to move must more quickly,” said Lowman Smith. “Why would that result in longer lines in the South than in the North, when everybody’s using the same system?”
The board also discussed adding more signage to direct seniors and disabled voters to the front of the lines at polls. DeKalb County Attorney Viviane Ernstes suggested yard-signs, rather than a sign on the front door of the polling location.
Next week, the board is expected to finalize emergency polling places for Election Day, Nov. 3.
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