Georgia's voting nightmare is the 2nd canary fatality in the election coal mine

And proof the NC GOP needs to stop fighting mail-in voting:

Problems have been building for weeks as precincts closed, poll workers quit and the primary was postponed because of the health danger posed by the coronavirus crisis. Some voters south of Atlanta waited eight hours to vote on the last day of early voting Friday.

But the election went worse than expected Tuesday, especially in metro Atlanta, when poll workers couldn’t get Georgia’s new $104 million voting system system running. The system uses touchscreens and printers to create paper ballots.

I used this new system when I voted in the NC Primary a few months ago, and it went relatively smoothly. But there were about 9 BoE folks working there that day and no lines of voters backed up. Many of those volunteers I've seen before in previous elections, but most of them were in their late 60's-70's and may not be so willing to expose themselves to COVID 19 come November. Every county BoE needs to be filling their rosters of volunteers, and not just the "maybe" people. And the new systems need to be tested, along with the new volunteers. Because this is crazy:

But challenges with voting machines spread to several major cities, resulting in polls held open late in parts of metro Atlanta, Columbus and Savannah. In Columbus, for example, election officials said they had difficulties setting up ballot printers because they only gathered for training once because of the coronavirus.

At the Parkside Elementary School precinct in Fulton, the state’s most populous county, Danielle Johnston had to wait three hours and 45 minutes to cast her ballot. Voters relayed word that voting machines weren’t working. Johnston said poll workers never communicated with the voters in line, and she was not offered a provisional ballot.

Many of the problems resulted from election workers who weren’t adequately trained, the subject of a lawsuit against the state government by Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams after her defeat in the 2018 race for governor. The lawsuit seeks sweeping changes and federal court intervention in Georgia’s elections.

I saw a comment from somebody the other day wondering why early voting could run so smoothly but Election Day turns into a fiasco. Early voting sites are only a fraction of the number of total voting precincts. In Fulton County GA, there were originally supposed to be 21 early voting sites, but that number narrowed to 5 due to the Coronavirus. But on Election Day, over 100 precincts (I can't find the exact number and my brain hurts from trying) are tasked with processing voters, sometimes with just a handful of poorly-trained volunteers.

We can talk about the need for reform, but if we're not willing to dedicate the funding for it, or even (gasp) volunteer ourselves, it's not going to get fixed.

Tags: 

Comments

It looks like I'll be volunteering in Durham.

This year we have election day off (I'm a teacher in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district) and I'll be free to volunteer. I'm not exactly young (57), but I'm healthy and am willing to do what's needed to make sure the vote gets counted here. I'll likely vote early myself (as I always do) to avoid any problems, but this year there's every good reason that I should work the polls. I used to do poll watching and voter advocacy in Philly before I moved down here (mostly with the voting rights group Committee of Seventy), so working the polls isn't entirely new territory. Whatever will help, I'm willing to do.

Thanks

A good reminder to the rest of us to sign up and hold the fort.