Frustrated voters wait hours in Fulton County - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Frustrated voters wait hours in Fulton County

FULTON COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Frustrated voters report waiting hours at a number of polling places in Fulton County on Tuesday.

County election leaders reported problems ranging from power outages, a lack of poll workers and broken machines throughout the morning.

"Get your act together Fulton County," said H.P. Mays, of Sandy Springs, who waited more than two hours to vote at Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

Lines wrapped throughout the hallway at the church as voters waited to cast their ballots.

"You just need to make it easier," said Mays' wife Barbara.  "It should not be that hard to vote.  It should be an easy process, no more than 30 or 40 minutes."

At Randolph Elementary School in southwest Atlanta, there were complaints Tuesday morning that machines to check in registered voters failed.

Election Protection, a voting watchdog group,  has received reports that hundreds of registered voters are being forced to vote provisionally at polls throughout Fulton County, even though they show as properly registered in the Secretary of State's system. From Sandy Springs to Adamsville, voters are being handed paper ballots as a result of what appears to be a systemic error.

Interim Elections Director Sharon Mitchell said some poll managers were not aware of the procedure to double check a voter's registration.

"We believe that we have taken the necessary steps to correct any miscommunication to our poll managers on how to review the process that has provided the updated information to them," said Mitchell during a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. 

The county was criticized for failing to certify votes in a timely manner after primary elections.

Mitchell said workers have now been retrained and the process has been streamlined since then.  She assured elections workers are closely monitoring Tuesday's voting and are staying on top of any problems that arise.

Late Tuesday afternoon, election leaders asked voters to be patient as they expect large crowds as the 7 p.m. closing time at the polls nears.

"Can we do this a little bit more efficiently, get more equipment, plan for outages and make this a better and more enjoyable process because it's really important," asked H.P. Mays as he left the polling place.

Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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