Voters deal with Super Tuesday election issues - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Voters deal with Super Tuesday election issues

Virginia Highland, Photo source: WGCL Virginia Highland, Photo source: WGCL
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Although most voters heading to the polls on Super Tuesday were able to cast their ballots without a hitch, there have been a number of people who experienced problems when heading to their polling place.

Roughly 100 voters in northeast Atlanta's Virginia-Highland neighborhood experienced a bit of frustration Tuesday morning when they stood in line to vote in the presidential primary only to learn that the electronic voting machines weren't working.

“They just handed us a paper ballot,” said voter John Bachmann. 

"It is frustrating for me," added Mary Stephenson, who had been the first voter in line at Fire Station No. 19. "It’s not the way it’s supposed to go,”

According to the precinct manager, the machines were programmed for the wrong precinct. So voters had a choice. They could either stay and vote on paper or they could come back later.

Dan Bloom brought his 9-year-old son David with him. At first, he didn't mind casing a paper ballot.

“I’m cool with it," Bloom said. "Like we were joking earlier, it may be the only time he gets to vote with a paper ballot, so it’s a new experience for him.”

Once he learned he would have to wait in line for 30 minutes to cast a vote on paper, Bloom changed his mind and decided to return later.

Tom Beisel stood in line for 20 minutes before giving up.

“I’ll come back later on today and hopefully the machines will be working,” he said.

“I want to make sure that my vote gets counted in today’s count instead of three days later.” said voter Melissa Siegelman.

About an hour-and-a-half into the voting, an IT guy from the Fulton County Elections office came and re-programmed the machines. After that, voters were in and out quickly. But for the early risers, the damage was done.

“Leave it to Fulton County, said Bachmann. "It seems like it’s always something.”

The precinct manager said only 46 of the early morning voters chose to cast paper ballots. Every else chose to try to return before the polls close at 7 p.m.

Director of Fulton County Elections and Registration tells CBS46 they are addressing these and other issues.

"What I regret to hear is anyone going to the polls and being turned away," Barron said. "We are trying to manage any situations out in the field."

Rockdale County Board of Elections

Henry Creek Elementary School was closed as a voting precinct because or norovirus concerns. Voters have been directed to the Rockdale County Board of Elections at 1400 Parker Road. The polls at this location will not close until 7:45 p.m. to accommodate those who may have been affected.

Southwest Atlanta Voter Problems

Another issue popped up in Fulton County at Fickett Elementary School in southwest Atlanta. Voters who had been going to that particular polling place for years were told to go to another location. 

Richard Barron, Director of Fulton County Elections, says he sent post cards in the mail informing voters that their polling place had changed but he thinks some may have thought it was junk mail and threw it away.

“They’re a small post card, and it doesn’t identify a polling place change on it," Barron said. "What it has is your precinct information, and it has your new polling place up at the top. It doesn’t identify by saying 'brand new polling place' or something that sticks out to the voter.” 

Barron acknowledges the county has some work to do before November.

Gwinnett County Language Barriers

In Gwinnett County, voters had other issues to deal with. Alejandro Ramirez, a voting rights activist, said he tried to introduce himself to poll workers on Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. When he entered the polling place, he claims a poll worker told him non-English speakers were not welcome to vote.

CBS46 contacted Gwinnett County officials. They say the incident is under investigation but didn't offer any further comment.

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