WTVM Editorial 6-19-20: Voting problems

Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 11:34 AM EDT
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(WTVM) - Voting is our most important right as Americans. Everyone eligible should vote and every vote needs to count.

But Georgia’s primary performance does not give voters much reassurance that happened. Georgia’s chaotic primary made national news and it needs to be a wake-up call.

Lines like the one at the Canaan Baptist Church in Columbus told the story: Wait times of three or more hours.New voting machines with new malfunctions. Lack of poll worker training. And not enough provisional paper ballots.

It was not a recipe for success.

Yes, some polling places worked smoothly. But polling places are supposed to work smoothly.

Now we have less than five months to fix it.

The new voting machines used in the primary were chosen by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is in charge of making sure counties around the state have the right number of voting machines and that the machines work properly.

Each individual county trains its own poll workers and some county election officials accepted blame for ineffective training. Fulton County was deemed the worst.

Having an ongoing pandemic did not help matters, either and led to more absentee ballots than usual.

But there can be no excuse for the lack of a smooth in-person voting experience for every voter.

Long waits should only be due to extremely heavy turnout, and primaries generally feature low turnout.

And given the fact the voting machines were new and some difficulties were predicted, not having enough paper provisional ballots that could be cast instead is very poor planning.

We urge the Secretary of State and each county board of elections to re-group after this primary.

They need to take stock of what needs to be fixed before the general election on November 3.

Georgia’s voters will play a huge role in the 2020 elections as a battleground state.

So it is imperative that every voter gets to have a voice and that their ballots will actually count, that way no one can later charge voter suppression or voter fraud.

It is not an exaggeration to say the very integrity of free and fair elections is at stake in November. Now is the time to make sure we do not lose it.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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