October 29th, 2008
07:55 AM ET
5 years ago

Massive voter turnout, system kinks in Georgia

CNN's voter hotline has received several reports of long lines for early voting in the Atlanta area.
CNN's voter hotline has received several reports of long lines for early voting in the Atlanta area.

(CNN) – Heavy turnout, sluggish computers and election official truancy were to blame for numerous reports of unbearable early voting lines in metro Atlanta, a spokesman for the Georgia secretary of state's office said Tuesday.

However, said spokesman Matt Carrothers, reports that the voting system crashed were "simply not true."

One voter in Duluth, Georgia, in Gwinnett County, called the CNN Voter Hotline on Monday evening to say election officials told her they had problems verifying voters.

"We just stood there," she said. "It was horrible and a lot of people missed work."

Though there was "some sluggishness" in the computer system Monday morning, the secretary or state's office and the Georgia Technology Authority worked out the kinks by mid-afternoon Monday, Carrothers said.

When polls closed Monday, 1.2 million of Georgia's 5.6 million registered voters – more than 21 percent – had cast ballots, Carrothers said. The secretary of state's office anticipated the strong turnout and has been preparing for this election for a year.

The sheer numbers would have been overwhelming on their own, but slow computers and a host of logistical and staffing issues compounded the problems, he said.

At one Fulton County polling station, election workers delayed opening the polls for two hours because no one had keys to the election machines. At another Fulton polling place, several election officials failed to show up.

There were also logistical problems at polling places in Gwinnett County, Carrothers said.

A woman in Centerville called CNN's Voter Hotline to say she had been in line for six hours.

"People are coming out saying they've been in line for eight hours," she said.

The woman calling the hotline from Duluth gave a similar account.

"I got there at 10:25 a.m.," she said. "I did not vote until 6 p.m."

In Clayton County, election officials requested to keep the polls open past 11 p.m., Carrothers said. CNN affiliate WSB reported that the Frank Bailey Senior Center in Riverdale accommodated voters until 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Carrothers said staffing issues caused the problems in Clayton County, and the secretary of state's inspector general sent a monitor to the county Tuesday morning.

"The wait times are now back to normal," Carrothers said Tuesday afternoon, explaining that the reports he's received indicate wait times are between five and 10 minutes across the state.

soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. Joyce in Florida

    I am so glad that we have paper ballots here in Florida now. We started early voting last week and I went on the second day. Only had to wait in line for an hour. It was worth it. Also, as a poll worker, if your state does not have early voting, and you are in line at 7pm on November 4th, you WILL be allowed to vote. The deputy of the precinct is sent to the end of the line right at 7pm and anyone who arrives after that will not be able to vote. So please make sure that you get to your precinct in plenty of time to be in that line before 7pm. The poll workers will stay at the precinct until each and every person has voted. Please do not let long lines sway your decision to vote on this very important election. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE!!!

    October 29, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Truth Hurts

    If Obama is a socialist then Ronald Regan is one, Bush is on and Mccain. Taxe breaks to big oil companies is a government hand out, Regan is the one who put earn income taxes into place. Mccain wants to the same tax plan Bush have in place right now. So, I guess Mccain is a socialist too? And Palin is irrelevant!! LOL.

    October 29, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Accountant Guy

    Republicans up to their old dirty tricks again. America is not falling for your tricks this time. Vote early and double and triple check your ballot. Get out and Barack the Vote America!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Scott L

    Obama lying already.

    Broken promise already.

    $250k to $200k. HA HA SO LONG SUCKERS!

    October 29, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Tina

    We can send people to the moon and we can't get the voting system right every 4 years? come on this is a shame........The world is watching..........we look like some 3rd world country every time we vote for a president..............This is pure lunacy........And reeks of some kind of conspiracy.........I mean is it happening in certain area's ? that's the question and if it is then WHY.................

    October 29, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. LIP

    Buy stock in Duct Tape!
    You gotta love that Joe Biden. Not sure how this will affect voter turnout or how people will vote, but Joe did it again by lowering the beginning of what will be considered as rich people. It has gone from $250k down to $200k and now Joe slipped that he and Obama must have had a conversation where he wasn't supposed to tell anyone, and Joe being the honest guy he is, let it slip. It is now $150k and who knows, it may go even lower if they are elected.
    Damage control is out looking for more duct tape right now.

    October 29, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Eric Arthur Blair

    Big Brother is watching you! Or perhaps he should be. This kind of thing must surely be addressed in the next Congress. The USA is in dire need of immediate reform of its voting system. A revamped and uniform/national system of voting needs to be established so that such irregularities are a thing of the past. No voter suppression, no voter fraud, not now or ever again!.

    October 29, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Obambi

    I love all of the left-wing hate-notes about Gov Palin. It proves that they are terrified of losing and know that Palin has far more smarts and Charisma than their "chosen one". Give her as much time as he has had–popularity will be 80%!

    October 29, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Alan

    I voted on October 27th and waited in line for 3.5 hours! The entire time I was there, I only saw one man give up and leave. There had to have been close to 1,000 people there. When I got to the booth, I checked my ballot four times to make sure that Barack Obama was indeed the choice that was recorded!

    October 29, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. welches, oregon

    truth hurts October 29th, 2008 8:33 am ET

    well come to the republic of rigging party, the GOP, hold on tight the game is not over yet, watch out B we will take it from you

    Soooo..you're saying it's ok to cheat to win? Typical Republican.

    Get out and vote for Barack. I voted early – you can too. Do this for Barack! He's stood for us – now let's stand for him.

    October 29, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. mitch

    SEVERAL election workers didn't show up? but but but,americans are the best workers in the world!

    whatever....

    October 29, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. Becky

    Ted Stevens should resign. He's now a felon, and felons can't even vote. If you can't vote yourself, how is it right to expect others to vote for you? Clean up the system. Make a law saying that felons cannot run for Senate.

    And impeach Palin as governor of Alaska. She abused her power.

    October 29, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    I voted in GA one week after early voting started, and it took an hour from the time I left home until I got back. Now as more polling places open there's more and more trouble, including qualified voters being purged from the lists. Coincidence?

    October 29, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Redneck Racist in Pittsburgh

    “Spreading the wealth” is a socialist concept
    Obama espouses socialism
    You are who you hang with – Obama has hung with Bill Ayers, Rev Wright, Fr. Flagger, Tony Rezko
    If you want Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to be able to run wild with your money – Vote Obama
    If you want a tax and spend administration – Vote Obama
    If you want a president who refuses to legally prove that he was born in the US – Vote Obama
    If you want your freedom of speech taken away – Vote Obama
    If you want your right to self defense taken away – Vote Obama
    If you ALL want a tax increase – Vote Obama
    If you want the military totally gutted – Vote Obama
    If you want our country run based on what Europe thinks – Vote Obama
    If you want to face a world crisis within the first 6 months (according to Joe Biden) – Vote Obama
    If you want to see Israel blown off the world map – Vote Obama
    If you got a brain on your shoulder and can think for yourself – Vote McCain

    Name calling is childish and shows a total lack of intelligence
    So all you liberals don’t forget to get out there vote early and vote often on Nov. 5.

    October 29, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    America lets listen to our youth, they are our future leaders, over 55% of our grammer school through highschool prefer OBAMA, the young voters give OBAMA a 20% lead over mccain, lets vote for our children's future, LETS VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN

    October 29, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Candice - TN

    I applaud you folks. Stay in those long lines, miss work, miss school, ROCK THIS VOTE! Do NOT leave until your vote is cast. Yes, there may be corruption, yes there may be a wait, but yes, your vote can ensure the future of America. Your vote is not just a single vote, but one of a collective voice that is weaker if your vote is not amongst them.

    VOTE AMERICA! VOTE!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Film Professor

    The Secretary of States' office in Georgia has really been building up a track record of partisanship just in the past several years, and it has accelerated under Karen Handel, Georgia's answer to Katherine Harris. Take note of the broken voting machines, lack of sufficient voting machines, ridiculously long lines in African-American precincts, and you get the picture of what is going on here, in addition to her accessing more than a million Social Security Numbers in an attempt to create matching problems for new voters in the hope to keep more of them from voting for Obama.

    Georgia will probably not go "blue" this year, but it will be close, and I predict that Georgia will go blue in 2012.

    October 29, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. mav, FL

    I voted for THAT ONE !!! Vote now. Looking for patterns from past history, GOP will surely try to discount as many Dems Vote. Don't give them chance to repeat story of 2000. Let there be democracy and exercise your biggest RIGHT as citizen of this country. Give THAT ONE a huge margin so that GOP cannot manipulate our votes. Vote Now!!!

    October 29, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Robert

    And we have the nerve to show other countries how to be a democracy. What a joke.

    October 29, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Tiffany in Atlanta

    Well, it was worth it, but I know I certainly waited. FOUR HOURS

    October 29, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Tanya

    People when you vote make sure you double check who you have voted for. I have heard of people selecting Obama and the vote is changed to McCain on the machine. One such person stated "I voted straight ticket for democrats, when it showed last page, all votes had been changed to republicans". Please "CHECK" your vote. Make a lot of noise about it if need be to get officials over there to fix the problem machine or make sure someone is with you to make sure you get it right..! So, no matter where you are, watch carefully, never punch the cast vote button until you are SURE it is for the one you want, call officials over if needed..make sure your vote COUNT!!! Obama is depending on you! No matter how long the line is...we can do it. We are depending upon one another. Take the day off if possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Lee

    So how much money is The One paying you guys to post these blogs?????????????? Such vicious and stupid posts. You guys need to be in school don't you? Elementary school.

    October 29, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. Please

    This is hilarious. "Oh, the Republicans are at it again..." Get real!

    States are responsible for the statewide vote, but at a lower level than that it's the County Supervisor of Elections (party affiliated) that controls and is responsible for performance of local polling place.

    The county supervisor also designs the ballots. If folks will do their homework, the Palm Beach county fiasco in 2000 was presided over by a Democrat county level official. Further, the folks that "didn't understand" or were "confused" by the ballots, also Democrat voters. I found it sort of funny that just after the closing of the polls in 2000 (I lived in Florida at the time) the early returns showed Bush leading in Palm Beach county, then there were about five women that came on the news and were positive that they had voted wrongly. The machines are messed up, the ballot was confusing etc, etc.

    How were they so sure that their vote wasn't counted correctly? If you aren't sure about your vote, trash that ballot, get another and find someone with a pulse that can explain it to you.

    October 29, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. carl from savannah

    I voted yesterday and it only took 40 minutes. If you had voted and you are off on Tuesday. Volunteer your time to take water, chairs, and to motivate people to stay and vote.

    October 29, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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