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

Massive voter turnout, system kinks in Georgia

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/art.gasticker1029.ap.jpg caption="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. Obama all the way....

    Our country, the greatest on earth, defender of democracy looks like a total joke when we can't even get this voting crap right!!!!!

    This is rocket science folks. Can't we get someone with a brain to solve this crap!!!

    It is totally unacceptable!!!

    I am voting absentee.

    October 29, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Roswell, GA voter

    I voted for Obama yesterday here in Roswell, GA. I waited for 2 hours and everything when smoothly. The HUGE voter turn out here makes my heart sing! Also, Clinton won GA in 1992. I think we will go Blue again on Tuesday!!

    October 29, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. ines

    Wow! Georgia will turn blue before this is all over. The demographics there are overwhelmingly pro-Obama.

    October 29, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. CR in WI

    If you are in line before the poll closing time you will be allowed to vote. Don't let them stop you. Plan to be in line for a long long time, they can't steal this election this time. This election is too important, and we all know it. Be proud that you cast your vote for a brighter future for all [even the dim bulbs who believe the lies, Obama is not socialist, he is moving tax rates for those who make over $250k back to where they were in the '90s under Clinton. Times were pretty good then, jobs didn't evaporate, we ran a surplus. exactly the opposite of what Bush McCain policies have done]

    Yes we can

    BO08

    October 29, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. TJ

    This is a Republican scam. This is a way to disenfranchise people who they think will vote for Obama. This is also proof of how deaperate the Republican party truly is...

    October 29, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. elizabeth

    I have already voted for Obama. I did not have to wait but afew minutes in WV. Please vote and don't be discouraged with the long lines. This shows that voters are getting out early to vote. Go OBAMA/ BIDEN.

    October 29, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. bill for barack

    One more time.
    Republican dirty tricks – trying to prevent Americans from expressing their choices at the polls – WHICH, AS AMERICANS, THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO DO, just because the Republicans don't like their choices.
    This may not be worse than Nazi Germany, but it certainly is the same.
    John McCain and Idi Amin are not that far removed from each other philosophically.
    DO NOT ALLOW THE REPUBLICANS TO STEAL ONE MORE ELECTION WITH THEIR ILLEGAL, IMMORAL WAYS.

    October 29, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. TJ

    "Georgia needs to be more careful about their poll workers. There are probably too many illiterate Obama supporters working them"

    And, you must be one of them...at least the "illiterate" part.

    October 29, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  9. Michael watching from Canada

    80% of those of us outside the US see Obama as the best choice.

    It still continues to amaze me that many voters actually believe McCain's lies, smears and outright mischaracterization of Obama.

    And how can McCain suggest that Obama is a socialist when McCain's tax policies also redistribute wealth!!

    And how can McCain suggest that Obama is a socialist when it was Bush who spearheaded distribution of rebate cheques this past Spring?

    And how can McCain suggest that Obama is a socialist when it was Bush's administration who initiated the bailout of AIG, the bailout of Lehman Brothers, the bailout of other banks and the $700B bailout for Wall Street??

    And how can Palin suggest that Obama is a socialist when she taxed the oil companies and gave over $3,000 dollars to each person in Alaska?

    October 29, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. objective perspective

    already voted at 141 pryor st. fulton co headquarters. no kinks to speak of, whole thing took maybe 15 mins!!!

    Obama 08

    October 29, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. CONCERNED INDEPENDENT

    Same thing happening in Texas, happened to me on touchtone screen, I voted straight ticket for democrats, when it showed last page, all votes had been changed to republicans, I made a lot of noise about it, got officials over there too show them, they "calibrated" machine, allowed me to vote again, and stayed with me to make sure I got 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 COUNTS..
    Texas

    October 29, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. Herbie

    I voted early in Ga. (Houston county), had to wait only 45 min.
    My question is. What is the state of Pa. thinking about with no early voting. You can see the long lines in even smaller state then Pa. How are they going to get all the voters in, within 12 hr. I see major problems ahead.

    October 29, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. EA for Obama

    I have a sister in GA., and she said it's brutal. The people who are supposed to be there to open set-up and explain the process to new voters don't care don't explain and new voters are either forced to ask questions or risk voiding their vote, by goign it alone behind the curtain without the knowledge of properly filling out their ballot. How in 2008, with all the issues that we've seen in 2000 and 2004, are we still having these issues? America remember the whole world is watching our so-called superior democracy in action, and we are blowing it BADLY!!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. TAYO, NY

    yes we can. Yes we can!!

    October 29, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. jaye

    The US, with all it's power and glory, cannot run a fair election.
    Many people will be denied the ability to vote because the republican party has been casting doubt about so called voter fraud for weeks.
    The republicans are behind in the polls and their only hope is to cast doubt on the voting system.
    And the media, more worried about ratings than the future of our nation, will give the republicans a forum to spout their false allegations and rumors.
    This election will be a zoo...complete with recount after recount, and the talking heads representing the republicans will cover every news station spewing their lies and their scorn that a black man was elected.

    October 29, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. FC Hopson

    No one had keys to the election machines? Election officials failed show up? Problems verifying voters? If this is happening now imagine how Election Day is going to be! I believe that if a state cannot manage it's "voting system" and the news media begins to report "questionable activity" concerning voter's not being able to cast their votes correctly, then that state's votes should be thrown out. Florida will forever go down in history as the state that handed George W. Bush the White House, with more than just questionable activities involving brother Jeb's influence as Florida's Governor. Throwing out a state's total votes would solve any issues of corruption in upcoming elections and you better believe that every state would be up-to-date in it's vote counting technology to verify voters, election officials would be present before the election offices even opened, and the guy with the election machine keys would be the first one to open the day's election process. If a state in the United States cannot conduct an honest and trustworthy election for it's citizens, then it should not be allowed to participate in the electoral process.

    October 29, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Clif,Stockbridge,Ga.

    Way to go America. I voted for Obama three weeks ago. Early voting started three weeks ago in Henry County,Ga.(a suburb of Atl.) It was such a blessing to walk in and walk out. My wife was in the booth next to me. She said make sure you check your picks before you push the vote button. I did and I feel fantastic.

    October 29, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. Thinking Straight

    The voting machine system is certainly open to fraud. All computerize voting machines should print a paper trail which can be easily audited. Every novice can program a machine that increases the tally for Mccain whenever you press the Obama button.

    October 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. Maggie from Virginia

    Don't give up people! Like Obama said, don't let anything stop you from voting. I voted early for Obama/Biden. I live in a republican county so everything went as smooth as silk.

    October 29, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Fellow Democrats

    Dems:
    Please don't let any complacency creep in. Go and VOTE!. Lot of things could happen on the Election day, and so don't take anything for granted. What if

    1. There could be a Bradley Effect
    2. Late breaking independents swing to McCain

    These are the main threats now for Obama. I take it that everyone on this blog are enthusiastic Obama voters and I am not afraid of you.
    If you would – Please list down the folks that you know, in-state and out of state, and call them and get them out to the Early voting if possible. I have a list of 23 folks and I have gotten 11 out so far. I will work on the rest of them thru Nov 4th. Please everyone do that. This will be our own 'Get out the Vote' effort.

    It is good expressing our support to Obama here, but, I believe the most beneficial thing we can do NOW is to create our own network and get all the votes we know out.

    OBAMA/BIDEN

    October 29, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. JACKED-UP-POLITICS, FLORIDA

    It is funny how ALL OF THE KINKS ARE HAPPENING IN BATTLE GROUND STATES. EITHER THE MEDIA IS NOT CATCHING THE PATTERN OR SOMEONE THAT IS DOING THE DECISION MAKING ON WHAT TO REPORT IS SLEEP AT THE WHEELS!!!!

    October 29, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. JDM

    This report is sad but real evaluation about the state of GA. voting system. The dept. of Labor can tell you how many people live in a area that are of voting age. The news reports record turn out. BUUUUT? GA voting take 4 to 12 hours per person? Who, what, when, where and how did the GA state voting party miss this one?
    Can you help me understand this FUBA?

    October 29, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. FLORIDA for Obama

    IF McCain/Republicans STEALS this election you can bet your behind there will be a REVOLUTION/CIVIL WAR.

    The AMERICAN CITIZENs are letting it be known, through their votes, that WE CAN NO LONGER TOLERATE being LIED TO, OUR DOLLARS BEING SQUANDERED IN A NEEDLESS WAR, THE HATE AND RASCISM, THE RADICAL RIGHT WING CHRISTIANS WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN ABORTION, BUT WILL PROUDLY SEND THEIR CHILDREN OFF TO KILL OR BE KILLED IN A WAR,ETC.

    NO MORE LIES NO MORE HATE

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08

    October 29, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. MD

    Fulton, Gwinnett and Dekalb counties in GA all have extremely large h Black and HIspanic popluations and frankly, this kind of thing happens in those 3 counties every election cycle. You be the judge...

    October 29, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. Dee, Huntsville, Al.

    GET OUT AND PLEASE VOTE!!!AMERICA NEED US TO FREE HER OF 4 OR EIGHT MORE YEARS OF ABUSE /SO YOU ALL OPEN YOUR EYES THIS ELECTION !!! ALABAMA DID NOT APPROVE EARLY VOTING IF I HAVE TO CAMP OUT. IT IS COLD DOWN HER!!!!

    October 29, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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