October 29th, 2008
07:55 AM ET
14 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. Accountant Guy

    I voted early and I want to say that I am so proud of everyone who is standing in lines for hours to vote. You dedication is so amazing. Get out and Barack the Vote America!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Dave

    There are probably more red southern states turning blue than they would have us believe.

    Democrats 08.

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Chanda - Cincinnati

    Did not have keys to open up the machines...in Fulton County...Democratic stronghold...OKAY!!! This type of scenario is only the beginning. I don't know why this surprises anyone. We have literally had two presidential elections stolen in this country. Fla in 2000, anD my sick state of Ohio in 2004. The powers that be will NOT go down without a fight..whether that fight is fair or not!!!! Obama may be ahead in the polls, but this race is far from over. EVERYONE GO VOTE!!!! OBAM/BIDEN 08-12!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Tawana

    Hang in there GA voters! Don't give up on voting because of the problems, that's what they are counting on....Make sure your voice is heard by voting in this and ALL elections.

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. Bill,ca

    This is what McCain is sreaming all along." We will fight " for voter suppression.
    That is how Bush won and McCain is trying the same.

    Shamefull that these things happen in a democratic country. And then these republican idiots are calling Obama an socialist.

    Republicans are using martxist tactics to win an election.

    I just can't believe those things happening, shame on you McCain and Palin.

    Check you vote that it shows Obama.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. Uncle Sam

    If change is so important to voters, why choose the candidate who merely promises it over the candidate with a proven record of it?

    October 29, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. kv-white 35 yr old fml

    I voted in Cobb County on Oct 10. Had to wait two hours but everything went smoothly- everybody in line seemed excited and in good spirits. Glad to have voted early so I dont have to stress on Nov 4.
    I voted for Obama- would love to see Georgia go Blue!

    October 29, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Phil in KC

    Contrast this with the piece on AC360 last night about voting in Nevada. They have voting machines all over the place, there are no lines and everything seems to be going smoothly. Maybe we should hire those folks to run the election nation-wide.

    October 29, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Accountant Guy

    This is why everyone should vote early and double and triple check your ballot before you submit it!! Get out and Barack the Vote America!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. jewel

    I think we really need to remember what a smooth talker the serpent was in the garden when he was talking eve into eating from the tree. We need to be very cautious of our choices,Obama is an awfully smooth talker. We need to use common sense, we always want the easy way out,but just look around us the easy way out has clearly not been easy. As a matter of fact the so called "easy way out" is the reason were in the situation we are in now. There is never anything easy about cleaning up a disaster, whether caused by earthquake, hurricane or terrorism. We need to stop seeking the "easy way" and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps so that we can finish what we started properly, and then begin restoration. But we need to remember that this won't happen without us repenting of our selfishness, laziness and all of our sins . We have a God who loves us, He's not angry, He's sad. God is Holy, Righteous and Just, He can not allow wickedness to endure forever. He does not want anyone to perish. So Loving us to the point of giving His only Son (whom He loves dearly) over to be the sacrifice for our sin, because there must be an atonement of blood for sin. This is how much GOD ALMIGHTY and JESUS CHRIST our LORD and SAVIOR love us. We need only ask Him for His forgiveness, and from that very moment healing begins. It will take longer than we would like, but if we don't give in it will be brought about. As the prophet Jeremiah said in the bible(not just for Israel, we are a nation founded on the same God) Jer.4:1-2"if you will return, O Israel, return to me, declares the Lord. if you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, as surely as the Lord lives, then the nations will be blessed by Him and in Him they will glory." This stands for us as well as Israel and the choice is left up to us!

    October 29, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. Will the Real Maverick Please Stand Up?

    The 'Great Election Steal of 2008' has started. Prepare for the McCain landslide...the GOP cannot allow itself to be voted out of office. Watch for the voter suppression and all of the other nasty tricks that the Republicans will put out there to stop people voting.

    A democracy? I don't think so.

    October 29, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. Tony

    I was able to vote in Fulton county (Atlanta city center) without incident. Stood in line for about 2 hours, but there where no problems. Of course this was 2 weeks ago. I am glad to see my fellow Georgians BARACK-ing the vote!

    October 29, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Nikole

    I live in Atl. and on my voter registration I checked the box saying that I was interested in being a poll worker. I also did it, when I reregistered during college here. No one has ever contacted me about doing it.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. kris p

    Is voter suppression the "October Surprise"?

    Maybe Senator McCain is counting on this to pull him out from defeat.

    All those who have already voted, please go and help those who need to, by offering rides, food , chairs as they wait etc.

    Don't let them steal ANOTHER ONE.

    CNN, this is a start but we need to do much more to protect the greatest Democracy in the world.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Frank,MO

    We should have UN observers monitoring our elections – it's unbelievable how bad we are at that. Greatest democracy in the world ?

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Tony

    I am glad to see my fellow Georgians BARACK-ing the vote! I was able to vote in Fulton county (Atlanta city center) without incident. Stood in line for about 2 hours, but there where no problems. Of course this was 2 weeks ago.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Paul DObro

    Voter supression attempts must END! Everyone has a right to vote.

    Late opening, unprepared after 1 year of preperations is not accceptable!

    October 29, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. Ron Van Der Maarel

    VOTE, VOTE, VOTE: The only way that , WE the people, can demonstrate our feelings about elected officials is in voting!! HOWEVER,

    October 29, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. PHin GA

    To Deb in Iowa – Your 76-year old aunt does not have to wait in line to vote! Senior citizens 75 and older can go to the front of the line and vote immediately! Also, disabled voters can too.

    I voted in Gwinnett County on Monday. It took 5 hours. When people were walking out they looked like they just got sprung from jail. They all said they were in line for 7 hours.

    October 29, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Rave

    They will put every bit of effort to not count some Decocratic votes... even then this election will be swept by " That One " who stands by the people for the people.
    OBAMA / BIDEN (2008)

    October 29, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. paulie_nj

    CNN, are you going to post the new story about Obama toasting a Jew hater at a dinner back in 2003? LA Times has it on video but will not release it because they know it will hurt their boy Obama. Show you are not biased towards Obama and cover this story.

    October 29, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Bruce

    VOTE NOW BUT BEWARE THE REPUBS are at it again.

    Check your vote to make sure it is what you voted some machines are changeing the vote ot McCain no matter who you voted for.

    Don't let anyone turn you away. Insist of seeing a voting official and report anything you see that looks strange.


    October 29, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. PA Voter

    By default, its the Republicans tricks. Give me a break... Not everybody wants to vote for Obama. He's not the answer for everyone. Also, aren't there Democratic officials at the polls? If Obamas loses, take it like the big boys and stop whining and crying.

    October 29, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. Dave

    Get your act together, Georgia. This is the 21st century. Do try to keep up.

    October 29, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. sharp

    Stood in line early Tues AM in Marietta, had great conversation w/fellow voters, took about 1:45 – well worth the time – polling volunteers were excellent, walked us through the process, and I was able to vote w/o a hitch. Sorry to hear others having difficulties, but kudos to those who are sticking with it – it is WORTH IT!

    October 29, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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