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. Neal

    Voting machines are no good.

    October 29, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. Irma in North Carolina

    The trouble with the voting machine are that the repulicans and Mccains camp got their hands on them so the vote goes to them

    October 29, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Tina

    My husband and I voted yesterday in the Sullivan County, TN early elections. We had to wait about 30 minutes (I've heard it has been a 30 minute-1 hour wait there every day since early voting started).

    Aside from being excited and impatient to cast our votes for Obama, the other main reason we took advantage of early voting is because they were using the paper ballots that you feed into a scanner.

    Come Election Day, our county will switch to using new electronic voting machines that are different from the push button ones they used in the last election. These new voting machines are described as having "a wheel you turn to cast your vote".

    I don't trust electronic voting machines after the Bush/Gore fiasco... and these new ones that sound like a game of Russian Roulette when being described didn't appeal to me any better.

    Obama '08!

    October 29, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. GA Voter

    I'm a McCain voter and was stuck in the mess. By the way, there's a lot of McCain support, where I was.

    October 29, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Mark C- White-USN Retiree-Virginia Beach

    I have posted many times only to NEVER actually get it posted, yet outright Racist remarks like the one below are posted..come on people, lets get out of the 60's,, (the 1860's...) How did this post ever get past a moderator????

    "No More Hand Outs! October 29th, 2008 9:16 am ET
    If the African American voters would not keep changing their names to Muslim or African names (versus their given names), then there might not be such problems as "matching voters."
    Also, if individuals would stop with welfare fraud (listing different names at different addresses) to receive benefits, aka "welfare," then perhaps names and addresses would match accordingly.
    Is this called "sharing the wealth," this isn't any type of voter fraud, it's simply the product of taking advantage of the system.
    No More Hand Outs!!!! Who yo baby daddy?"

    October 29, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. mel in pa

    To "No More Hand Outs," Your post is disgustingly racist. To others reading this blog, please keep in mind (and spread the word) that there could be long lines to vote – plan accordingly. Be sure to have the ID required to vote in your district. Watch what you wear – some places restrict "political" clothing. Double check your ballot choice before the final cast. If you have a problem that cannot be resolved by election officials at your polling place, ask if your party has a legal representative at the poll. Do not leave without voting even by provisional ballot as a last resort. Remember, if you are in line when the polls close – you must be allowed to vote!

    October 29, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. David from Belgium

    Since 2000, the USA has been a painful laugh for us "liberals" living in Europe and the rest of the world.
    Your nation will stay like this for the next years IF McMoron and his insane diva is (s)elected.
    BUSH and his ROTTEN GOP has made a JOKE of your elections and the vast majority of people are just sitting back and wait. This is something that would never happen in our tiny country called belgium.

    October 29, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. blindsided

    Learn about this man Mr. Obama. Do NOT just go along with the promise of hopeā€¦ I know we all need things to be better. Obama is not the answer he promises:

    From Audacity of Hope:
    "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

    From Dreams of My Father:
    "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites."
    "I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race."

    October 29, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. Lyndon,CA

    Robert Mugabe would be proud of the Georgia voting process.

    October 29, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Jennifer from Lawrenceville

    I voted in Suwanee, Ga and it only took 45 min. Get out and vote regardless of the long lines!!! Its worth it!! OBAMA/BIDEN '08 ALL THE WAY!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Tony

    Come on CNN, post my comment...

    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 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. what the duce

    What the Duce!!!!!!

    Allow me to be clear! this election is starting to get out of hand. The Rep. are trying to steal the election. Stand up for your rights and vote
    for a change!!!

    obama 08

    October 29, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. 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, how do we know if our vote is actually counted? With the advent of the computer vote, and all the problems encountered, and NO papertrail to fall back on, what are we to do if, for whatever reason, computerized votes are lost? By the time it was fixed we would have elected a new president. I am proud to be a Georgia resident and hope that our elected officials will react to any voting problems immediately!! Even to the extent that Georgia would be recognized as the best state in the union in reference to voting!!

    October 29, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Bruce

    If we saw an election in Iraq run this way we woud send the army in to stop it because it woudl be considered invalid.

    But then this is the way it is always done.

    VOTE NOW BUT BEWARE!

    Checke to ensure your vote gets counted

    October 29, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Ugh!

    I know that it's a little tough managing the machines (Obama Supporters), though put that GED to use!

    October 29, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. MB

    A test was done in Florida and it has been proved that a person can break into the machine and change the memory disc...all less than 7 minutes.

    October 29, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. mabel floyd

    polling machines not working–working slowly–careful what you believe–i do not believe geo bush was ever elected–the supreme court gave him his first term and the non-paper trail fixed voting machines in ohio gave him his second term-thank God bush can not do the bloomberg

    thing in the federal system that boomberg pulled in new york!!

    October 29, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Obama-Junkie, IL

    WOW! That is a heavy voter turnout in Georgia. Hopefully many undecided voters will be finally swayed after Obama's nationally televised ad tonight.

    Obama in 08!

    October 29, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Seattle Sue

    I live in the state of Washington, I voted about a week ago using the absentee ballot. Why the rest of the country doesn't use a mail in ballot is a mystery to me. I can vote in the comfort of my home. But the best thing about this method is that there is a paper trail, unlike a lot of the E-Vote machines that can be tampered with and not leave a record such as Ohio in 2004. I urge all the voters in Georgia to hang in there and make your vote count.======PS Political Ticker why don't you reverse the order of the posts so the oldest posts are at the top.

    October 29, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. FRANK

    CLINTON DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN!!

    GOOD OF COUNTRY OVER GOOD OF PARTY!!
    COUNTRY FIRST!!

    October 29, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. jt

    Finally it's gonna get over on November 4, thanks God no more Bush and McCain after going through 8 years of disaster, economy, war, torture, corruption, on your own policy...vote...vote for change...God Bless us All...

    October 29, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Mickie in PA

    Of course the GOP is going to try to steal the election – look at the last two and why do you think they have had so much control over McCain's campaign. He needs them in order to steal this election.

    October 29, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. UNION WORKERS FOR MCCAIN

    Big deal. About one-third of the electorate votes early, this is NO surprise. CNN is hoping to build fears in GOP rank and file Americans that the Democrats will overwhelm them. Don't worry druid liberals, Republicans will maintain control in the White House. Obama Marxist will not win.

    October 29, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. triana

    i have not voted yet and i live in GA, however, i am thinking that i should go ahead and vote. This election as a whole is making me nervous. I wanted to be in the mist of November 4 and the momentum of the day, but now i am thinking that i should go ahead and get it out the way. OBAMA supporter.

    October 29, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Accountant Guy

    The Republicans are pathetic, they know they can't win a fair election so they are trying to cheat their way into office. Not going to work this time. Americans are tired of your crap. Get out and Barack the Vote America!! No matter how long it takes, a couple of hours or a day is worth our future. Before you submit your ballot, double and triple check your ballot, as the Republicans are desperate!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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