October 31st, 2008
04:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Unprecedented wait times plague Georgia voters

Long lines plagued Georgia polling places this Halloween.

Long lines plagued Georgia polling places this Halloween.

ATLANTA (CNN) - The scariest part of this Halloween for some Atlanta voters is the unprecedented wait time at area polling stations, where heavy turnout and computer problems are leading to delays of 2 to 10 hours.

At a downtown Atlanta location the wait was up to four hours Friday as the line stretched down three blocks according to CNN’s Rusty Dornin, who was in line herself at the location.

And that location isn't even the longest wait for voters in that county. According to Jessica Corbitt of the Fulton County Office of Community Relations, at the Welcome All Center in South Fulton County the wait was five hours long.

Three thousand people have voted at the Adamsville location, according to Beverly Isom, executive aide to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Isom told us that those at the front of the line at 4 p.m. had been waiting to vote since 9am, and that hundreds more have signed up and continue to wait in line. Crowds are reported to be orderly and patient - but are weary of the six-hour wait.

As in many jurisdictions, if voters are in line by 7 p.m. then they will be able to vote. Corbitt said “obviously the voting will go long past 7 p.m.”

In DeKalb County, northeast of Atlanta, officials estimated that up to 19,000 people will vote today, as lines at polling stations continue to wrap around buildings and down city blocks. Mary Frances Weeks, administrative assistant to DeKalb County Director of Elections Linda Lattimore, tells CNN that at the dozens of county polling locations the wait is an average of 3 hours. As of yesterday according to Weeks, 134,153 people have cast early ballots in DeKalb County.

The Gwinnett County board of Elections office tells CNN that their longest wait time is up to 10 hours at their Grayson highway location, and an average of five hours at their other four locations.

As turnout continues to race toward record-breaking numbers, Democratic officials continue to press Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel over her decision not to extend early voting hours.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's editorial board criticized the move earlier this week, writing that “state and local election officials should be making every effort to accommodate citizens who obviously want to exercise their country’s most sacred right.”

Handel responded with a Thursday op-ed in the paper affirming her decision. “Georgians can be assured that my office is not going to attempt to change the rules to accommodate the political whims of groups or newspapers less than a week before Election Day,” she wrote.

A number of voters have called in to the CNN Voter Hotline to complain about the long lines in Georgia.

“Vote times in excess of seven hours which is absolutely ridiculous and horrendous,” Mitchell Silvers from Lillburn, Georgia told the Hotline.

Another Gwinnett County caller, Donovan Noble, was worried he wouldn’t be able to get in his vote by the end of early voting on Friday because his voting location was only accepting voters until 4:30 p.m.

“There is no way that all the people out there are going to be able to vote,” said Noble.

Filed under: Georgia • Voter Problems
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Keith

    This is NOT democracy....don't kid yourself.

    October 31, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. NC Gal

    This is just another example of the excitement surrounding this election. It's the chance to shape our future!

    Obama/Biden '08/12

    October 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. CW

    The disenfranchisement begins..........

    October 31, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |

    Hang in there parents, and vote for the future of your kids, by staying and voting for Obama/Biden!

    October 31, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. Carolyn Mitchell

    If the Governor of Florida can issue a proclamation and extend
    voting hours, then Georgia' and Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel should be able to take a similar step! However, Handel is clearly interested in PREVENTING people (DEMOCRATS) from voting and this is one more example of that behavior. I imagine that should Handel choose to run for any future policital office in Georgia, she will LOSE hands down. She's a poor example of a public servant and a repeat of other infamous Secretary of States, i.e., Florida's Katherine Harris (2000 presidential election) and Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell (2008 presidential election).

    October 31, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. thomas

    C'mon Georgia, step it up. Get some more poll workers out there.

    October 31, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Joe Green


    Go Georgians!

    October 31, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Tiff of lithia springs

    I am not a Gov Perdue fan but he is right when he says the polls have been open since Sept 22nd. It only took me 30min about 3-4 weeks ago. As soon as I found out the polls were open I went and took my sons to educate them on the process. And many other parents had their children there doing the same.

    Hang in there folks. Many people knew who they were going to vote for. Many folks have the day off in the middle of the week especially MON and FRI.

    October 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Be patient, the vote for Obama/Biden is well worth the wait.

    Voted Early – Obama/Biden '08

    October 31, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Georgia is going blue 2!

    I pray GA will be blue for Xmas!

    October 31, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. McCain2008

    As for those early voters you can visually see who they mostly are. Do these people have no jobs that they can stand in lines for hours to vote for someone cause of the color of there skin, and not for the real issues that face our nation. I can just see Obamas' welfare lines already. As they already have formed.Why should I have to work to support these lazy people. I believe it's time for them to get out and pay some taxes.

    October 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |

    This a disgrace. Why does it take that long to vote? And why can't these places get Good People to work the Polls? That do not create bottle-necks. Its not that hard.

    October 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. No Hillary = No Obama

    These are the possibilities if Obama is elected: Obama will appoint William Ayers as Secretary of Education; Rev. Wright will give the invocation at the ignaguration; he'll stack his cabinet with Chicago politicians to whom he owes favors. The person who will sell you the world, will sell you out as soon as they get what they want. That's Obama.

    October 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. Not yet US resident

    This is ridiculous! As said in the article, it's our most sacred right. I thought they were using computers in the US? Having people wait for hours sounds like a way of intimidating voters and try to reduce voter turnout. Instead of spending milions on warfare, we could start on giving people the ability to voice their concerns and determine this country's future!

    October 31, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. My Heros

    has anyone other than me notice how they get less attention that Joe the plumber???? By the way I heard that Joh McCain said he will take the jerk o washington ( Huh... he is really senile"

    October 31, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. Please Clarify

    Voting line or welfare, I mean "spreading the wealth line"?

    October 31, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. Wait Baby Wait

    Wait in line as long as it takes! Your waiting is not in VAIN because we cannot take 4 more years of Sarah ad McCAIN!

    Obama-Biden '08

    October 31, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  18. Cindy in Atlanta

    Wait time in Georgia has been horrible this week. Early voting began late September...and the lines have gotten longer each week. Hopefully this might mean better results on Tuesday. I voted Monday took 3 hours....didn't mind the wait and seems everyone feels the same. Despite the long wait times, I have not heard anyone complain about it!!!!!


    October 31, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. georgiagirl

    Whatever you do..........GET OUT AND VOTE!!!!!!! Do not let the wait time stop you. This is a very important election.

    October 31, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. Tim

    Karen Handel is a wanna be Katherine Harris. Allowing longer voting hours lets everyone vote which is the point. How does she know who people in line are going to vote for when she cites "political whims"??

    October 31, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. Ben in Dallas

    Is this an accident?

    October 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. Hard Working American for McCain

    I nor anyone else can understand why people are complaining. The only ones compaining are democrats. The line is what it is so if you want to vote than you must wait. You have nothing else to do anyway so bring your cell phone and wait. I waited several hours myself. So what. We want everyone to vote so except the fact of the wait.

    October 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. barry j

    Anything worth having is worth waiting for.........

    No wait should be TOO long........

    The wait will be worth it come January 20, 2009 when Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America!!!!!

    just sayin'

    October 31, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Bob

    Wait at polls in Georgia USA?...
    Ruling elite there donot want voters to turn up and vote...
    USA is worse than Mangolia during elections...
    50 states with electroral rules.....

    October 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. ved

    I don't believe this ... this must be one of Republican dirty tricks ... that Newt Gingrich theif, who slept with his teacher and preached family value to everyone else, is still out there spreading racism

    October 31, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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