However, the state’s inability to prepare and correct them underscores the need for many election officials, activists and experts to quickly increase funding, preparedness and training ahead of the November general election.
As Congress has delayed additional funding and support for states trying to prepare for November 3, warning signs are accumulating and time is running out. Now, a senior federal election official is urging lawmakers to act quickly to provide additional funding to states.
“The election officials I’m talking to are aware of the challenges, but I also know and can see the real challenges of resources, recruitment challenges and voter education, and it all costs money,” said Ben Howland, the election’s chairman. U.S. Commission. “$ 400 million in the CARES law is a big deal, but I think the cost will be significantly higher.
“From the election officials I’m talking to, the need is clear,” he said.
After twice running in the primary, Georgia still appears to be having problems with Covid-19. Polling stations in some counties changed at the last minute after polling stations withdrew due to corona.
Shanon Dillon-Johnson, an Atlanta voting worker, relocated to a new polling station 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the polls.
“No one told me to come here until 6:42 a.m. since I was already in Grady from 5:57,” Dillon-Johnson told CNN. “I called my bosses to send them an email, and after the blue we got a phone call. Because it was like a line of us coming back looking for where to go.”
Voters in several polling stations across the state reported delayed opening hours. Georgia’s problems have been exacerbated by the state’s launch of new voting machines that were unfamiliar to both voters and voting workers, causing even more delays.
Election officials in Atlanta also tried to replace workers in the polls who were unable or unwilling to work during the pandemic.
The result was that in densely populated areas of the state, large lines were stretched for blocks and voters waited for hours to vote. Some voters waited in line until 1 a.m. on election night to have the opportunity to vote.
Voters influence color
Similar scenes have been played in Maryland, Washington and Wisconsin, where officials have not been prepared for the number of voters voting in person.
“The reality of what you see today in Georgia is largely a function of the Covid situation. We lost a lot of polling stations because it’s summer time, so schools are closed, churches are excluded, VFW halls are excluded,” Gabriel said. Sterling, director of state voting in Georgia. “In Fulton County in particular, they lost 40 locations and collapsed many of these areas into majestic enclosures that saw many of these amazingly large lines.”
“Stable in black polling stations and I went one after the other, including my own,” said LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, who also faced a three-hour wait to vote Tuesday. “People wait in line for four or five hours – the machines didn’t pick up until 12:30 p.m. This is half the day.”
When they did it on Tuesday, they faced big lines and long delays.
“This is a huge warning siren,” said Myrna Perez, director of the Brennan Center for Voting Rights and Elections Program. “And that means the quality of the day’s experience meant more to communities that didn’t vote by mail. And they didn’t come.”
“It will be repressive,” Perez said.
Challenges by mail
Georgia’s experience also suggests that other states and jurisdictions that are new to e-mail voting are likely to face similar challenges as they seek to rapidly increase their capacity for November.
In Georgia, some voters said they were confused by the instructions that accompanied their vote and referred to an “internal file” that was not given.
Runbeck’s state election service, which was contracted by the state to send the ballots, told CNN that the report was a mistake made by incorrect communication between the company and government election officials that is less in line with the details of the correspondence. ballots.
“It was just a lack of understanding on both sides, both in Runbeck and in the state, that, well, that’s what he really means here. And that has caused some confusion,” said Jeff Ellington, president and CEO of Runbeck.
Stacey Abrams, who after her failed candidacy for Georgia’s administration defended the voter repression, said she had a different problem with her vote.
“Although I asked for it early enough in the process when it finally arrived, the return file was sealed,” Abrams told CBS News. “I tried to open it because I saw a lot of ‘Perry Mason’. It didn’t work. And so I had to vote for myself.”
“This is a complete collapse and a failure of the Secretary of State,” Abrams said.
The state received nearly 1.6 million absentee ballots – several times more than usual during the primary. County officials were shocked and slow to process many of the applications.
“I will tell you where the biggest analysis was, in my opinion, how long it took us to process the missing ballot applications,” said Fizon County Commissioner Liz Hausmann. “People had received these application forms six to eight weeks ago. And so when they didn’t get an answer and couldn’t figure out what happened to their request, they didn’t believe they could answer in time if they understood.”
“So many people I spoke to today would not be aligned if they got this ballot,” he added.
Atlanta voters Kate Hausmann and Stephen Reid both said they had submitted their requests to reject the vote in mid-April via email, but received a response acknowledging their request for the first time a few days before Tuesday’s election. In the end, they never got their votes and voted in person after waiting two hours in a row.
“The most frustrating thing is that we both sent our applications so early,” Reid said.
County Commissioner Hausmann said county election officials have made the decision to apply for email last time. He claims that 8,000 of these applications have been “lost”.
Concerns about the US Postal Service
Human resources have emerged as a central concern for Election Day. The majority of civil servants are elderly – most are at risk from coronavirus. And like Georgia, many will face a challenge in finding replacement workers and will need to increase staff to process voting requests in the weeks leading up to election day.
Georgian officials say that a week before Election Day, their records showed that almost everything (96%) of the required voters had been handed over. And others surrendered in the last days before Election Day. However, many voters also said they did not receive their own – in some cases, two people in the same household applied for both, but only one was handed over.
The U.S. Postal Service has insisted that they be prepared to handle the growing volume of e-mails, but doubts – especially among voters – remain as to whether the postal service can be relied upon.
“There have been legislative talks that the USPS is monitoring from one end to the other,” the election commissioner said. “And I would definitely like to see that in place.”
“We have the ability to do that and talking about it would not be so expensive to have such a system in the USPS,” he added.
Even with a smooth Election Day process, many election officials have agreed on one thing: a flood of ballot papers, temporary ballots and longer periods of early voting will make the results of the deposit late on election night. So slow that the results may not be known for days after the final vote.
In Georgia, a day before Election Day, the state said about 600,000 absences that had been requested and mailed to voters were still pending. Government officials have no way of knowing how many of these voters have decided to vote in person or whether these ballots have simply not been processed or voted on by the voter.
As the sun rises the day after the election, the final results remain unknown.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to accurately state the amount of money in the CARES law.
CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland contributed to this story.