A Spalding County voter told The Georgia Star News early Tuesday that voting machines broke at a Griffin-area polling place, and instead of receiving paper ballots, workers sent the voters waiting in line away.
In an interview with The Star News, the voter – a Republican – stated that she’d arrived at her polling place at Union Baptist Church early because she works several jobs and wanted to ensure she could cast her vote.
“I’ve never had a situation where I’ve had to be turned away. So, at around 7:18 [a.m.], the lady, the poll worker, comes out and she lets us know the machines were broken. You heard [people in line saying] ‘Here we go again, we’re going to make the news again,'” the voter said. “It’s a discouragement – [I feel like] my vote’s not even going to count, or something’s going to happen again. Your faith in the system is sucker-punched – it’s discouraging. I’ve really even gone through some back and forth about even voting today.”
She added that they weren’t offered provisional or emergency ballots, so she would have to try and vote later that day between jobs.
All 159 counties in Georgia use the Dominion Voting Systems (Dominion) machines. During the general election, President Donald Trump won Spalding County by slightly over 20 points, or 6,000 votes. The county borders a cluster of Democratic strongholds: Clayton, Henry, Newton, DeKalb, Fulton, Douglas, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties.
A Spalding County Board of Elections and Registration Office administrator told The Star News that they hadn’t received any reports of broken voting machines. They referred The Star News to their county’s elections supervisor, Marcia Ridley; she didn’t respond to request for comment by press time.
This report of broken machines wouldn’t be the county’s first. On Election Day, the voting systems at all polling locations experienced technical issues and broke down. It took several hours to solve the issue, during which time voters were offered paper ballots to cast their vote.
About a month ago, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called for Ridley’s resignation due to allegations of election mismanagement. Raffensperger stated that Ridley’s management didn’t allow voters to have “a quick and reliable voting experience.” Ridley had previously reported issues resulting from glitches that occurred within their machines on election night, which she claimed were a result of last-minute uploads. Officials denied her claims, although investigations haven’t produced any explanation for the county-wide system failure.
Later, state representatives David Knight (R-Griffin) and Karen Mathiak (R-Griffin) requested that Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr investigate Spalding County Board of Elections and Registration. Knight and Mathiak alleged that the election board subverted Georgia law in regard to hosting proper, open meetings, as well as issuing guidelines on scheduling and notices.
On Monday, Spalding County was named by officials as one of the areas named in emails threatening to bomb polling locations. Investigators haven’t revealed the source of the threats.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter; email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ballot Machine” by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. CC BY-SA 2.0.