No federal monitors, but plenty of eyes on the election

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

November 6, 2006

It's one of your most basic rights, and everyone wants to know that every vote counts.

Electronic voting machines have people keeping a close eye on tomorrow's vote.

There haven't been any major problems with electronic voting in our area to date, and several groups want to make sure it stays that way.

Hundreds of voting machines are being put in place across the county for Tuesday's election.

It's these very machines you'll be using that have local NAACP leaders planning to do some standing up of their own.

Concerns of someone hacking into the system, or people simply having trouble voting, have both branches of the NAACP planning on sending monitors to polling locations across the area.

"We will have people at some of the key polls, precincts, some of the precincts that have had problems in the past," said David Walker, president of the Aiken NAACP.

Elections officials say there's nothing to worry about. This morning IT reps were scanning the system, checking for possible glitches.

"I'm very confident in our voting equipment," said Director of Elections Lynn Bailey. "I'm confident that it is tabulating accurately, I'm confident that it's recording citizens' votes accurately, and I am confident in that because I know the tests we put it through."

And if you are concerned about the way the votes are counted, on Election Night, you can come to the warehouse in south Augusta and watch through the window as they tabulate the votes. You'll be the first to see the results as they pop up on the screens.

The Augusta NAACP has also requested federal observers. Bailey says that's fine...in fact, she says she welcomes every eyeball.

"It doesn't matter whether they come or not. We're going to conduct our business the same way we do, one way or the other."

And it's not just the NAACP monitoring the election.

The Secretary of State's office will send two monitors. The Georgia Republican Party will send 25 observers across the state; no word if any will come to Augusta. The Augusta Democratic Party will also be at select locations.

Five candidates have been granted poll watchers for the final count tomorrow night, and school board candidate Winsome Wellington has been granted monitors at select polls.

However, the Justice Department monitors requested by the NAACP will not be coming.

Those voting machines are already at polling sites tonight. To make sure the machines are secure, there's a seal on each of the machines. If that seal is broken, the poll manager knows that someone has opened the machine.


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