Diving inside all the bumps and bruises of Election Day

Problems like new voting systems and confusion over absentee ballots led to an overwhelming...
Problems like new voting systems and confusion over absentee ballots led to an overwhelming Election Day in Georgia. (Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Results for some big Georgia elections were delayed this Election Day after problems started surfacing before some polls even opened.

The numbers just weren't coming in. Results didn't come in for Columbia County roughly 10:30 p.m. on Election Day, some had to wait for Richmond County around midnight.

And it still wasn't clear if all precincts were reporting. But in the midst of all this criticism, the work for elections still isn’t over. There are ballots still being counted, yet officials say based on everything else, they couldn’t be more happy with the way things went here.

Doom and gloom at the ballot box is not how local election officials see it.

“It was not without bumps by far, but all things considered, I think things went pretty well here in Richmond County,” Lynn Bailey of the Richmond County Board of Elections, said.

Bailey sees those bumps as a result of the circumstances. First - there were new machines and a new system.

“It wasn’t an easy day for any of us,” Bailey said. “We all have this new equipment, everybody — the poll workers — all of us were struggling to use it.”

Why was there so much struggle? Well, there was training leading up to March, May, and June. Yet, the two delays in Richmond County came because it took too long to get the new system up and running.

“You’re trained on something for three or four hours, and then a couple of weeks go by and you’re looking at this software — it’s easy to be overwhelmed,” Bailey said.

Another issue - many senior citizens chose not to work the polls due to COVID-19. That led to issues in Columbia County, where officials say they were swamped with many canceling their absentee ballots and voting in-person.

Glitches to the system just added to the problems. But despite those problems, officials say locally, this election is fair and accurate.

“I have seen absolutely nothing that causes me concern with the tabulation of these votes,” Bailey said.

Overall, the Richmond County Board of Elections is encouraging everyone to be patient while results keep coming in. They say, if you think you can make it better, then they always need plenty of help.

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