Georgia vowed to investigate voting problems that caused hourslong lines during the state’s primary on Tuesday, NBC News reports.
Voters faced extensive waits due to a mix of confusion and shortages surrounding new voting machines, understaffing caused by the coronavirus, and the state’s closure of more than 200 polling places since 2013.
The voting “catastrophe” primarily affected black voters, Kristen Clarke, the head of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told NBC.
About 75% of problems reported were by black voters, she said.
"If we view the primary election as a dry run for November, then Georgia gets an F today," she said, adding that the group received countless calls from "voters who encountered barriers from polling sites that are not open on time, malfunctioning equipment, long lines with several hours' wait time, insufficient backup paper ballots and more."
Georgia vows to investigate:
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the problems in “certain precincts” in DeKalb and Fulton Counties were “unacceptable.”
"My office has opened an investigation to determine what these counties need to do to resolve these issues before November's election," he said in a statement. "Obviously, the first time a new voting system is used there is going to be a learning curve, and voting in a pandemic only increased these difficulties. But every other county faced these same issues and were significantly better prepared to respond so that voters had every opportunity to vote."
Democrats blame Raffensperger:
"It is the secretary of state's responsibility to train, prepare and equip election staff throughout the state to ensure fair and equal access to the ballot box," DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond told NBC News. "Those Georgians who have been disenfranchised by the statewide chaos that has affected the voting system today in numerous DeKalb precincts and throughout the state of Georgia deserve answers."
"This is no accident," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "Black and brown people have been kept out of our elections—100% on purpose and by design. We must end racist voter suppression efforts, restore, and expand voting rights, and build a democracy that ensures every voice is heard."
“What happened in Georgia yesterday was by design,” agreed Hillary Clinton. “Voter suppression is a threat to our democracy.”