Politics

Candidates, Analysis, Voting Mayhem As Georgia Primary Results Trickle In

Voters stand in line Tuesday at Park Tavern in Atlanta.
Voters stand in line Tuesday at Park Tavern in Atlanta.
Credit Brynn Anderson / Associated Press
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Georgia voting rights groups, politicians and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are outraged over election chaos that disenfranchised voters — and made it difficult for thousands to cast a ballot in the state’s primary elections.

WABE has seen reports of many giving up their spot in line after hours of waiting in heat and scattered showers during Tuesday’s primary.

Poll delays, a surge in mail-in ballots, machine glitches and the COVID-19 pandemic complicated in-person voting — to the point where Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced he has opened an investigation into how Fulton and DeKalb counties handled the process.

Meanwhile, blame for the mishaps bounces between state and local officials.

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond retorted to Raffensperger in a statement and wrote that if there was a failure in leadership, it started at the top.

Thurmond called on Gov. Brian Kemp and other state elections officials to launch a top-to-bottom investigation.

“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,” Thurmond wrote.

“Those Georgians who have been disenfranchised by the statewide chaos that has effected the voting system today in numerous DeKalb precincts and throughout the state of Georgia deserve answers.”

Fulton election’s director, Richard Barron, also said Raffensperger can’t wash his hands of responsibility.

To make sense of the madness, “Morning Edition” host Lisa Rayam sat down with Andra Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University.

Andra Gillespie

“Morning Edition” also spoke with Georgia Sen. Nikema Williams, who waited in line on Georgia’s last early voting day to cast her ballot. The state senator said it was her 10th wedding anniversary, and casting her ballot took more than five hours.

Williams told WABE that not only did she never receive her absentee ballot in the mail, but she was told there was no record of her requesting it.

Nikema Williams

And it appears Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard is headed for a runoff election.

He has held the job for more than 20 years, but it’s likely he’ll face challenger Fani Willis, his former chief deputy.

He spoke with WABE about what he calls the mayhem surrounding Tuesday’s primary.

Paul Howard

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report. 

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