Long lines, tech glitches for first day of early voting
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Voters in Bibb County waited in line for more than two hours to cast ballots for early voting Monday.
Reagan Dunn stood in line with her mother to cast her vote for the first time.
“We got here at 11:20 and it’s now 1:08,” Dunn said. “Almost two hours when it gets to 2:30.”
Monday marks the first day Georgia voters can participate in the General Election. Chairman of the Bibb County Board of Elections, Mike Kaplan says voter turnout and technical difficulties caused slower voting.
“You use the poll pad to check in, and we take your ID so we can scan it and it tells us your voting information,” Kaplan explained. “We download it to the little card you use to vote with, and that has to go to the Secretary of State’s office where they’re wrapped up a little bit too. It’s just taking longer for us to get there.”
Lines wrapped around the building at both the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections and the Elaine Lucas Senior Center.
65-year-old John DeShazier waited two hours to cast his vote. He says the wait time did not bother him at all.
“I would have stood out here five hours to get my vote in, so I’m not worried about it,” DeShazier said. “I had open-heart surgery so I’m not worried, I tell everybody to just get out and vote. We need it.”
For the new voting process, residents must go inside the polling location and give a poll worker their information. Once the worker verifies the person’s voter registration, they will get a green voting card. Voters will then take this card to the voting machine and place it into a slot to unlock the ballot. Once filled in, voters will print the ballot, and take it to a poll worker to scan and cast the vote.
Kaplan says the new polling process posed a challenge for poll workers and voters. He says voting will get easier toward November. For now, he apologizes for the delays.
“Patience became the word of the day,” Kaplan stated. “We have to have it, and we want to make sure it’s done right and very transparent. I’m sorry about the wait, but it’s because a lot of people came out to vote.”
Kaplan expects shorter lines Tuesday when more people head back to work.
Early voting lasts until October 30. Macon-Bibb County will also be holding Saturday voting on October 24.