SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Every election, I go to my polling place and cast my ballot. I like doing it in person, not that I’m opposed to mail-in ballots, it’s just a personal preference. I feel that this act, along with my previous service in the Army, is the most American thing I do.
I’ve done this every election since I turned 18 forty years ago without fail. But, this year, the system failed me; at least temporarily.
When I arrived at my precinct last week, just a few minutes after it opened, the workers were not ready for those wanting to vote. The new machines, and to be more specific, the setting up of the new machines had seemed to confound them.
After fumbling around with various cords for nearly 30 minutes, they decided to call Chatham County’s Board of Elections tech support, only to be told that there was only one person to help and they weren’t the only ones struggling.
In fact, dozens of precincts around Chatham County had to remain open late so those who couldn’t vote before work, would have the opportunity after, which is what I did.
The problems here in Chatham County, however pale in comparison that was witnessed in and around Atlanta. The same struggles getting the machines to operate properly, combined with the shuttering of dozens of previously used polling places - mostly in highly concentrated minority neighborhoods - created lines that last more than four hours for those wanting to vote.
Consider this: without confidence in fair elections, you cannot have a thriving democracy. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was quick to point fingers at Chatham County, when in fact it is his responsibility to make sure all poll workers are trained and ready.
Plain and simple, they were not. The Secretary of State now has five months to get this right and get it right he must. Our democracy is dependent upon it.