Minor hiccups, but overall smooth voting day in Chatham County

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 2:46 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:20 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Wait times in Chatham County during the early voting period were sometimes hours long. But we are hearing from voters that they’ve been able to get in and out fairly quickly on Election Day.

Voters from around Chatham County have been saying that things are mostly running smoothly, though there were a few hiccups Tuesday morning.

According to Billy Wooten, the Chatham County Board of Elections supervisor, three polling locations had scanners that went down. He says that under state law, the protocol in that situation is to place the ballots in an emergency bin - which is on the ballot box - to be counted later.

Voters do have the right to stick around and make sure their ballot is cast once the machine is fixed.

Some folks at a location on Wilmington Island, however, say that they were told otherwise.

“When I questioned whether or not that was the law or if that was true, the polling manager, again, said yes, we didn’t have a choice but to place the ballot in the emergency bin and to keep the line moving and move along,” Andrew Cannon said.

Cannon said he filed a complaint with the Election Authority, and Wooten says the issue was corrected and all votes were counted.

“We’re sorry somehow that information got out or someone said something they weren’t going to say, but that’s a very reliable poll, that Wilmington Island poll,” Wooten said.

One voter from the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens location said that after she put her ballot in the emergency bin, she left and felt uneasy because she wasn’t sure what would happen next.

“Nothing was told to us as we were leaving, like hey, this is the protocol we’re going to follow to make sure everything is accounted for. We were just kind of left in the dark. Here’s your sticker. Have a great day,” Kayla Hendrix said.

The assistant manager at that polling location said around 1:00 p.m. that the machine was back-up and all the ballots from the emergency bin had been cast.

According to Wooten, the issues they’ve seen Tuesday have been very minor compared to what they could be.

“We got 800 printers out today. What’s the chance that all 800 are going to work perfectly every time? There is no chance of that. It just is the nature of the business, and so we fix them, we get replacements, we fix them, we swap them out as quickly as we can, and voting continues,” Wooten said.

Click here to see election results for the U.S. Senate seat runoff in Georgia.