Dave Wehr and his wife arrived at Sope Creek Elementary just before 6:30 Tuesday morning and began their wait to vote. They were seventh and eighth in line.
Almost two hours passed before they finally cast their ballot. In the meantime, several people left without voting, he told the Marietta Daily Journal in an email.
“Some said they had to work, and one said she had physical therapy appointment and would be charged if she failed to show up,” he wrote.
Poll workers, citing security concerns, did not finish setting up the state’s brand-new voting machines until after 7 a.m., he said. And yet two could not be used — “the iPads that were supposed to initiate the voter cards were not working, so they had to use a ‘master card’ to bring up the ballot on each machine and they only had 2 such ‘master cards.’”
His was among a number of stories frustrated voters have shared with the MDJ since Tuesday morning.
In a video posted to YouTube, Smyrna resident Darrius Thompson detailed similar problems.
He arrived at the Oakdale 1 precinct 6:30 Tuesday morning, and right before polls were set to open, was told that the machines had not arrived until that morning. People already in line were asked to fill out provisional ballots, which would be thrown away if they did not return to the Cobb elections office by 5 p.m. Friday to show their photo I.D. — something they had been asked to do only moments earlier.
His was one of two cases cited by Cobb Democratic Party Chairwoman Jacquelyn Bettadapur in an email to Cobb officials meant to “illustrate some of the significant, unwarranted challenges presented to voters in Cobb County on Election Day.”
Almost two full days after close of polls, and despite a ballot-counting head start, the results of some elections were still up in the air Thursday evening with tens of thousands of absentee ballots yet to be counted.
“There may be 109,000-some votes accounted for, but we’ve still got 61,500 that haven’t, so results could easily change,” county spokesman Ross Cavitt said Thursday morning.
Cavitt confirmed Cobb had received a waiver from the state to begin counting absentee ballots early and had gone through 20,000 before election day.
More than 105,000 county residents opted to cast an absentee ballot, he said, with 61,500 waiting to be counted — work that will likely continue into the weekend.
“Obviously, we’ve had way more absentee ballots than we’ve ever received before,” he said. “Going along with that, it’s a very labor-intensive process.”
A “large number” of absentee ballots had to be sent to Jim Miller Park for additional verification due to an issue with the ballot, he added, whether because it was torn or because the voter had voted twice in the same race.
“It’s just a big, long process, so that’s why it’s taking a long time,” he said.
Given the “unprecedented” number of absentee ballots, Cavitt said in a statement Thursday evening, the Board of Elections and Registration moved a meeting at which they were set to certify election results from Wednesday, June 17 to Friday, June 19.
The general election for partisan posts is on Nov. 3. Nonpartisan offices were decided in this round of voting, unless a runoff is necessary. Runoffs for partisan and nonpartisan races will take place Aug. 11.
Sherriff candidate drops outDespite the number of outstanding ballots, one candidate in a tight race has already announced he would drop out.
Private investigator James “Jimmy” Herndon announced he would end his campaign for sheriff Thursday in a message to supporters posted to Facebook.
“While I am not clear on the results of the primary election at this time as 70,000 absentee ballots are still being counted,” he wrote, “I am certain that, unlike my opponents, I am simply unable and unwilling to contribute $60,000 or more of my own personal funds to sustain this campaign. It simply does not make sense to risk my family’s future. That is why, no matter the outcome, I will not continue forward, as I can not complete with a self funded campaign.”
At noon Thursday, Herndon trailed his two opponents in the Democratic primary, Carver College Police Department Officer Gregory Gilstrap and Cobb County Police Department Major Craig Owens.
Results so farHere are the results in some of Cobb’s highlighted races as of 5:37 p.m. p.m. on Thursday. Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth:
♦ U.S. House District 6 Republican primary: Karen Handel has a hefty lead on her opponents with 38,096 votes districtwide or 74.7%, while in second, Joe Profit has garnered 7,317 (14.4%). Blake Harbin has earned 2,525 votes (5%), while Mykel Lynn Barthelemy has received 2,168 (4.3%) and Paulette Smith has reached 887 (1.7%). The winner of the primary will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Georgia, in November.
♦ Cobb County Sheriff Democratic primary: Craig Owens leads with 35,414 votes or 48.4%. Gregory Gilstrap has so far earned 19,932 votes (27.2%) and James Herndon has received 17,876 (24.4%). The winner of the primary will take on incumbent Sheriff Neil Warren in November.
♦ Cobb County Commission Chairman Republican primary: Mike Boyce, (I) has received 38,004 votes, or nearly 68.7% to Larry Savage’s 13,151 (23.8%) and Ricci Mason’s 4,195 (7.6%).
♦ Cobb Commission District 2 Republican primary: Fitz Johnson leads with 5,278, or around 35.7% of the vote, while Andy Smith and Kevin Nicholas follow closely behind, at 4,794 (32.5%) and 4,696 (31.8%), respectively. The winner will face Democratic nominee Jerica Richardson in November for a chance to replace outgoing Commissioner Bob Ott, who did not seek reelection.
♦ Cobb Commission District 4 Democratic primary: Shelia Edwards leads the race between seven candidates with 5,911 or 25.6% of the vote. Monique Sheffield has garnered 5,156 (22.3%); Monica Delancy is next with 3,714 (16.1%); Edwin Mendez has so far received 2,824 votes (12.2%); Angelia Pressley has received 2,604 (11.3%); Jonathan Hunt has collected 1,681 (7.3%); and Elliott Hennington has received 1,201 votes (5.2%). The winner of the primary will be the presumptive winner of the election in November, and will replace outgoing Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who is running for commission chair.
♦ Cobb County Board of Education, Post 5 Republican primary: David Banks (I) leads with 5,904 or about 55.2% of the vote to Shelley O’Malley’s 2,552 (23.9%) and Matt Harper’s 2,240 (nearly 20.9%). The winner of the nomination will face one of two Democrats in November.
♦ Cobb County Board of Education, Post 5 Democratic primary: Dr. Julia Hurtado leads with 4,825 votes (58.3%) over Tammy Andress’ 3,458 (41.8%).
♦ Georgia House District 42 Democratic primary: Incumbent Teri Anulewicz holds a narrower-than-expected but growing lead over challenger Asher Nuckolls, with 2,628 votes (57.1%) to Nuckolls’ 1,978 (42.9%). The winner of that primary will be the presumptive victor in November.
♦ Cobb Superior Court (nonpartisan) for Judge Stephen Schuster’s seat: Jason Marbutt holds a slight lead with 45,991 votes (38.3%) to challenger Gregory Shenton’s 39,945 (33.3%) and John Robert Greco’s 34,040 (28.4%). The winner will replace retiring Judge Schuster.
♦ Cobb Superior Court (nonpartisan) for Judge Lark Ingram’s seat: Kellie Hill has so far earned 78,093 votes or 62.9% to opponent Daniele Johnson’s 46,057 (nearly 37.1%). The winner will replace retiring Judge Ingram.
♦ Cobb Superior Court (nonpartisan) for Chief Judge Reuben Green’s seat: Challenger Angela Brown has garnered 74,247 or 56.6% of the vote to incumbent Green’s 56,948 (43.4%). If Brown wins, she will unseat Green.
♦ Cobb State Court Judge Post 6 (nonpartisan): In the crowded State Court race, Trina Griffiths leads five others with 29,629 votes (23.9%). Next is Diana Simmons, with 27,065 votes (21.8%). David Willingham is third so far, with 17,722 votes (14.3%). Joseph Atkins has earned 17,552 votes (14.2%), Scott Halperin has garnered 16,483 (13.3%) and Mazi Mazloom has collected 15,556 (12.5%).