The Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections is delaying its election briefing regarding the June 9 primary election from 7:15 p.m. until about 9 p.m., but its director, Richard Barron, released a statement regarding the problems the county has had at some polling precincts.
According to their poll managers and voters, while some voting locations had no issues, others had waits of two to three hours due to malfunctioning voting machines and other problems. As a result, the department extended voting hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“I want to thank the voters who participated in this election,” Barron said. “Your overwhelming response to the call to participate in the electoral process speaks volumes about our citizens' commitment to using their voice.
“While we do not yet have projections for overall turnout, we know that before today, we had more than 16% voter turnout during early voting and absentee voting. I predict that we exceeded turnout for the 2018 election of around 20%.”
He also addressed issues stemming from both using the state’s new voting machines and the health and safety restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“By now you know that this election was one unlike any other that we have experienced,” Barron said. “The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to make a mug more aggressive push for absentee voting as it also created unique staffing and logistical challenges. We had several poll locations shift or consolidate as they became unavailable due to our current situation. This was also our first major election using new equipment. I want to thank our poll workers for their patience and dedication during today's elections.
“The majority of our precincts had minimal issues throughout the day. All that being said, this is a learning experience for our team, and we have some takeaways from today’s events. We have identified several areas for improvement to help us be better prepared for the general election in November. Specifically, these include our absentee ballot process, tailoring poll worker training to emphasize the issues we identified today and undertaking an efficiency review for other process improvements.”