State election board votes to send long lines case to AG, releases plan for November

ATLANTA — Local leaders say they know what led to long voting lines during June’s primary, and they have a plan to hopefully avoid them again in November.

The state election board has voted to send the case to the state attorney general.

“I thought it was going to be a quite a long line, but I wasn’t expecting three hours,” voter Kathleen Carswell told us back in June.

At Thursday’s meeting of the state’s board of election, investigators with the Secretary of State’s office revealed their findings about what went wrong.

“Overwhelmingly the biggest complaint was the long lines,” investigations supervisor Frances Watson said.

Investigators say many of the Fulton County mistakes were the result of lack of hands-on training with the state’s new voting machines.

More than half the Fulton County poll managers interviewed also reported not having adequate supplies on hand.

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“Most poll workers had little, if any, training on the machines themselves. The online training Fulton County offered did not properly prepare the election staff to conduct the election. They did not know how to set the equipment up,” Watson said.

Fulton County officials acknowledge problems but say they are being unfairly singled out for statewide issues.

“Look, I recognize that virtual training, especially when you are dealing with new equipment, is not as good as in-person training, but given the limits they we’re facing at the time, I don’t know what they could have done differently,” Fulton County attorney Amanda Clark Palmer said.

Fulton County did lay out a plan to prevent the same problems in November that includes expanded early voting with 24 locations across the county, a technician assigned to every precinct and resumption of in-person training of poll workers.

Still, the election board voted to hand its investigation over to the attorney general for further action.

But Georgia’s elections director Chris Harvey did acknowledge he thinks Fulton County is making progress.

“I think we’re on the right track. I want to continue that partnership. We’ve got about two months to go,” Harvey said.

Channel 2 Action News contacted Attorney General Chris Carr’s office about what happens next.

Carr’s office will now conduct a legal review of the case, and then either try the case before an administrative law judge, or work out a negotiated consent order between the state and county.

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