10 June 2020

"This does not bode well for November"

Chloe Mexile Benard got in line to vote in the Atlanta suburbs at 7:30 a.m. yesterday, according to The Guardian. She did not vote until almost noon.
Marneia Mitchell, a stationery designer in Atlanta, was starting her fourth hour of waiting in line when she told The Times, “It’s despicable.”
And Greg Bluestein, a politics reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, called yesterday’s primary elections in Georgia “like nothing we’ve ever experienced.”
In several counties around Atlanta, voting machines malfunctioned, and thin staffing because of the coronavirus left fewer poll workers to deal with it. As a result, many Georgia residents had to choose between enduring hours in line or losing their right to vote.
Yesterday’s problems were worse than usual — partly a result of recently bought voting machines — but were also part of a much larger issue. In no other affluent country do citizens regularly have as hard a time voting as they do in the United States. Most of our elections are held on workdays, and a shortage of election equipment and workers often forces people to wait in long lines.
The waits tend to be longest for African-Americans. One study of the 2016 election, using smartphone location data, found that voters in black neighborhoods waited 29 percent longer on average than voters in white neighborhoods.
And as was the case in the 1950s and ’60s, Georgia has again become a battleground over voting rights. In the 2018 midterms, the state had the country’s longest waiting times, according to a Bipartisan Policy Center analysis. Republicans in Georgia, who control most of the state government, have frequently opposed efforts by Democrats to make voting more accessible.
It was not fully clear why yesterday’s lines were worse in the Atlanta area than elsewhere in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, blamed local officials — who are heavily Democratic — and said they had not properly trained election workers. Local officials, in turn, blamed him, saying he had not provided adequate training resources. Virus fears among election workers and high turnout, after George Floyd’s killing, may also have played a role.
“No corner of the state had a fully functional voting experience,” The Times reported. Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida, wrote: “I have never seen the scale of election failures happening in Georgia today. This does not bode well for November.

Copied and pasted in its entirety from today's "Briefing" email for subscribers to The New York Times.


  1. Yes. Mistyped while speed blogging this morning. Fixed. Thanks.

  2. @Kolo:

    The Republican party concentrated on winning down-ballot positions in local and state elections, and used the resulting monopoly to deny voting in as many ways as possible for African Americans, other minorities, "urban" voters, college voters (perceived to be progressive-leaning), etc. This means gerrymandering, stringent and expensive voter ID requirements, and closing most polling places in the areas where those perceived Democratic voters live.

    "Southern U.S. states have closed 1,200 polling places":

    Texas alone has closed 750 polling places since the election of Obama (gosh, I wonder if there's a connection?):

  3. This is why we need electronic voting. Then the election can be rigged a lot more conveniently for everyone.

  4. I see these posts saying if you can wait in line at Walmart you can wait in line to vote. Who waits in line at Walmart for four hours?
    This from just 3 months ago.


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