0

Some metro Atlanta voters denied regular ballots

ATLANTA — State elections officials and voter advocates said Tuesday there were problems in metro Atlanta where voters who said they were registered were unable to cast regular ballots because they weren't listed on their precincts' voter lists.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said his office believes the list of voters in Fulton County who had problems could reach into the thousands and said that would be "unprecedented." More than 10 percent of Georgia's 5.3 million registered voters live in the county.

Fulton County election officials would not confirm how many would-be voters had problems or how many ended up casting provisional ballots. Kemp said several Fulton County precincts ran out of the paper provisional ballots, forcing voters to wait until more could be printed.

The Georgia chapter of Election Protection, a nonpartisan voter protection coalition, reported multiple complaints of voters who were listed in the Secretary of State's central database of voters but who did not show up in the electronic lists at the precinct.

Separately, Kemp said his office received reports of voters who said they had submitted written voter registration forms but didn't show up on any voter list. He said Fulton County did not process all the registration forms it received.

Provisional ballots must be counted by 5 p.m. Friday. In the case of registration questions, the county board of registrars will decide whether a voter's ballot should be counted.

Fulton County elections spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said officials would know Wednesday how many provisional ballots were cast.

"There is not a problem that we are aware of," Corbitt said in an email. "The poll managers check in and turn in the provisional ballots."

Kemp said his office would contact Fulton County elections officials on Wednesday morning.

"They need to come up with a plan that gives voters a sense of confidence that they can get this resolved in the prescribed time allotted," he said.

Sarah Shalf, chairwoman of Georgia Election Protection, said poll workers should have allowed any voter who is on the Secretary of State's master list to use the routine touch-screen ballot. The protocol, she said, should have been for a poll worker who didn't see a voter's name to call another elections official who could verify that voter's registration.