Stacey Abrams Not Conceding A Goddamn Thing!
Voting in Georgia yesterday was exactly the sort of disorganized frustrating fuck-tussle you might expect in a state where the Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is simultaneously running for governor AND in charge of making the election run smoothly. Big surprise! In many areas with large black populations, the voting didn't go so smoothly! After "technical issues" at multiple sites -- little things, like poll workers forgetting power cords for machines -- many voters had to wait three or four hours to vote. And that is perfectly convenient and normal and not at all a form of voter suppression because as any fool knows, there's no such thing as voter suppression.
A judge ordered polling hours be extended into the evening in three precincts in Gwinnett County after problems with the "ExpressPolls" machines used to check voters in caused long lines. If you want to amaze your friends with your knowledge of voting arcana, the ironically named ExpressPolls aren't the actual machines used to record votes. Instead, they're needed to create an "access card" that includes an electronic ballot, which voters then stick in the actual voting machines. Since they're needed to make the process work, that would be a distinction without a difference, really.
At some polling places in Gwinnett, poll workers distributed paper ballots to voters, while at one, everyone just stood in line waiting for poll workers to get the ExpressPolls working. Some voters decided not to use the paper ballots because, this being Georgia in the Kemp era, they doubted whether such unconventional, non-machine ballots would even get counted.
Cheryl Strickland told The Atlanta Jourrnal Constitution she arrived at 6:15 a.m. — 45 minutes before polls opened — she would stay put at until she could vote on a machine.
Tabitha Fudge was waiting too, saying she didn't trust that paper ballots would be counted properly.
Did anyone have a good explanation for why the ExpressVote machines had rebelled against their human operators, and mostly in precincts with a lot of black voters? Heck no! But a Gwinnett County spokesman, Joe Sorenson, DID offer this explanation, which seems too technologically complex for us to parse:
Sorenson said the Express Polls issue was not electrical and happens from time to time. New equipment was brought in, he said.
If "they all do that" is good enough for squeaky brakes on your Volvo, we guess it's good enough for what we laughingly call the democratic process.
Elsewhere in Gwinnett County, the machines at another polling place, in Snellville, worked just fine -- for about 45 minutes, until their batteries went dead because nobody brought power cords for the damn things. Voter Nick Alexander arrived at about 7:15 AM, just after the polls opened, and witnessed the whole sorry mess:
"The line started to build," Alexander said. "The polling director informed us that the batteries had died in the polling machines and someone was going to get power cords."
Alexander said the batteries in each of the voting booths had died and it took about an hour and 45 minutes for them to retrieve the power cords -- then another hour and 45 minutes passed before he was able to vote.
"There were only two people there checking IDs -- and you know the line moved at a snail's pace," Alexander said as he left the poll at 10 a.m. "I've been in this process since 7:10 this morning and I'm just leaving now."
Some of the voting bottlenecks didn't involve non-working voting equipment; instead, the machines just plain weren't available at all. In Atlanta, one crowded voting site had only three (3) voting machines. Here's what it looked like inside the polling place:
Ready to wait? Hundreds of voters stand in line for hours this morning at this SW Atlanta polling place. Only three… https://t.co/reRvVnkYMV— Tom Regan (@Tom Regan)1541520092.0
Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron said it was all just a regrettable logistical error, of the kind that just sometimes happens and results in three to four hour waits, but no worries, they're really sorry and brought more machines, eventually.
"I just want to tell the voters there that on behalf of me and my staff, we're sorry for the mix-up," Barron said. Five more machines were being sent out, and Barron said he hoped anyone who left because of the wait will return.
Ever the suspicious type, Rev. Jesse Jackson urged voters to be persistent and called the little oopsie "a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote." Gee, so suspicious, guy.
Across Fulton County, a full 700 voting machines were withheld from service, which contributed to the long wait, but there was a perfectly cromulent reason: It was all the fault of people suing the state over its shitty voting procedures, don't you see?
Yes...long lines at Metro Atlanta polling places are due to high turnout...and long ballot. BUT FULTON COUNTY is… https://t.co/jBmVdko6ol— Aaron Diamant (@Aaron Diamant)1541527562.0
Not exactly a detailed description of the lawsuit there; if you want the deets, here they are.
As of this morning, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is refusing to concede to Kemp, because she's no idiot. A statement from the Abrams campaign says the race isn't over until it's absolutely clear all the ballots have been counted and that no December runoff will be needed in the race between Kemp, Abrams, and a Libertarian dude who simply will not shut up about industrial hemp.
The campaign cited several specific places in the state that could play a role in a scenario to force the runoff, including three of the state's largest counties that "have reported only a portion of the votes that were submitted by early mail" and four other large counties that "have reported exactly 0 votes by mail," according to the campaign. Together, it said, the seven counties "are expected to return a minimum of 77,000 ballots."
"These counties also represent heavily-Democratic leaning constituencies, and the majority of those votes are anticipated to be for Stacey Abrams," the statement read. The campaign also said absentee ballots could make a difference.
As for the possibility that thousands of people may have been unable to vote because for people with jobs, a three-hour wait is just plain not possible, any mention of them would -- in official terms -- merely be sour-grapes complaining, so please shut up, OK? This election was stolen fair and square, using all the traditional methods available.
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