An Unexpected Pipe Burst and Machine Malfunctions Cause Voting Delays in Georgia

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The Metro Atlanta area experienced a handful of setbacks on Election Day, causing voting delays in one of the key areas that’ll help decide the election.

Election Day got off to a rocky start in Georgia, particularly the Metro Atlanta area, after two incidents caused voting delays.

The first occurred early Election Day morning when all voting machines in Spalding County went down. Workers incorrectly loaded information onto the poll pads, which caused the glitch.

This is the first year Georgia has used these machines, which are touchscreen computers that connect to printers that create paper ballots. This makes it easier to check electronic results, giving voters an opportunity to check the paper ballot before putting them into the ballot scanners.

In the meantime, voters at some polling locations had to use paper ballots which were then stored in a box and taken elsewhere to be counted. Some questioned this process and worried that their votes wouldn’t be counted fairly.

Regardless of the setback, those on social media encouraged Spalding County voters to stay in line to make sure their votes were cast. Workers eventually got the machines working again, and voting hours in the county were extended from 7pm to 9pm.

Shortly after the machine debacle, a pipe burst in State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta in a room where ballots were being held. The burst occurred in Fulton County, Georgia’s most populated and one with a high African American population. State Farm Arena was also the state’s largest polling center.

Many questioned the timing of the burst, claiming that it was not a coincidence that it occurred at that place at that time. Some linked it to the demographics of that area, speculating that this was just another way to suppress the Black vote.

This isn’t the first time this has come up in the Southern state. Talks of voter suppression have been discussed during early voting, as well as during the 2018 gubernatorial race where Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams accused Republican candidate Brian Kemp of suppressing Black votes in order to win the election.

According to Politico, Metro Atlanta is one of the top ten areas in the nation that’ll help decide the presidency, specifically Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton and Dekalb counties, so ensuring the safety of their votes is especially crucial.

Fortunately, no ballots were damaged at State Farm Arena, but the burst and machine malfunctions in Spalding County have both delayed vote counting in Georgia. All votes have yet to be counted, and the race is currently neck and neck in Georgia, one of the battleground states of the election. Many are biting their nails as we all wait to see whether or not the country will get a new president.