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Georgia Election: 'Some Sneaky Trick'?

Republicans and Democrats duel over who to blame
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2020 4:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Democrats and black activists are saying Georgia's botched primary election was no mistake—it was by design, and someone needs to pay. "There's always some sneaky trick that's played," Democratic activist Bobby Fuse, 68, tells CNN. "This time, they had a whole bunch of sneaky tricks." Problems, no question: long lines, confused workers, defective voting machines, too few provisional ballots, and mail-in ballots that arrived late or not at all, forcing more people to line up. Now Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other as election experts say their worst fears came true about using new equipment amid the coronavirus. Among the reactions:

  • Not my fault: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said the voting "in certain precincts in Fulton and DeKalb counties is unacceptable" and his office has "opened an investigation," per NBC News. He also blamed county officials, saying "every other county faced these same issues and were significantly better prepared to respond so that voters had every opportunity to vote."

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  • 'Indifference': But ABC News reports that Stacey Abrams, the state's Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2018, says Raffensperger "showed a deliberate indifference to the needs of Georgia voters" and failed to "train people adequately" in using new machinery.
  • Just 2 counties? Guy Cecil, a liberal activist, adds that it wasn't just two counties. "There were 20 counties that had to extend their voting hours," he tells CBS Atlanta. He calls it "a systemic problem" that "either comes from an intentional desire to suppress the vote, or it comes from incompetence, or some awful combination of the two."
  • Clinton's tweet: With longer lines in black neighborhoods, some Democrats dismissed the notion of mere incompetence. "What happened in Georgia yesterday was by design," tweets Hillary Clinton. "Voter suppression is a threat to our democracy."
  • Perfect storm: But election experts have been warning for months that new voting machines and an electronic voter check-in system could screw up Georgia's primary election, the New York Times notes. Not to mention that experienced poll workers, who are often older, sat out the election to avoid the coronavirus.
  • Long story: Forbes touches on Georgia's "messy" history of voter disenfranchisement, including allegations that now-Gov. Brian Kemp won the 2018 election by nefarious means. "As a black person I was actually sad," Black Voters Matter co-founder La Tosha Brown tells the Times. "I was thinking to myself, 'How long do we have to be going through this?'"
  • 'Alarm bells': What does it mean for the November election? David Daley writes in the Guardian that "we are in deep, deep trouble and seemingly completely unprepared for this November's elections. The alarm bells keep ringing—first in Ohio and Wisconsin, then in Pennsylvania and now Georgia. Yet we hurtle heedlessly toward chaos."
  • 'Record turnout': But Jordan Fuchs, a top Georgia election official, tells ABC News the election was "successful" for having a "massive amount of turnout in the middle of a pandemic." Indeed, over a million voters cast absentee ballots, and Abrams tells the Times that "we have record turnout. People want to be heard."
(Read more election stories.)

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