Voter suppression appears to be well underway during Georgia’s primary on Tuesday (June 9). In particular, Atlanta — a predominantly Black and Democratic stronghold — has untenably long lines at polling places.
The state’s election officials, who are Republican, are blaming new voting machines. Many are being forced to cast provisional ballots after hours of waiting.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms encouraged those waiting to vote to stay in line.
“If you are in line, PLEASE do not allow your vote to be suppressed,” she wrote. “PLEASE stay in line.”
According to the New York Times, Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said she had 84 text messages reporting voting problems within 10 minutes of the polls opening at 7 a.m. she also said that in some locations the voting machines did not work and in at least one other no machines ever arrived.
“It’s a hot mess,” Ms. Williams said. “How do you not have a voting machine?”
This isn’t the first time Georgia was at the center of voting controversy. Most recently, the 2018 governor’s race itself was a disaster during which Republican Brian Kemp defeated African American Democrat Stacey Abrams by 50,000 votes and was marred by accusations of voter suppression of mostly Black and Latinx people. Kemp, prior to becoming governor, was Georgia’s Secretary of State, the office in charge of overseeing the state’s board of elections.
Many on social media are once again calling out Georgia’s polling incompetence as intentional as Atlanta is one of the nation’s most Black-populated major cities. It also overwhelmingly voted for Abrams in 2018.