FILE - In this March 10, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the press at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Biden is expected to give his first public comments on a sexual assault allegation that has roiled his presidential campaign.
Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Biden’s campaign says Georgia voting problems are ‘completely unacceptable’

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign called the hourslong lines and malfunctioning voting machines in Georgia a “completely unacceptable” breakdown, and called on state officials to take immediate steps to fix the problems. 

The presumptive Democratic nominee’s top voter protection official, Rachana Desai Martin, said the campaign will be “fully engaged” in defending the right of Georgians to safely exercise their power to vote in November.

"Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Martin. “What we see in Georgia today, from significant issues with voting machines to breakdowns in the delivery of ballots to voters who requested to vote absentee, are a threat to those values, and are completely unacceptable.”

The problems at Georgia’s polls started before voting opened Tuesday, as dozens of voting machines malfunctioned or weren’t delivered in time. 

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>>PHOTOS: Georgia voters struggle with long lines, new equipment

Many of those sites were more crowded, and less staffed, than typical after counties closed precincts and hired fewer staffers because of the pandemic. 

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pinned the blame on local officials in DeKalb and Fulton counties, and said he would launch an investigation into the primary process. 

State Democrats, as well as several metro Atlanta leaders, said the state was ill-prepared to conduct an election postponed by the pandemic. 

Republicans are increasingly concerned about keeping Georgia in the GOP column in November, as Democrats vow to flip the two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs. No Democratic presidential contender has won Georgia since 1992, and President Donald Trump carried the state by a 5-point margin in 2016.

Biden’s campaign hopes to flip the script in November by energizing the state’s African-American base of Democrats as well as winning over suburban women who helped the party score a sweep of legislative victories in the midterm. 

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He’s also said to be considering two Georgia Democrats as potential running-mates that could mobilize more voters: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams, the party’s 2018 gubernatorial nominee and a voting rights advocate.

“We only have a few months left until voters around the nation head to the polls again, and efforts should begin immediately to ensure that every Georgian -- and every American -- is able to safely exercise their right to vote,” Martin said. “Our campaign will remain fully engaged in defending that right."

Read Martin's full statement: 
"Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. What we see in Georgia today, from significant issues with voting machines to breakdowns in the delivery of ballots to voters who requested to vote absentee, are a threat to those values, and are completely unacceptable. We only have a few months left until voters around the nation head to the polls again, and efforts should begin immediately to ensure that every Georgian -- and every American -- is able to safely exercise their right to vote. Our campaign will remain fully engaged in defending that right."

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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