Allegations of election fraud on North Georgia voters’ minds as they cast ballots

Thousands turned out Monday at Dalton Regional Airport for a rally President Donald Trump held for Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
Caption
Thousands turned out Monday at Dalton Regional Airport for a rally President Donald Trump held for Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Republicans hoping for big turnout in GOP-friendly region

DALTON — Dina Poindexter said America’s elections have been compromised and that last year’s presidential election was “fishy.” Still, the carpet designer felt compelled to show up at Dug Gap Baptist Church here and cast her ballots for Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

“I’m really concerned about our country right now. I think the voter fraud and that type of stuff is very scary to me when our elections, I feel like, have been compromised,” Poindexter said about the Republican allegations of fraud in President Donald Trump’s reelection defeat. “At the end of the day, I still have to come and cast my vote. It is my right. If it is not fair, I can’t do anything about that.”

Republicans are counting on a big turnout of voters such as Poindexter in North Georgia, a GOP stronghold that has heavily supported Trump. Dalton is in Whitfield County, which Trump won with nearly 70% of the vote in November. With control of the U.S. Senate at stake, the president headlined a rally Monday in Dalton for Perdue and Loeffler.

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Election authorities have said there’s no evidence of widespread irregularities in Georgia and other battleground states. Meanwhile, courts at every level have dismissed challenges from Trump’s campaign and its allies seeking to overturn Georgia’s close election.

Democrats also turned out Tuesday in northwest Georgia to vote for Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and they said the November election was conducted fairly.

About 31% of Whitfield’s 55,000 registered voters cast their ballots early, said Mary Hammontree, the county’s registrar. Turnout in Whitfield, she said, was “steady” Tuesday.

“Not like piled up with long lines, but steady,” she said.

Hammontree has a ready answer when asked about accusations of presidential election fraud: “Not here in Whitfield.”

“Now I don’t know about anywhere else,” she said, “but I can tell you about Whitfield.”

John Davis, a retired firefighter from Dalton, showed up to cast his ballot for Perdue and Loeffler at the church just as Poindexter was leaving.

“I just wish to God that the politicians could work together. I am so darn tired of hearing this mudslinging,” he said. “We have left God out of everything. I think he is getting very tired of this, and I don’t know how much longer we are going to stay here on this earth.”

Davis said he believes some votes were “manipulated” in the presidential election.

“Whether there were enough manipulated to have changed the election, I don’t know. And I am not going to make a judgment on that,” he said. “But whatever it is, if Biden is seated, I hope to God he does the right things.”

Moments after Davis arrived, Susan Head showed up at the house of worship to vote for Perdue and Loeffler, saying “things need to change.” She is concerned about the allegations swirling around the November presidential election.

“It may not be for me to say that it was fraudulent. But you kind of worry about that,” said the health care worker, who added the coronavirus pandemic and the economy were on her mind as she voted.

In neighboring Gordon County, it took Joanna Elrod just a few minutes to cast her ballot for Perdue and Loeffler at the Calhoun Recreation Department. The CVS pharmacy worker encountered no lines at the polling site in Gordon, where Trump won 81% of the vote in November.

“I am very pro-life and very pro-gun and pro-family, so I will always vote for whoever I think the best candidate is,” said Elrod, a Trump supporter.

Asked about the election fraud allegations, she said: “I still feel like I need to do my responsibility and vote for who I feel like and who I feel like God wants me to vote for.”

Southwest of Calhoun, turnout was light in the afternoon at the Rome Civic Center. Chaka Johnson and her daughter Chakielle Dennis were in and out of the polling station quickly. Both cast their ballots for Warnock and Ossoff.

“No line. It was quick. It was easy,” said Johnson, a hotel manager who voted for Biden.

Biden, she and her daughter said, won the presidency fair and square.

“We really need change — change for the better,” Johnson said. “Peace, love happiness. And that is what it is all about.”