Voting machines finally working at Fulton polling place; paper ballots used

Voting equipment wasn’t working at Morris Brandon Elementary in Buckhead, forcing voters to use emergency paper ballots instead. (J.D. Capelouto/AJC)
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Voting equipment wasn’t working at Morris Brandon Elementary in Buckhead, forcing voters to use emergency paper ballots instead. (J.D. Capelouto/AJC)

Credit: J.D. Capelouto

Credit: J.D. Capelouto

For the first time today, voting equipment was working at Morris Brandon Elementary’s Primary Center in Buckhead — where voters were forced to use emergency paper ballots instead of the state’s brand-new machines.

Ryan Barrows, a poll worker at the precinct, had said the scanners are locked and election workers couldn’t get into the machines.

When asked about the cause of the issue at 8:30 a.m., Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said: “We are working with the poll manager now to resolve the technical issue they are experiencing at that location."

ExploreFulton leaders: This time, we’re ready for Election Day

The county sent a technician to the precinct, located on Margaret Mitchell Drive. It’s unclear if there was a tech on-site at the time of the issue, but county officials had promised that there would be a technician at all 255 polling places.

Machines came online about 9 a.m.

Kayla Willis, 26, approached Morris Brandon around 8:30 a.m. and was told she would have to vote on an emergency ballot, or come back later in the day.

“I don’t have an option than to do this,” Willis said before heading inside.

Kayla Willis, 26, approached Morris Brandon around 8:30 a.m. and was told she would have to vote on an emergency ballot, or come back later in the day. (J.D. Capelouto/AJC)
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Kayla Willis, 26, approached Morris Brandon around 8:30 a.m. and was told she would have to vote on an emergency ballot, or come back later in the day. (J.D. Capelouto/AJC)

Credit: J.D. Capelouto

Credit: J.D. Capelouto

When she came out 10 minutes later, she described the experience as frustrating but said the staff were friendly and the process was quick.

“With all the suspense and everybody stressed about other things, the last thing you want to be stressed about is, OK, are our votes going to be counted? Especially in a state like Georgia,” she said.

Of the county’s nearly 800,000 registered voters, more than 57% of which have already voted.

ExploreHow votes are counted in Georgia on election night and beyond

Kirk and Kate Susong, who live nearby in the Margaret Mitchell neighborhood, arrived at Morris Brandon around 8:45 a.m. and were prepared for a scene similar to the June primary, when lines were wrapped around the building. They didn’t encounter any lines, but faced a different hurdle when poll workers told them the machines were down.

Rather than cast emergency paper ballots, the Susongs waited outside for about 15 minutes until the technical issues were fixed. The book and coffee they had brought in anticipation of a line came in handy.

“Always bring a book,” said Kirk Susong, 46.

Kate Susong, 43, said she felt more confident casting her vote using the electronic machines.

“After having done it for several years, this is now stored and recorded and it’s not going to get lost,” she said.

Click here for the latest on Election Day from our reporters and photographers spread throughout metro Atlanta.

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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Spalding County experiencing glitch bringing down voting machines county-wide

Credit: WSBTV Videos