Ebonee Barrett said she and her husband faced significant hurdles during early voting, including being turned away several times by poll workers who took their phone number but never called or texted to tell them to come back.
“My concern is that there were people behind us who did not get to vote that day,” she said. “Voting is an essential right and everyone deserves to vote and it should not take over eight hours to do so.”
Several other speakers said the lines in South Cobb on Election Day were significantly longer than in other areas of the county.
Eveler said the formula used to determine how many resources are sent to each voting location is the same throughout Cobb, but there’s no way for them to know which areas will see the most attrition of poll workers. Cobb, like other jurisdictions, had trouble hiring experienced poll workers, many of whom were afraid to work the election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eveler said the county saw voter turnout of 36 percent, including a record number of absentee ballots that were mailed in or dropped off.
Some board members took umbrage at some speakers’ suggestion the county had engaged in deliberate voter suppression.
“It’s offensive to all the people who are serving,” said board member Neera Bahl. “There’s no bias.”
But board member Jessica Brooks said the board should acknowledge that “a lot went wrong” both at a state level and locally.
“Whether we call it voter suppression or not, it is voter suppression,” she said. “It suppresses the vote, whether it is intentional or unintentional.”