Lawsuit filed to open a dozen Gwinnett precincts until 10 p.m.

June 9, 2020 Norcross - Gwinnett County residents including Phaedra McKenzie (right) cast their votes during the Georgia primary elections at Pinckneyville Community Center in Norcross on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. “There was no waiting line. It was smooth and easy.” McKenzie said. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
June 9, 2020 Norcross - Gwinnett County residents including Phaedra McKenzie (right) cast their votes during the Georgia primary elections at Pinckneyville Community Center in Norcross on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. “There was no waiting line. It was smooth and easy.” McKenzie said. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

An election protection group has asked a judge to require Gwinnett County to hold polls open until 10 p.m. at a dozen voting locations.

The group, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a demand letter than a number of locations opened today without all of their polling equipment.

Gwinnett has already agreed to keep two voting locations open past 7 p.m. after poll workers didn’t get voting equipment set up on time and the precincts did not open for voters to fill out emergency ballots at 7 a.m. Those locations are Beaver Ruin Baptist Church, which is open until 7:14 p.m., and Kanoheda Elementary School, open until 7:20 p.m.

Bubba Samuels, a lawyers volunteering with the Lawyers’ Committee, said no one from the county responded to the demand letter before the suit was filed. He said the group spoke to voters who arrived at the polls at 6:30 a.m. and had to leave more than an hour and a half later, having not yet cast their ballots. Polls opened at 7 a.m.

“It’s disappointing that after substantially the same issues in 2016, 2018, there’s not real explanation provided for why the machines weren’t there,” Samuels said.

The voting locations the group is asking for extended hours on are the Duluth City Hall; the Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology; New Mercies Christian Church; Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church; Lanier High School; Mountain Park United Methodist Church; Dacula Activity Building; Sycamore Elementary School; Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources; Grace Baptist Church; Central Baptist Church; and Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church.

Joe Sorenson, a Gwinnett County spokesperson, said earlier that in addition to the two locations where equipment wasn’t set up on time, 16 locations did not have all their election equipment by the time the polls were due to open. There, voters were able to use emergency ballots.

Rep. Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville, said the election was “a big mess.”

“I am stunned, I am stunned, stunned, stunned,” she said of the inability to have precincts ready when polls were supposed to open. “Did you even attempt to do this a little well?”

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