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Jesse Jackson: Issue at Fulton precinct is ‘classic voter suppression’

Update at 3:20 p.m.: Before additional machines were sent to alleviate the long lines at Pittman Park Recreation Center, the Rev. Jesse Jackson heard about the issue and rushed to the precinct to encourage people not to leave. In a statement posted to his Facebook page, the civil rights leader called the issue “a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote” Read the full statement here.

County spokeswoman April Majors confirmed Jackson was at the center Tuesday Monday.

“I’m sure he just wanted to encourage people to vote,” she said. More than 51,500 people had already cast ballots in Fulton County by noon, Majors said.

Jackson also encouraged students at Morehouse College to vote Tuesday, according to the institution’s Facebook page.

 

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Original story at 12:27 p.m.: Many Fulton County voters are encountering long lines on Election Day.

In some cases, the wait is to due to long ballots slowing people down. In other cases, it’s because there are technical or quantity issues with machines.  

The county experienced “heavy, steady turnout this morning all across the county,” Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron said during a press conference around 10:30 a.m. He expects anywhere from 140,000 to 190,000 voters on Tuesday.

One place with really long lines was Pittman Park Recreation Center, where too few — three — machines were sent. Barron said the mistake was a result of the wrong voter registration number being entered into the assignment; there should  be one machine for every 350 registered voters in that precinct. 

“I just want to tell the voters there that on behalf of me and my staff, we’re sorry for the mix-up,” Barron said. Five more machines were being sent out, and Barron said he hoped anyone who left because of the wait will return.

Another problem precinct was Helene S. Mills Senior Multipurpose Facility, where voters waited for hours. Four machines were down because of a power cord issue, but have since been fixed.

Helene S. Mills Senior Multipurpose Facility (BECCA GODWIN)

The polls close at 7 p.m., but anyone in line by then will be able to vote. The more people still in line at that time, the later results will be in. Hundreds of voters were in line at 7 p.m. Friday, the last day of early voting, Barron said.  

In recent years, the county has made efforts to report results earlier after errors and delays that led to vote tallies coming in after other metro Atlanta counties.

Barron encouraged everyone to go to their designated poll. Click here or call 404-612-7020 to find your poll location.

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