When I was young, I had a friend named Luck. He was called Luck because he did a bunch of rotten shit and never got caught. Once he stole a 30-gallon fish tank from the pet store in Prince Georges Plaza by walking into the store and walking out with it. He didn’t try to hide it. He didn’t play it off like he was looking at something else—he just walked right in and wrapped both his arms around the big-ass box and walked right out of the front of the store.
We were waiting outside for him and couldn’t believe it when he walked out holding this big-ass fish tank. When I asked him later about stealing the fish tank (which he sold to an older dude in our neighborhood as fighting fish was big between the drug dealers back then), he told me that when you steal something big, it’s better to walk in like you’re supposed to be taking it out of the store. “Plus” he added, “Where the fuck am I going to hide a fucking fish tank?”
Tuesday is Georgia’s primary election day and that means that Georgia is up to its old tricks again—meaning Gov. Brian Kemp is still in charge of things and for some reason, he just can’t seem to figure out how to make it easy for people in his state to vote.
Voting began early in the morning and it didn’t take long to hear reports of long lines, delays, broken voting machines and inexperienced election workers. Not to mention that all of this is going on during a global pandemic, which just so happens to disproportionately affect African Americans at a higher rate.
The “presidential preference primary, general primary, nonpartisan general election and a special election,” are all on Tuesday’s ballot. “Democrats are looking to defeat two Republican senators in 2020 in a state where a Democratic senator has not been elected in 20 years,” CNN reports.
Machines were reported down at multiple locations by voters, including at First Baptist Church in downtown Powder Springs in Cobb County. Voter Monica Hickman told CNN she was in line starting at about 6:45 a.m. and was finally able to vote about two hours later due to 10 machines being down.
“It was after 7:30 when we went inside the voting area only to be told the machines were down. We had to use provisional ballots. I filled it out and left it there,” Hickman said. “When it’s time to vote, everything should work properly because we’re living in critical times and this is one of the ways our voices can be heard.”
Dan Upshaw was in line to vote at the Joseph McGhee Tennis Center in Atlanta starting at 8 a.m. because poll workers told him they only had one functioning voting machine.
“We were told Fulton County was on site working on them,” he told CNN. “Last official update was that there were three machines working, but voters are saying there are only two.”
When he spoke to CNN, he believed he had about 45 minutes longer to wait until he could vote.
“Some voters are leaving early,” he said.
Surely, this couldn’t be by design, could it? Does Gov. Brian Kemp have a history of suppressing the black vote? Well, sure he does. The Root’s senior writer Michael Harriot has written extensively about the games Kemp plays with votes.
Does any of this mean that Kemp has had a hand in today’s voting woes? Of course it doesn’t, but I find it a bit unsettling that Georgia can have one of the biggest airports in the country, lay claim to some of the biggest blaxploitation television the world has ever known and create some of the biggest asses that Spandex has ever seen and yet can’t get this little voting thing together.
“We have reports of poll workers not understanding set-up or how to operate voting equipment. While these are unfortunate, they are not issues of the equipment but a function of counties engaging in poor planning, limited training, and failures of leadership. Well over 2,000 precincts are functioning normally throughout the state of Georgia,” Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting implementation manager told CNN.
The whole thing just sounds like a clusterfuck—or as Robb Pitts, the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, told CNN, it could just be a perfect storm of catastrophic events.
“We had a problem where seven people who would normally work at the polls, six of them decided they didn’t want to work because of the virus, so we had to scramble at the last minute to find new workers,” he said.
He also suggested that “there’s a lot of technology involved now and a lot of our poll workers have typically been retired people and the technology can be a challenge sometimes.”
This is true. My mother, God bless her heart, still can’t log into her email without assistance.
It probably hasn’t helped matters that it’s super hot. Some areas are reporting temperatures as high as 90 degrees and standing in a long-ass line waiting to vote can be a bit much. Pitts also added that lines look longer because of social distancing, and voting time is a bit longer because of the number of people allowed in each room at a time, not to mention disinfecting the area after each use.
So why didn’t voters just ask for absentee ballots? Well, they did.
“There have been a significant number of complaints from voters in Fulton County who requested a ballot via email but still hadn’t received it the Sunday before the election,” CNN reports.
“A source in the secretary of state’s office conceded that some counties in the state are straining under the volume of absentee ballots that have been received so far. Fewer than 40,000 people typically vote by absentee ballot in Georgia, but already, the state has received more than 1.2 million absentee ballots, a primary participation record, Raffensperger has said. Of those ballots cast, 951,970 were mail-in ballots, according to numbers provided by his office.”
I’m sure all of this was just an accident. I mean this couldn’t be a preliminary round for an eventual dubious presidential election. That couldn’t be it, could it? I mean where the fuck is Brian Kemp supposed to hide a fish tank?