Allison M. Slocum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2020
DeKalb County Commission Members Seek Immediate Action to End Long Voter Wait Times in South and East DeKalb
Alarming disparities between east and south DeKalb vs. north DeKalb
DECATUR, GA – As America faces a critical election with record-breaking voter turnout, DeKalb County Commissioners Mereda Davis Johnson, Larry Johnson, and Lorraine Cochran-Johnson have asked for the immediate correction of actions resulting in disparate voting experiences for residents in south and east DeKalb County.
Tomorrow, Oct. 16, at 9:30 a.m., a special called Operations Meeting has been scheduled to discuss these issues along with other relevant voting issues to ensure the best possible outcome for DeKalb residents.
It has been noted by voters that many south and east DeKalb precincts have experienced four- to five-hour wait times, while north DeKalb voters are able to vote within one hour. As a result of the voting irregularities experienced in DeKalb, the three commissioners have written Erica Hamilton, director of Voter Registration and Elections for DeKalb County, and Samuel Tillman, chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections, for answers and remediation.
As early voting continues, it is reasonable to expect a continuation of record voter turnout, including an increase in voter participation during the last week of early voting.
“With swift action we have the ability to correct the issues we are experiencing in South and East DeKalb,” said Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson. “I am concerned the unacceptable wait times in many polling locations will cause voters to leave and not vote at all.”
Voting precincts at the former Sam’s Club building in Stonecrest as well as Berean Christian Church have reported lines of three- to five-hours and The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall has reported wait times of two- to three-hours. In contrast, Linwood Recreation Center in Brookhaven and Core4 Atlanta in Chamblee have reported little to no wait times despite having approximately the same number of voters.
“As duly elected officials, we understand the unabridged ability to vote is a sacred responsibility to which each American has a right,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson. “We must do everything within our power to ensure every citizen has a right to participate in the democratic process as a voter.”
The commissioners acknowledge that during the past three days the slowdown of the Secretary of State’s ElectioNet suite has caused a bottleneck at check-in stations, which has resulted in delays regarding the voting process. However, this slowdown does not explain why voters at early voter locations in south and east DeKalb have longer wait times than voters in North DeKalb.
“As the demographics of south and east DeKalb show the highest concentration of African-American voters, we are disturbed by the voting irregularity pattern,” said Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson. “Since the ElectioNet slowdown is a statewide issue, all sites should have been affected equally.”
To schedule an interview with Commissioners Mereda Davis Johnson, Larry Johnson, or Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, e-mail email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively or call 470-889-4213.