Early voting problems have cast a shadow over Tuesday’s election to choose the first leaders of Macon-Bibb County’s consolidated government.
During 17 days of the past three weeks, dozens of voters cast ballots in the wrong districts, forcing election officials to take extra steps to assure voting integrity and drawing the attention of state election investigators.
The number of people who voted in the wrong city-county commission races had swelled by Friday afternoon to 90, more than twice the number of miscast ballots previously acknowledged by the Board of Elections.
“I hope they put me in the right district,” said early voter Juanita Booker, who lives in District 3. “I’m worried the problems haven’t been corrected.”
The beleaguered local elections office has been under scrutiny since voting problems first surfaced in late August. During the final week of early voting, people stood in line for up to two hours as voting office workers checked each voter’s address against district maps.
The problems have some wondering whether election day on Tuesday will be smooth sailing or fraught with pitfalls. As the state continues its investigation, monitors will be sent to voting precincts across the area Tuesday to see if problems continue.
Rinda Wilson, chairwoman of the local elections board, said she thinks the problems have been solved.
“(Elections Supervisor) Jeanetta (Watson) told me that early voting is the best way to pick up on these problems,” she said. “I hope none of the races are close enough that it will matter. If it happens, we will do the right thing, whatever that entails. … I realize that even if the outcome is not affected, people are still upset, and I understand that.”