Concern After Chaotic Primaries In Georgia Amid Pandemic

The old dispute over the right to vote and the security of elections was on the table in Georgia on Tuesday. Chaotic primaries and cross-party accusations offered a troubling sneak peek at what’s to come in the November election, when contending states could register record turnout.

Many Democrats accused the Republican Secretary of State of the lines with hours of waiting, malfunctions in voting machines, temporary shortages of ballots and mail-in ballot forms that did not arrive in time for Tuesday’s election. The campaign by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden described it as “completely unacceptable.” Georgia Republicans, meanwhile, shifted responsibility to Democrat-controlled and heavily minority Atlanta metropolitan counties, while the president’s top reelection campaign attorney, Donald Trump, lamented “the chaos in Georgia”.

The conference raised fears of an ominous scenario in November: a decisive state that, like Florida with its dubious ballots in 2000, remains in dispute long after the polls close. Meanwhile, Trump, Biden and their supporters could make competing victory proclamations or question the legitimacy of the elections, increasing tension in an already rarefied environment.

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“I think right now as a country we are having trouble hearing people who really need to be heard,” said Ross Wakefield, a 28-year-old Atlanta-based white programmer who waited almost four hours to vote and watched others tire. to wait and leave. “This doesn’t give me much confidence that we’re doing that.”

At the Trump campaign headquarters, attorney Justin Clark attributed the problems to Georgia’s vote-by-mail bid amid the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the President’s baseless allegations that the vote-by-vote system mail encourages fraud.

“The American people want to know that the results of an election faithfully reflect the will of the voters,” Clark said. “The only way to make sure the American people trust the results is for the people who can, go and vote in person.”

Rachana Desai Martin, a prominent campaign attorney for Biden, described the scenes in Georgia as a “threat” to democracy. “We only have a few months left for voters across the country to return to the polls, and immediate efforts must be made to ensure that everyone in Georgia – and every American – can safely exercise their right to vote,” he said. .

Martin avoided naming culprits, but two Georgia Democrats on Biden’s potential running mate list pointed to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who led the selection of the new voting machine system and made a call to all voters. to ask for the vote by mail.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Raffensperger blamed counties for the incidents, noting that regional administrations are responsible for electoral management on the ground.

Voting rights groups such as Abrams’ Fair Fight Action said Georgia’s experience justifies their efforts to combat what they describe as a coordinated effort by the Republican Party to restrict access to the polls. Fair Fight, Priorities USA and American Bridge announced this week a “Surveillance Against Voter Suppression” alliance.

“Trump is already trying to extend his culture war by creating fear around voting by mail,” said Aneesa McMillan of the Priorities political action committee. He noted that the Republican National Committee plans to hire thousands of observers for the elections now that it is no longer under a court order banning that practice, which the Democrats dismissed as intimidating voters.

Cross-accusations between white Republicans and big-city black Democrats around voting issues are not new. And they could easily be repeated in November in undecided Democratic and minority states in the most populous cities and counties, such as Broward (Fort Lauderdale) in Florida, Wayne (Detroit) in Michigan, Charlotte in North Carolina, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania or Milwaukee , in Wisconsin.

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