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Albany voter speaks out about technical issues during Tuesday election

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 7:32 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An Albany voter is speaking out about technical issues he experienced at the polls on Tuesday.

These issues were at Greenbriar Church on Gillionville Road.

Ward Summerell was one of the first voters at the precinct.

“We got in, got our electronic ballot, the machines did not work. I kind of figured they were having some technical problems. We were the first people so we were understanding at that point,” said Summerell.

Ward Summerell was one of the first voters at the precinct.
Ward Summerell was one of the first voters at the precinct.(WALB)

Summerell said once the electronic ballot didn’t work, he and a few other voters got an emergency ballot. They filled it out, went to put it into the scanner and the machine wouldn’t take it.

Poll workers were then told to put the ballots in the back of the scanner. Summerell said they thought it would be a separate scanner, instead it was more like a bin.

“They broke the seal, and I was the first to drop the ballot in. I looked at it like it didn’t really look right, but I dropped my ballot in and the fella told me that was it,” said Summerell.

At this point, the electronic voting machines were running again, so he removed his emergency ballot and asked to vote electronically. After a few more issues and 30 minutes later, he was able to vote.

Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said all of this was protocol in the...
Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said all of this was protocol in the event electronic machines stop working. She said there could have been more communication.(WALB)

Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said all of this was protocol in the event electronic machines stop working. She said there could have been more communication.

“They should have been informed that at 7 o’clock when the polls are closed, the manager will announce, ‘it’s 7 p.m., the polls are closed now, we will commence to scanning our emergency ballots.’ The ballot would’ve been retrieved and scanned, the voter could’ve been present. That’s what the communication could’ve been,” said Nickerson.

Nickerson said to make sure the bin is secure, the scanner is never left unattended. Poll workers learn that through training.

“This is mandated by the secretary of state’s office before every election, so each individual is trained on the equipment they’re responsible for on Election Day,” said Nickerson.

Ward Summerell said once the electronic ballot didn’t work, he and a few other voters got an...
Ward Summerell said once the electronic ballot didn’t work, he and a few other voters got an emergency ballot. They filled it out, went to put it into the scanner and the machine wouldn’t take it.(Ward Summerell)

Summerell said if emergency ballots are used, he thinks there should be more security around it.

“There should be a slot in that machine and it should stay sealed. A slot where you can drop the ballot in, but that wasn’t the case,” said Summerell.

Both Nickerson and Summerell agree there needs to be transparency so people can trust the election process.

“We just want to make sure that our voters trust the system and still participate in the process because turnout was low, and we don’t want this to discourage someone from coming out to vote,” said Nickerson.

Out of the 25,017 people that could vote on Tuesday, 4,067 people voted.

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