Georgia primary beset by chaos, long lines
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Georgia primary beset by chaos, long lines

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

See | The New African Living Standard

Above, a snarky bumper sticker highlights 2020 era election sentiments. CC By 2.0 license.

The Georgia primary, which was delayed by COVID-19 pandemic, was described by Politico as a “hot, flaming mess.” It was labored with chaos and long lines. Some voters in Georgia stood in line for hours. 

 Likewise, there were issues with the new voting machines used in Georgia. Politico stated that officials traded a heated exchange of blame sharing over the issues with the machines. Polls opened early on Tuesday. All districts in Georgia, bust especially the Atlanta area, reported problems with the new machines. Politico stated that the voting problems were a trouble sign for this swing state, triggering fears that there would be problems on Election Day itself. On Election Day in November, there is a higher turnout expected. 

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Politico interviewed Kristin Clarke, the executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Clarked voice concerned that disillusionment with the machines would reflect poorly on the Election Day turnout. 

“We’ve received reports about long lines, polling sites that have opened late and broken machines. What’s disturbing is that these problems appear widespread, and not isolated. It has been most disturbing to hear about voters who have given up. Voters who were not able to withstand the long wait times, voters who had one shot this morning,”said Clarke, as she was quoted by Politico. 

Politico also spoke with Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project, via text. 

“It’s a hot, flaming, f—ing mess,”said Ufot, as they were quoted by Politico. 

KUSI News also corroborated Politico’s account of the chaotic voting lines. Photos from KUSI News show lines of people stretching out onto gravel parking lots. Some have even approached the polls on bicycles, standing in the Georgia heat with a look of consternation shared collectively across the sea of faces. A few isolated people still wear COVID-19 protective masks, mindful if only vaguely of the looming coronavirus. The photo was shared to the KUSI News network from the Associated Press. KUSI, reporting via the Associated Press wire services, stated that some voters waited in line as long as five hours. 

The Associated Press spoke with young African American voters, who make up the predominant residency of the greater Atlanta area locations the AP interviewed. The African American community fell further left behind in the conversation of modern American politics by these lines. This is coming from a community that already feels ostracized and threatened after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. African Americans in Georgia feel that the government failed their community with its response to civil rights protests and ensuing riots. They felt they were failed further by the ridiculous delays of the voting machines. 

It has not been clearly stated on the record what the Georgia election committee has done to reach out specifically to other ethnic groups among the voting community during these difficult delays. It was also not stated on any apparent record what the election committee would do to accommodate the local Native Americans of Georgia with special regards to  the Fulton County area. Native Americans communities strongly populate areas of Sandtown, Union City, and the Cherokee National Forest area. Sandtown is within 20 minutes of Atlanta. Likewise, Union City is in the South Atlanta area and is the home of the Cherokee Hill Tribe. 

Late last year, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma sought a House delegate seat that they were promised now 185 years ago, as was reported by Roll Call. The House delegate seat was promised to the Cherokee in an 1835 treaty during the Andrew Jackson presidency. The treaty was called the Treaty of New Echota. The Cherokee Nation has appointed Kimberly Tehee as this delegate as of late 2019. Teehee was awaiting Congressional approval as the delegate in February, as was reported by the Sequoyah County Times. She is likely to petition the federal government in regards to all Cherokee federal-to-local voting rights, and affairs such as self-governance, and this would likely include the issues of the Cherokee tribes in Georgia. Teehee stated that she was most interested in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, but that she believed in supporting other indigenous countries as well via her delegation in an interview with C-Span. 

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While not stated directly, the Native American tribes were reported by Indianz.com to have had several recent negative encounters with U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump reportedly threatened Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe sovereignty over COVID-19 issues. The Native American community also filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over CARES act funds, and failing to receive their applications. These facts are likely to sway Indigenous votes, for those who choose to vote in federal elections, decidedly away from Trump. This would likely have impacted the choices of the Indigneous community in the greater Atlanta primary as well. 

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