I want to share two pieces of my experience in Georgia as a poll watcher for the Democratic Party. First, it took a lot of back-and-forth between me, the Democratic Party and the county election board even to get my credentials accepted and to get a badge issued for me to be a poll watcher.
When I got to the site at 6 o’clock in the morning on Election Day I found a folding chair under a sign that said "poll watcher" in a location off to the side where I couldn’t see what was going on in anything. I spoke to the poll manager and she said that this is what they had always done. However, I was able to show her the Georgia statute that allowed me to go into the enclosed area where the booths are in order to observe every aspect of the election. After that, they graciously agreed that I was right and I had free reign of the voting areas.
I was able to observe the poll workers, the booths, the scanners that monitored and recorded the actual vote, and talk to voters after they left the voting area about any problems that they were encountering with identification or address mismatches that resulted in their being refused the vote. Over the course of the day, things got a lot more comfortable for me and all the folks working the polls and I came away appreciating the hard work of the poll workers and the managers and the dedication of Georgia voters to get in there and have their voices heard.
Having said that, here we are on Friday 11/5/20 and I am still investigating reports of absentee ballots that never got received and provisional ballots that seem to have disappeared from the count! I am not claiming any kind of shenanigans or simple errors - that will be determined later - but the point is, the beat goes on.
Thanks, Georgia, for letting me bend the moral arc of the universe with you as a poll watcher during this historic election.
Here are some images that representing the two sides of Georgia - a haunted past, and a hopeful future.
This is the ONLY ballot drop-off box for Coffee County, GA - population 46,000. Also, yes, my assigment was Coffee County!