Voter registrar Donna Patterson blamed technical difficulties and an unprecedented number of curbside voters for long lines at polling places and the delay in reporting election results on Nov. 6. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Patterson said she will evaluate each precinct to see what can be improved. “Having people wait three hours isn’t anything I’d like to see with an election,” she said.
On election day, some Beach voters reported waiting in line for four hours to cast their ballots. Precinct results weren’t available until almost 10 p.m., which was close to three hours after polls closed.
Mayor Will Sessoms asked Patterson and the Electoral Board to attend the meeting. Council members gave examples of problems they’d seen and heard about but refrained from grilling Patterson. Sessoms did ask Patterson to report back to the council after her precinct evaluation.
Council members gave Patterson examples of residents who had difficulty voting. Councilman Bill DeSteph talked about a claustrophobic voter who had to leave a polling place after being stuck in line in a narrow hallway.
Councilman Jim Wood was concerned that at some polling places, it seemed that people were forced to wait outdoors to check in, and he expressed dismay at not having precinct results hours after polls closed.