DeKalb County says it has fixed ballot issues as Early Voting gets underway

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 11:29 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Election officials in DeKalb County said ballot issues were resolved before Early Voting kicked off on Monday.

“When inevitable challenges arise, we go the extra mile to ensure that even if we have to do extra work, those votes will be counted, period,” said Dele Lowman Smith, Chair of DeKalb’s Board of Registration & Election.

Lowman Smith said roughly 4,700 DeKalb voters were impacted by a ballot that initially was not up-to-date with correct races on the heels of redistricting.

“There were some changes in the redistricting map after it was provided to our department and before the governor voted on the final map,” said Lowman Smith, in an interview with CBS46 News on Monday.

The issue was brought to election officials’ attention by Janel Green, a DeKalb County voter, on Saturday.

RELATED: Full guide to early voting in Georgia’s primary election

Green, who describes herself as a super voter, said she had been refreshing the elections page for weeks to see a preview of her ballot.

She’s been watching a County Commissioner’s race closely.

When that race was not listed on her ballot, she knew something was wrong.

“Clearly someone made a mistake. Yes, that’s a big mistake and it’s important, but the system worked, and the system was resolved,” said Green.

With just two days until the start of early voting, Green said she reached out to local politicians and election officials.

She realized that the newly-updated redistricting maps had not been updated to reflect a change in the precinct.

“I knew time was of the essence and that I had to push hard or this was going to snowball,” said Green.

DeKalb officials scrambled and were able to install special machines in all fourteen early voting sites to ensure all impacted voters could access the correct ballot.

Lowman Smith said roughly 99 voters who cast absentee ballots will receive updated ballots and will need to vote again.

Their initial ballots will be voided by election officials, according to Smith.

Lowman stressed that voters should have the utmost confidence in the election system as they were able to fix this issue ahead of early voting.

“I think our responsiveness on this issue and our transparency on the issue is why they should have confidence,” said Lowman Smith.

Green suggested that the Secretary of State’s Office could have eased this issue if it had posted the sample ballot online ahead of Saturday.

Lowman Smith said that her office, among other county election offices, is stressed by new voting requirements, outlined by recently-passed SB 202, along with a leadership change.

“I don’t believe there was any ill-intent there, but I do believe that the counties, broadly, felt some pressure,” said Lowman Smith.