But they’re asking voters to tell a pollworker if they think there’s a problem — before the vote is cast.
“The Express poll (machines) contain all the ballots, so we can make the correct one right there,” Elections Supervisor Evon Billups said. “But once they cast that ballot, it’s over.”
Elections Board Chairman Pete McDonald said staffers pored over the district maps last week and made a list of addresses that could be in question. A ballot request by voters in those areas will trigger a double-check.
“It’s a small, very small, number of people who could be affected by this,” McDonald said.
The errors occurred only along the borders of the state House district lines, which were redrawn by the Georgia General Assembly after the 2010 census data was released.
McDonald said local officials were given maps to use in shifting voters around, but the format was unwieldy and the manual reassignment process was slow.
A review last week turned up nine houses on Irwin Court that were listed in the 13th district instead of the 12th. Two other trouble spots: Highlander Trail, also on the cusp of the 13th district, and a part of Old Dalton Road that’s split down the middle between the 13th and 14th districts.
“It’s our mistake, but there’s got to be a better way to do this,” McDonald said. “After the election, we want to get with our legislators to find out. Each county office should not have to go through the map, person by person, to make changes.”
Merle King, executive director of the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, said the ballots are correct. The room for error is in how local registrars assign a ballot to a voter.
“The problem is that it’s not all automated,” he said. “If you register to vote or move, some human set of eyes has to put you in a district.”
King, McDonald and Billups all said that voters have a responsibility to ensure they get the right ballot combination of federal, state and local races, but agreed that’s not always easy to know after a redistricting.
Local voters who received the wrong ballots also received precinct cards containing the same incorrect information. The My Voter Page maintained by the Georgia secretary of state’s office also uses information from voter registration files.
McDonald said the only way to know for sure is to look at the map, which is why safeguards are needed to prevent errors from a slip of a keystroke.
“We only have 47,000 voters, and only a small proportion whose districts changed. I’m sure we’re not the only county having problems,” he said.
More than 8,000 early votes cast
Early voting for the Nov. 6 election continues through Friday at the Floyd County Administration Building and the Rome Civic Center (map).
Elections Supervisor Evon Billups said 542 people voted at the county building at 12 E. Fourth Ave. on Monday and 855 cast ballots at the Civic Center on Jackson Hill.
Another 606 took advantage of the only weekend option this past Saturday, bringing the total of early voters to 8,263. Elections Board Chairman Pete McDonald said that’s an encouraging trend.
“We have four days left to go, so we could have 11,000 or 12,000 early voters,” he said. “Double that on Election Day, and that’s 36,000 out of about 47,000 eligible voters.”
He and Billups said a turnout of 70 percent or higher is possible. The voter turnout rate was 73 percent for the historic 2008 election that put Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, in the White House.
All voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.