Originally created 09/18/02

Outraged at precinct negligence that denied him a vote

I was denied my chance to vote in the Sept. 10 Republican runoff for lieutenant governor and secretary of state through the incompetence of the polling staff at my local voting precinct on Roosevelt Drive.

When I arrived, there were three polling workers taking a break outside the building. When I entered, the person responsible for checking IDs was chatting on the phone. She glanced at my license and resumed her phone conversation.

There were no Republican sign-in sheets. There was not a Republican voting machine in plain sight. I was told by the poll worker with the voting rolls, "There is only Democratic/non-partisan voting done here." I left thinking that perhaps one of the candidates in both races had dropped out.

When I got home that evening and saw returns for both races. I called the board of elections and was told there should have been Republican voting materials there. I was also told they had received three Republican votes from that precinct.

Where was the poll manager? Where were the Republican voting materials? Why wasn't there anyone present who could provide assistance?

I know there was a low turnout. I know the poll workers are volunteers. However, there should be someone there all the time who knows what's going on.

I take my right to vote very seriously. I know people who have lost members of their family in the fight to secure voting and civil liberties. I also realize Republicans are a tiny minority in my precinct, but denial of a voting opportunity to even one is a threat to the rights of all.

I will try to vote again in November. I will be interested to see how this polling staff can handle the challenge of the new machines. If they cannot keep track of paper, I shudder to think what will happen when they deal with electronics.

Thomas William Godbee, Augusta