Line at the Lindley Middle School voting site

Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Lindley Middle School in Mableton has been my voting site for well over a decade, and never have I had to stand in line, even during the 2016 election.

Lindley is a South Cobb voting site, and its precinct, Lindley01 (click here to view the map), covers the portion of Mableton roughly bordered by Veterans Memorial Highway on the south, Cooper Lake Road on the west, Pebblebrook and other roads on the north, and unincorporated Cobb at the Chattahoochee River, broken into pieces by Smyrna’s jagged quiltwork of annexations.

Usually I walk through the door, sit at the table immediately to the left of the door, and fill out the little card the poll worker distributes, walk to a table further into the building, a poll worker verifies my identity, I vote and I’m gone.

Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

This year I filled out an absentee ballot and dropped it off at the South Cobb Government Center over the weekend.

But since I saw so many photos on social media of long lines at precincts across metro Atlanta I decided to go to Lindley and see if there was a line.

And yes there was. The line extended from the doorway, past the length of the building.

I arrived at about 8 a.m., and I asked a few people who were about twenty people out from the doorway how long they’d been waiting. They said about an hour,

Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Below are the photos I took of the lines.

Here’s where this From the Editor column morphs into an opinion piece.

This is a totally unacceptable way of organizing an election, and it can only partly be attributed to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

The right to vote implies that people have the ability to vote conveniently, and not everyone can take hours off on a work day to stand in line.

I can’t claim to know the reforms needed to stop elections from becoming a national nightmare and embarrassment, but a first step would probably be a combination of more polling stations and continued access to mail-in, and possibly online voting.

Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
Line at Lindley Middle School voting site (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)
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2 Comments on "Line at the Lindley Middle School voting site"

  1. I’m curious, did you take it a step further and form an educated opinion and go ahead and go inside to “watch” and determine from observation from that vantage point WHY the line was so long? You could have. Covid-19 greatly impacted staffing but only slightly impacted “day of” if all things were functioning – maintaining the inside space at 25 was possibly an impact as I know we had to hold voters at our precinct to keep our occupancy & social distancing numbers.

    Had the poll equipment arrived on or before Monday for the “set-up” or was this a site that the equipment arrived at midnight or later in the early hours of Tuesday and the poll workers were scrambling to set up from 6-7 am and do all in 60 minutes what was scheduled to take at least 150-180 minutes (90-120 minutes on Monday) and didn’t get it done until 7:30 – or later – instead of 7:00?

    Was this site originally to be staffed by mostly senior citizens that despite the extra $50 in covid-19 poll worker pay did not show up so instead of ten staff, there were only four to six? Only one poll worker can check in one person at a time. If the site had six poll pads but only three workers, only half the expected capacity could be handled.

    The ballots were LONG and took four to five times as long to actually vote as it did to check in to get the voter chip card. We had three poll pads in operation, ten ballot marking devices and two scanners. Were all of the pieces of equipment working? And I mean, they ALL have to be working – the ipads AKA poll pads, the BMDs (the screens where you mark your ballot), the printers that print the ballot, and the scanners that you carry your ballot to for it to be “cast”.

    With this election, there were soooo many facets of what could have been the cause of the long line. Just posting this opinion from only the street view is sloppy. Yes, this primary election process was flawed in so many ways with each long line likely to a different or multiple set of reasons. People wanted paper ballots. They got paper ballots. I’m sure it cost the state a fortune as well as each County. I can promise you – if there are process professionals engaged in this activity – they better fix it before November because they didn’t get all of the many pieces to fall into place this time.

    • No, I didn’t make any more detailed observations than I posted in the article, and the additional information you provided was informative. The observation (and opinion at the end) I posted was a personal reflection based on Lindley being my long-time voting site. From talking to people later on I discovered that nearby South Cobb Community Center (Lion’s Club) had a worse situation. Evidently by 1 p.m. the lines at Lindley had subsided, but the Lion’s Club lines continued to be long into the afternoon.

      Thanks for you input. Wherever responsibility needs to be assigned these lines were limited to certain polling stations, and the problem needs to be addressed.

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