Early voting started on Wednesday, but it wasn’t without issues in Shelby County. Complaints started coming in shortly after polls opened around 11 a.m.
“We had some that had connectivity issues, but they leave it into the correct procedure for that’s word of thing,” said Election Administrator Linda Phillips. “They issued paper, old school ballot apps all the polling places open on time. We had some that had connectivity issues, but they leave into the correct procedure for that’s would’ve thing. They issued paper, old school ballot applications and everybody voted on machine.”
Officials and voters alike said the issue was with the Internet. Because of a connection issue, polling workers had trouble checking people in electronically. This resulted in long lines. Some voters said they had to wait in line for over an hour. It’s estimated 10 polling locations were impacted by connection issues.
“Machines were down,” said one voter.
“There is difficulty with some voters not being in the system,” said another voter.
“It’s a mess all over,” another voter said. “People are leaving at Greater Lewis and paper ballots are being handed out at Mississippi Blvd.”
Despite the issues the election officials say no one was turned away.
“This is unfortunately just part of the process when poll workers are the ones setting up,” said Phillips. “We just ask the people be patient. People who are running our polls are our friends and neighbors and we can’t do it without them, but this isn’t their full- time job. They only do it a couple of times a year and sometimes they get a little rusty between times.”
But Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman Corey said any hiccup is problem and could potentially dissuade someone from voting.
“Every time someone feels like there’s an impediment, whether it’s a line, or a technology issue or registration issue that fractures people’s confidence in the process,” he said. “We need to do better.”