NAACP alleges voting irregularity complaints received

Publisher’s note: Since this article appeared in the most recent print edition of The GRIP, three individuals have tendered letters of resignation from the Spalding County Elections Office and one was tendered by a member of the Spalding County Board of Elections. These resignations come amid a myriad of complaints against Spalding County Elections Supervisor Marcia Ridley. An article detailing these new developments will be posted online later today.

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Jewel Walker-Harps, who serves as president of the Griffin branch of the NAACP, is collecting and evaluating complaints about the recent election.

Walker-Harps reports she has received complaints from individuals who allege there were not treated appropriately during the voting process.

“People were unfairly treated,” she said. “We have had some concerns, we have had some unpleasant remarks made to older people and people who are not quite as able to take care of themselves as they should, and we’ve had some other irregularities that have come out.”

She said these complaints have not pertained to voting precincts throughout Griffin-Spalding County, but rather have been against employees of the Spalding County Office of Elections and Voter Registration.

“We have not had a lot come out of the field. Most of it has been through early voting time and dealing with the workers in the office,” Walker-Harps said.

However, she stressed she is not questioning the efficiency of those employees.
“I’m not questioning the efficiency of the people who actually work in the Voter Registrar’s Office who work under the voter registrar,” she said before alleging, “We’ve had some at early voting, we’ve had some complaints that have come through from people who have gone for early voting, and we’ve had some who have been unfairly treated who have gone in to request materials or whatever.”

Walker-Harps did say she believes the complaints she has received reflect isolated incidents.

“It’s not a systemic thing I don’t’ think. What I’m saying is that overall, I think that the poll workers are doing a good job and doing what they’re supposed to do, but you I do believe there are a few bad apples that we want to move out. There are a few bad apples we want to get out and things that we want to make sure don’t happen here,” she said. “If somebody goes in there to vote, no matter their age, no matter the economic status of a person, they should be treated politely and encouraged to vote. They should not be treated in a demeaning way. That’s what we want to make sure doesn’t happen. We don’t want anyone turned off either by something said or by an attitude.”

When asked how many complaints have been made to the Griffin Branch of the NAACP, Walker-Harps was unable to provide a count.

She said the she does not consider strictly verbal complaints, but when asked how many written complaints she has received, Walker-Harps stated, “I don’t know that either. I’ve got to collect them.”

She then explained, “I’m collecting reports and whenever I get everything compiled, I can give you more details,” she said.

When asked to clarify her process, Walker-Harps said, “I’m collecting data. How far I go with it will be determined by what comes in. If the statements can be verified and they merit further attention, I file a complaint with my state, and then whatever governmental entity would be warranted.”

She did confirm she has received no allegations anyone was denied the right to vote, and no reports of ballot irregularities have been made.

Walker-Harps did state the complaints she has received were not limited to the most recent election.

“All of the incidents have not happened during this period. We’ve had complaints come in during the last election, but I didn’t deem them of a status I was going to pursue,” she said. “I’m hoping this is not going to materialize into anything, but if it does, I want to nip in in the bud before it blooms. Even if there’s only one or two or three people that have been treated unfairly, then it’s a concern. It’s enough to ask that there be more training or discipline or whatever.”

Spalding County Election Supervisor Marcia Ridley says she has received no complaints regarding employees in her office.

“I did receive one in writing. One absentee ballot may have been sent to a wrong address in error, so what we did was send another one out and it did come back in. That ballot did come in,” Ridley said.

She said she has received much positive feedback.

“Spalding County ran a very transparent election. Everything went well with the election. I have gotten a lot of compliments from people saying the election went well, especially for my first one. That’s what I have gotten,” Ridley stated. “Typically, when there’s an election, sometimes the outcome isn’t always positive, so people may want to voice their opinion about the election.”

 

Advertisements

Comments

  1. Thomas Thurston says:

    Jewel Walker-Harps says a lot to say nothing. Doesn’t seem to have many specifics regarding the complaints. Might as well have thrown the Russians in while she was at it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: