Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the Spalding County legislative delegation - Sen. Marty Harbin, Rep. David Knight, and Rep. Karen Mathiak – are calling for the resignation or termination of Spalding County Elections Supervisor Marcia Ridley following serious management issues and poor decision-making during the November 3 general election.
"County elections officials are responsible for ensuring the voting process is smooth and efficient and must take responsibility when they fail," said Secretary Raffensperger. "Georgians statewide waited on average just 3 minutes on Election Day but poor decision making in Spalding County denied those voters a quick and reliable voting experience. The serious management issues we saw in Spalding County on Election Day demonstrate that new leadership is needed to uphold election integrity there."
Georgia's November elections saw record turnout, record absentee ballot requests and ballots cast, and record early, in-person voting. On Election Day, voters cast their ballots in just 3 minutes statewide on average.
In Spalding County, however, voters faced mismanagement and poor decision-making that put the integrity of their vote at risk. Spalding County faced issues early in the morning getting their voting systems up and running on Election Day. If voting machines are not operating normally, county elections superintendents have been trained to use a number of workarounds to allow voters to cast ballots using the Ballot Marking Devices like all other voters. Additionally, if that is impossible, which was not the case in Spalding County, Georgia law instructs county elections superintendents to conduct voting in those locations on emergency ballots, which are scanned immediately like other ballots cast in person on Election Day.
In Spalding County, none of that was done. Instead of using one of the many workarounds built into the system or using emergency ballots as required by law when the equipment is not working, Spalding County Elections Supervisor Marcia Ridley instructed elections workers to use provisional ballots, which are processed differently than regular ballots. This violated the established election process and possibly, Georgia law.
Additionally, when asked about the issues faced in Spalding County on Election Day, Ridley claimed an "update" made to the voting system on the night before Election Day caused problems with the machines. No such update had been made nor had the voting machines been touched for days before the election.
By spreading this baseless and thoroughly inaccurate rumor, Ridley greatly harmed election integrity in Georgia and provided talking points for those looking to undermine elections in the Peach State.
Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the "gold standard"), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record overall, early, in-person, and absentee-by-mail turnout during the November 2020 elections.