COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Georgia Democrats filed a formal complaint about an incident with a Columbia County polling official.
"I never thought that going in to vote, that somebody would question me." That's how a Columbia County woman felt when she went to vote last week and a volunteer asked if she wanted a different ballot after she requested a Democratic one. "He hands me my license, I slide the form back over to him, he looks at it and says, 'Are you sure that's the ballot you want? Because I know there's only a couple of races on that one and there's more on the others,'" she says.
This voter remained firm in her decision and ultimately moved forward with her ballot. But after she left... she wondered how many other voters experienced the same actions. So, she contacted the state democratic party - which lead to a formal complaint. Columbia County officials say they spoke with the volunteer and he said he only wanted to help.
In talking with the poll worker, he didn't realize that he shouldn't have done that. He thought he was being helpful because for Columbia County, most of the races, local races at that are on a certain party ballot and not on the other one. This matter was taken to the Secretary of State office which resulted in a memo being sent to all 159 county directors and election offices to make sure volunteers are aware of what they can and cannot say.
Harold Jones, State Senator commented, "They'll look at it, and I think what they'll find is just that it was a misunderstanding and basically probably just tell the local board to be careful with this and make sure this is what's going on, but I don't see any constitutional violations." But he also says that volunteers could be receiving training in the future.
To prevent situations like this from happening again, voters in Columbia County will see signs on the wall so they know that assistance is available to them.
This voter spoke up because she wants to make sure when voters are going to the polls they are strong and not afraid to ask questions. She warns, "Speak up, especially if it's your first time voting, they are there to answer your questions."