CNN Senior Executive Producer
I've just found out what a provisional voter is - me.
When I went to vote at City Hall in Avondale Estates, Ga. (pop. 2,600), I was greeted by the same friendly faces I see election after election - the volunteers, mostly retirees, who make sure everything goes like clockwork. And it always does.
There were no long lines - quick in, quick out. But when my turn came, I was told I had already voted on Sept. 25 at one of Dekalb County's two or three early voting centers.
In fact, that was not the case. But that's what the records showed. My precinct guy called the county and they had it in black and white - somebody using my name apparently had cast a ballot in person under the early voting procedures in place in many parts of the country. Or my vote was somehow recorded by mistake.
I was given permission to fill out a provisional ballot which I don't think will be counted until two days after the official vote has been tabulated - and then only if it's been determined that I "meet Georgia Voter Registration eligibility requirements for this election." That's according to the "Dear Voter" card they gave me at the place I went to vote.
A place where everybody really does know my name, even those whose names I can never remember. That's because my wife serves as an elected official in Avondale Estates - city commissioner. Doesn't matter.
My biggest concern is how somebody was able to vote in person using my name, if that's what happened. Georgia just went through a major legislative hullabaloo to mandate picture IDs for in-person voting. I showed my driver's license. What did the phony Paul Varian show?
I mentioned my concern the county election person whose number I was given to call and she warned me not to jump to any conclusions. Just because somebody used my name to vote before I could doesn't mean my identity's been stolen. I hope she's right.
This is the second straight presidential election where I've been effectively disenfranchised.
Four years ago, I was given an out-of-town Election Day assignment on relatively short notice. It was already too late to vote by traditional absentee ballot and trying to cast my ballot via early voting proved fruitless on the first election in which that had been tried in Georgia. Both days I tried the wait was 3-4 hours minimum.
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