ATLANTA (AP) – While Georgia had a chance to cast a ballot on the first day of early voting on Monday, thousands waited for hours to make their voices heard.
Keen voters waited six hours or more in Cobb County, which was once a solid Republican, but have voted for Democrats in recent elections, and have joined the lines of polling sites in solid Democratic DeKalb County Are wrapped around. They came out in large numbers in Floyd County, northern Georgia, a repurchase from President Donald Trump’s supporters.
With record turnout expected for this year’s presidential election and apprehensions about exposure to coronoviruses, election officials and advocacy groups are encouraging people to vote early, either in person or by absentee voting.
Several people answered the call on Monday, showing up in some places.
“We did as much as we could prepare, but there is only so much room in the rooms and there is parking in the parking lot. We are maximizing both of them, ”said Cobb County Elections and Registration Director Jenne Avellar. “People are double parking, we’ve gridlocked a lot in our parking,” she said.
Hundreds of people slowly moved along a line that sank back and forth outside Cobb’s chief election office in a suburban area northwest of Atlanta. Good mood was maintained even though some people said at 1 in the afternoon that they were waiting for six hours. A pizza giver handed a pie to someone on the line.
In at least two counties, there was a brief problem regarding the electronic pollooks used for screening voters. Issue ground voting for a short stay at the State Farm Arena, where the Atlanta Hawks play NBA teams. On-site technicians resolved the problem and lines were soon cleared in the arena, Georgia’s largest early voting site, with 300 voting machines.
“We are disappointed that this happened,” Hawks CEO Steve Coonin told reporters, but said there were still many days to go. Pre-person voting takes place in Georgia on October 30.
Problems with electronic pollooks – coupled with high turnout, solidarity of polling places and lack of polling staff – at Georgia’s primary base in June. Questions asked about Georgia’s ability to hold fair elections in the state raised fresh questions when the state saw long waits and other problems.
While voters must vote at their scheduled polling place on election day, they can vote at any polling place in their county during early voting. Some stood in line before dawn on Monday that they were among the first to vote. Turnout may also have increased because Monday is a federal holiday, so more people are away from work.
49-year-old Natalie Rawlings was preparing to vote absentee, but the Postal Service was not trusted, so she switched polling personnel to empty absentee voting before voting on Monday.
She first went to a library in Atlanta, but did not have parking and a long line, so she moved to the State Farm Arena, where the line did not run for 45 minutes. A handful of people announced after leaving that there was a “known software problem” through which they were expected to work. But most stayed. In the end, it took him about an hour and a half to vote.
“I’m out. It’s a good day. They are giving water. There are spoilers. The Rawlings said,” Everyone is socially justifiably upset. ”
Rowling of Democrat said she was inspired by President Donald Trump’s “cohesion” of language and lack of respect for other branches of government and world leaders: “This will be the end.”
Election officials also reported long lines in Floyd County, which also had problems with electronic pollooks. Things initially slowed down at the county’s two open polling places, but the county’s chief election clerk Robert Brady said it resolved within about an hour.
“Usually in Floyd County, you have a line that lasts for five minutes. Today is taking up to 30 minutes, ”said Brady. “It’s because of Vishal – and I’m talking about Vishal – voting.”
In Mequon, Seth Clarke arrived to vote at the Chief Election Office at around 9:30 am Monday and wrapped a U-shaped line around the parking lot. It took him three hours to vote.
“I haven’t seen many people on the first day of early voting,” said Clarke, who won an election on a nonpartisan seat on the Macon-Bibb County Commission that summer.
The long line was due to coronovirus precautions. People stood around six feet away wearing masks, Clarke said. Some were brought in with folding chairs and books.
“It seems to be happening easily,” Clarke said. “It’s just a lot.”
Both the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns sent the state to the surrogate on Monday, with Georgia emerging as a potential battleground.
Jill Biden, wife of former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, planned to appear with prominent state Democrats in DeKalb County before traveling to Columbus to meet with military and elderly families.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. had scheduled Republican voters to rally in Savannah near the coast and Kenessa just outside Atlanta.
Associated Press contributors include Brian Anderson and Ben Nadler in Atlanta, Ron Harris in Meritta and Rice Barnum in Savannah.