Atlanta (AP) – Thousands of people waited for hours to hear their voices on the first day of direct voting in Georgia.
Interested voters waited six hours or more in Cope County, which was once Republican, but voted for Democrats in recent elections, and merged around Democratic Decolph County polling stations. They also turned out in large numbers in Floyd County, northern Georgia, a denial of President Donald Trump’s supporters.
With fears about record voting for this year’s presidential election and exposure to the corona virus, election officials and prosecuting groups are encouraging people to vote early, either in person or by ballot.
Many answered the call on Monday, showing the number that had passed some places.
“We prepared as much as we could, but there was more space in the rooms and only parking in the parking lot. We make more use of both of those,” said John Ewler, director of Cope County Elections and Registration. Said.
Hundreds of people slowly moved back and forth outside Cobb’s main election office in a suburb northwest of Atlanta. At 1pm some people said they were waiting for six hours but good mood seemed to prevail. A brief excitement increased when a pizza giver handed a bag to someone in line.
At least two districts had brief problems with the electronic ballot books used to verify voters. The issue of being suspended for a while on the state farm arena where the Atlanta Hawks NBA team plays. On-site technicians solved the problem and the lines were quickly erased with 300 voting machines in the arena, Georgia’s largest early voting platform.
“We’re disappointed that it happened,” Hawks CEO Steve Coon told reporters, but he noted that there are still plenty of days. Voting in Georgia until Oct. 30
Problems in the electronic ballot books – along with high turnout, polling station coordination and a shortage of polling workers – reduced Georgia’s primary capacity in June. Dysfunctional questions about Georgia’s ability to hold fair elections were renewed, and two years later, the government meticulously scrutinized the Cubernatorial election, which saw long waits and other problems.
Although voters are required to cast their ballots at the polling station allotted to them on election day, they can cast their ballots at any polling station in their district during the initial voting. Some lined up early Monday morning as the first to cast their ballots. Voting may also have increased since Monday was a federal holiday, so not many people are at work.
Natalie Rawlings, 49, was ready to vote without appearing, but did not trust the postal service, so she returned to the polling station with a blank ballot for the workers before voting in person on Monday.
She first went to a library in Atlanta, but there was no parking and no long line, so she went to the State Farm arena where the line did not move for 45 minutes. A few people left after someone announced that there was a “known software problem”. But most stayed. Eventually, it took her about an hour and a half to vote.
“I’m out. This is a good day. They give water. There are bad things. Everyone is socially distant in the right way, ”Rawlings said.
Rawlings, a Democrat, was motivated by the “rudeness” of President Donald Trump’s language and his lack of respect for other branches of government and world leaders: “It must end.”
Election officials announced long lines in Floyd County, which also had trouble with electronic ballot books. It initially slowed things down at two county open polling stations, but it was resolved within an hour, said Robert Brady, the county’s chief election secretary.
“Usually in Floyd County, you have a line that lasts five minutes. Today it is up to 30 minutes, ”Brady said. “It’s the biggest – and I’m the biggest – talking about voting.”
In Magnum, when Seth Clark arrived at the main election office at 9:30 a.m. Monday to cast his ballot, he saw a U-shaped line wrapped around the parking lot. It took him three hours to vote.
“I didn’t see many of these people on the first day of early voting,” Clark said, winning the election for a non-partisan seat on the Magon-Pip County Commission this summer.
The long line was caused by corona virus precautions. People stood six feet apart and wore masks, Clark said. Some came with folding chairs and books.
“It seems to be going smoothly,” Clark said. “It’s a lot.”
As Georgia emerges as a potential battleground, the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns were rented out to the state on Monday.
Jill Biden, the wife of former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, plans to meet with military and senior families with key state Democrats in Decolph County before heading to Columbus.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. rallied Republican voters in Kennaso off the coast of Savannah and outside Atlanta.
Associated Press contributors include Brian Anderson and Ben Nadler in Atlanta, Ron Harris in Marietta and Russ Pine in Savannah.