Voters in Georgia faced long lines of hours on Monday as people flocked to the polls for the first day of early voting in the state, which has developed a national reputation in recent years for voting matters .
Eager voters endured waits of six hours or more in Cobb County, which was once a strong Republican but voted Democrats in the recent election, and joined the lines that surrounded buildings in the strong Democratic county of DeKalb. They also traveled in large numbers to Floyd County in northern Georgia, where support for Donald Trump is strong.
At least two counties briefly encountered problems with the electronic ballot books used to register voters. The question interrupted the vote for some time at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Voters who voted at the basketball stadium, which was used as an early voting site, faced long waits to resolve the issue.
Adrienne Crowley, who waited over an hour to vote, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that nothing would get her out of line to vote. “I would have voted all day if I had to.”
Elsewhere in Atlanta, some voters said they waited more than 10 hours for a chance to vote early.
Voters began lining up outside polling stations in the hours before dawn, with some using their mobile phone flashlights to help other voters complete pre-registration forms, according to the Constitution of Atlanta Journal.
Janine Eveler, Cobb County Election and Registration Officer, said the county has prepared as much as it can, “but there is little room in the rooms and parking space. in the parking lot.
“We’re maximizing both of those things,” she says. “People have double parking, we practically have traffic jams in our parking lot,” she added.
Hundreds of people slowly moved along a line that snaked back and forth past Cobb’s main election office in a suburb northwest of Atlanta. Good humor seemed to prevail, although some people said at 1 p.m. that they had been waiting six hours. A brief cheer arose when a pizza delivery boy brought someone a pie online.
Steve Davidson, who is black, said the late US Congressman John Lewis and others fought too long and hard to get his place at the polls for him to tire and walk away.
“They have been fighting for decades. If I have to wait six or seven hours, it is my duty to do so. I will be happy to do it, ”Davidson said.
Georgia is the latest state to see extremely long lines on the first day of in-person voting. Election officials also saw unprecedented voter turnout on the first day of in-person advance voting in states like Virginia and Ohio.
With a record turnout expected for this year’s presidential election and fears over exposure to the coronavirus, election officials and advocacy groups have encouraged people to vote early, in person or by absent ballot.
Nationally, more than 9.4 million people have already voted, an unprecedented number, according to data collected by Michael McDonald, professor of political science at the University of Florida.
Democrats are trying to grab a seat in the U.S. Senate in Georgia in a race, where Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff challenges incumbent Republican David Perdue.
Georgia has long been seen as a Republican stronghold, but many believe recent demographic shifts have made it a more competitive state. A recent poll shows Donald Trump and Joe Biden in statistical equality across the state.