The beginning of in-person voting in Georgia included hourslong lines, a technical glitch at a voting supersite, and a last-minute court ruling.
The state of Georgia usually leans Republican, but the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have led to a renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement and with that, a new focus on voting. Voters in the state have been returning mail-in ballots for weeks, but Monday was the first day of early in-person voting.
The day included a few glitches that slowed voting at one supersite and in other locations voters were forced to wait for more than eight hours to cast their ballot.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s state secretary, announced 126,876 Peach State voters cast their ballot on Monday, a record for the first day of early voting. More than 425,000 ballots have already been cast in the state through mail-in voting according to Catalist, a data analytics site.
“Georgia is seeing record turnout for early voting because of excitement and enthusiasm of the upcoming election,” Walter Jones, a spokesperson for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office told CNN. “Long lines are to be expected—voters need to be aware of all of their options including three weeks of early voting, no-excuse absentee, and in-person voting day of the election.”
Images and video of long lines across the state filled social media sites Monday. Viola Hardy said in an interview on Monday that she got in line around 6:20 am and was still in line at 11:15 am.
” I think people are really just ready to vote and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, we will stand in line to vote,” Hardy said.
The long lines have led some Democrats to raise allegations of voter suppression. Early voting at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, home to the Atlanta Hawks, was delayed for about an hour and a half Monday after a technical issue with the electronic poll books that are being used to check in voters.
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Early Voting In Georgia Skews Toward Black Americans
Catalist data shows Georgia currently has the smallest share of ballots cast by white voters. The state also has the largest share of ballots cast by Black voters, a key Democratic voting bloc, among these key states.
Additionally, Black voters have currently cast a greater share of pre-Election Day votes in Georgia compared to this point in 2016. Black voters currently represent more than 35% of early ballots, up from 29% four years ago. White voters have cast a smaller share of ballots ahead of the election, dropping from 68% in 2016 to 58% currently in the Peach State.