The first day of early voting opened in Georgia on Monday for the 2020 general election and despite some technical issues and long lines that had voters waiting for up to 10 hours, Georgians still came out in flocks to the polls to cast their vote and to make sure their voices are heard.
Viola Hardy got in line at 6:20 a.m., and at 11:15 a.m. still hadn’t voted yet, but she appeared determined. “We’re voting like our lives depend on it,” Hardy told a reporter at 11 Alive, the NBC affiliation station in Atlanta. "I think people are just really ready to vote, and it doesn't matter how long it takes — we will stand in line to vote.”
The Atlanta metro area was one of the busiest locations, according to NPR. The Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, the home of the NBA’s Hawks, is also the state’s largest voting site, with 300 voting machines. There some technical issues arose, which election officials said stemmed from the electronic poll pads being used, reported NPR.
Technical glitches or not, people interested in casting their early ballot began lining up outside polling stations in the predawn hours. Some used their cellphone flashlights to help other voters fill out pre-registration forms, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Some voters even brought chairs to literally sit it out as they waited on line. A reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a video of the lines that stretched for blocks in the town of Suwanee, about 45 minutes outside Atlanta, The Guardian Reported.
Johnta Austin, who did not have a chair, was ready to wait in a line estimated to stretch for 11 hours. “A long journey, but we are next, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Please vote everyone,” he told a reporter with the Constitution, reported The Guardian.
According to the newspaper, voters turned out in Cobb County, which was was once solidly Republican but has voted for Democrats in recent elections, and formed long lines in the solidly Democratic DeKalb County. Voters also turned out in big numbers in north Georgia’s Floyd County, where support for President Donald Trump is strong.
Democratic State Sen. Jen Jordan posted a screenshot from an app that showed that voters at polling sites around Cobb County were still experiencing delays of more than one hour. She tweeted: “Was hoping that long waits in Cobb might have gotten better but no where near better.”
The state has 7.6 million registered voters in this election — a record number for Georgia, WABE reported.
In June, during the primary elections, similar technical issues arose, despite a new $104 million voting system. Long lines and hours-long waits were also experienced then, too, the radio station reported.