While over 1 million people Georgians have already voted early, election officials statewide expect long lines today as both voters and poll workers adjust to a new voting system while dealing with health requirements during the ongoing pandemic.
“This election day will look different,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There will be lines. Voters will be interacting with a whole new system. Results will be slower. Things would be better if it weren’t for this pandemic, but it is what it is.”
In College Park, voters stood in line for six hours to cast a ballot during the last day of early voting on Friday, according to the Georgia Recorder, raising concerns that long wait times could disenfranchise voters.
Unlike in some other cities, all of Athens’ polling locations are open—including a new site for precinct 1B at Southeast Clarke Park off Lexington Road, as well Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School in precinct 5A, which had been combined with another precinct in 2018 while the school was rebuilt.
But Athens will still have to contend with social distancing—voters are required to stay 6 feet apart—and unfamiliarity with the new voting system, which involves using a touchscreen to cast a ballot, then running the printed paper ballot through a scanner.
Raffensperger said he won’t release any election results until the last precinct in the state closes. While all polling places statewide are open from 7 a.m.–7 p.m., some could stay open hours later because anyone in line at 7 p.m. is entitled to vote.
ACC election officials have already started counting absentee ballots, which should speed up the process. Anyone who has not mailed in their absentee ballot can still drop it off at one of four locations until 7 p.m., though. Secure drop boxes are located at the Board of Elections office, the Multimodal Transportation Center, the ACC Library and the Barnett Shoals Road fire station.
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