New Cobb polling sites prompt record day of early voting, long waits

More Cobb County residents voted on Halloween than the previous four days combined.

One reason for the 16,959 in-person votes is probably that nine new polling locations opened as the country nears Nov. 8. That also means some folks waited between 2 and 3 hours.

Janine Eveler, head of Cobb elections, figures folks were waiting for a spot to open closer to their home or work.

Cobb County residents file into the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta for early voting on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. At least 2,000 people were expected to participate in the early voting there Saturday. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Credit: Steve Schaefer

A total of 78,937 Cobb ballots have been submitted since early voting started Oct. 17. Coming into the weekend, there'd been 51,645 ballots cast.

The busy Monday means 19 percent of Cobb's registered voter base has already cast its ballot.

Eveler said there are long waits of 2 to 3 hours during peak times like around lunchtime.

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For example: The wait at Boots Ward Recreation Center in Powder Springs was listed as between 2 and 3 hours on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

And, sometimes, not everything goes to plan. Like when a voter needed medical attention Monday at Northstar Church in Kennesaw.

"We had reserved a room at Northstar with enough space to line people up indoors, but unfortunately the church informed us right before we set up that they had to move us to a different space. In the new space the line had to be outdoors," Eveler wrote.

That wouldn't have been as much of a problem if Georgia wasn't in a string of record-breaking heat, including the state's hottest Halloween on record.

"I understand we did have one voter who needed emergency medical care," Eveler said.

She recommended wearing comfortable shoes along with bringing a book, bottled water, portable chair and umbrella in case of an outside line.

And Eveler had a reminder: "Lines will almost always be longer for early voting than they are on Election Day because we have fewer places open."

If you want to know how long you might have to wait, check out a new tool from the county.

The state's early voting this year is pacing 6 percent higher than the 2012 election.

Statewide tallies as of Monday morning have passed the 1.3 million vote mark, according to the latest available numbers from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. That’s more than 77,500 votes ahead of the same time four years ago, when residents last voted for president.

The Atlanta Regional Commission has created several charts and graphs displaying voter registration and turnout data for metro Atlanta.

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