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LIVE VOTING UPDATES: Polls are closed — at least most of them

AJC reporters are tracking what’s happening at the polls across Georgia. This story was reported in part from tips from ProPublica's Electionland project, which monitors voting problems around the country. Tell us if you've had a problem voting here.


POLITICAL INSIDER LIVE: Election news and analysis


7 p.m. - Polls — at least most of them — have closed for Election Day. 

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Voters in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Three polling places in Gwinnett are extending hours.

6:45 p.m. - Three Gwinnett County voting precincts will be open late Tuesday after technical issues throughout the day.

The Annistown Elementary School precinct will remain open until 9:25 p.m.

Anderson-Livsey Elementary will remain open until 7:30 p.m. Harbins Elementary will remain open until 7:14 p.m.

Polls generally close at 7 p.m.

Read more about the extended polling hours here

6:32 p.m. - A last-minute federal lawsuit is trying to disqualify Secretary of State Brian Kemp from overseeing his own race for governor.

The lawsuit, filed by a nonprofit group called Protect Democracy, seeks a temporary restraining order barring Kemp from being involved in vote counting, election certification or runoffs.

As secretary of state, Kemp is Georgia's chief election official, and he's also running as a Republican for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

6 p.m. - There’s one hour before Georgia polls close. Anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be able to vote.

Even with a contentious election that created record turnout and monetary contributions in Georgia, the topic of discussion in the final hours of Election Day between voters in line at First Presbyterian Church was a hunk of plastic and metal — the polling machines.

“When you have 2 hours to wait in line, you got to talk about something,” said 31-year-old Rob Lami outside the Peachtree Street church that neighbors the High Museum.

Lami and his fellow voters quickly noticed the 10 or 15 machines they had for the presidential election in 2016 had winnowed to four — one reserved for voters who are handicapped or elderly, he said.

In all, he waited an hour and 45 minutes.

The line snaked through the social hall at 6 p.m.

Paul Johnson, 54, said he waited two hours. He came at 2 p.m., saw there was a long line and left, only to come back at 4:15 p.m. and realize he’d better get in line now.

“Usually, this is not a long wait line,” Johnson said.

The polling manager referred all questions about wait times and elections equipment to county communications staff.

5:25 p.m. - At Pittman Park Recreation Center,  where Rev. Jesse Jackson stopped by earlier to encourage voters to remain in line to cast ballots in spite of the long wait, another type of voter outreach was happening.

Jackson traveled to the Pittman Rec where only three voting machines were initially available. Five more machines were sent out later.

Pizza to the Polls also delivered pizza to voters waiting in line at that polling place just after 4 p.m. today.

4:18 p.m. - Some Georgia voters say they’re having troubles voting because their home addresses don’t match their precincts. Those voters are having to use provisional ballots, which will be counted if voters verify their information with their county election office within three days.

In some cases, voters said they re-registered with a new address, but they still encountered problems at the polls. Another voter said he had always voted in the same precinct but was told this year that the address had changed.

The incidents might have been caused in part by poll workers looking up voter information incorrectly, said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Registration and precinct information at precincts should match information on the state’s My Voter Page.

Besides casting a provisional ballot, voters can call the Secretary of State’s hotline to help resolve discrepancies. That hotline number is 404-656-2871.

3:50 p.m. -  Thousands of voters nationwide, including many in Georgia, are reporting complaints about obstacles to voting, said Kristen Clarke, executive director for the Lawyers' Committee on Civil Rights Under Law. 

More than 17,500 calls had come into the group's Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE as of 2 p.m., she said.

Some of the most substantial complaints were about Gwinnett County, where technical problems with voting equipment caused long lines

The Annistown Elementary School precinct near Snellville will remain open until 7:25 p.m. because of prolonged issues with the electronic ExpressPoll system.

"Gwinnett County is front-and-center for us today," Clarke said. "We’ve received complaints of serious issues in Gwinnett County, regarding broken machines and no plugs for machines."

3:35 p.m. - The Rev. Jesse Jackson is telling Fulton County voters to stick it out through long lines to make sure their votes are counted.

Jackson traveled to the Pittman Park Recreation Center, where only three voting machines were initially available. Five more machines were sent out later.

“It’s a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote,” Jackson said in a statement. “But today, the people said we will not be deterred. We will not be defeated.”

3:10 p.m. - Voters were greeted by long lines that snaked through Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in East Cobb, where about 1,100 people had 

Voters waited in a long line at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in East Cobb on Tuesday. BEN BRASCH / ben.brasch@coxinc.com

voted by 3 p.m.

Turnout so far was higher than ever, even though fewer people usually vote in midterm election years, said poll manager Mo Steiner.

“We didn’t have this many for the presidential,” he said.

2 p.m. - Janine Eveler, chief of Cobb elections said the turnout today is beyond what she and her staff expected.

“We thought we would still have adequate voting units, but the turnout is much higher than any midterm we have ever conducted and lines have formed at most polls,” she said at 1:25 p.m.

Eveler said many voters are complaining about a lack of voting machines. She blamed that on the recent court ruling that left some of their machines sequestered. 

She said the number of ballot measures is also making it “difficult for voters to quickly get through.”

1:15 p.m.  - Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams weren’t the only big names at the polls Tuesday. 

Former Olympian and gold medal-winner Edwin Moses cast his ballot today in Brookhaven.

Healthcare was the track star’s number one issue, followed by general governance and immigration, he said.

Former Olympian Edwin Moses, 63, casts his ballot in Brookhaven on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Arielle Kass/AJC)

"The atmosphere in the U.S. is quite distressing, the hatefulness that's permeating our country right now," Moses, 63, said. "We need a new look from a governance point of view."

Moses won gold medals in the 400m hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics and set the world record in the event four times.

12: 55 p.m. - The Annistown Elementary School precinct near Snellville — one of a small handful of Gwinnett County voting sites that had prolonged issues with the electronic ExpressPoll system — will remain open until 7:25 p.m., a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office said. Read more about the early morning issues here.

Noon - In Fulton County, 10,700 people had voted, by 10 a.m. There were some mechanical issues that were "quickly resolved," said April Majors, a Fulton spokesperson. 

The Pittman Place precinct only had three machines delivered, but they've already sent five more. Majors said she hopes that will help with long lines. "It was a mistake on our end," she said.

And at the Helene S. Mills precinct in Old Fourth Ward, the machines were down early Tuesday because of a power cord issue.

 

"It's up and operating now," Majors said. "Patience is key."

Also in Fulton, a library on Ponce de Leon Avenue that was used as an early voting location was not a designated Election Day voting site, confusing some voters. You can find your Election Day polling place today here


MORE| Problem precincts reported in Fulton County, turnout steady

PHOTOS | Scenes from the polls on Election Day


11:40 a.m. - A reminder, voters 75 and older can get a fast pass of sorts to skip the lines at most polling places. But be aware as we get closer to rush hour, this provision runs only until 4: 30 p.m. Read more here.

Experience has its privileges!

11 a.m. - We’ve got reporters spread across Georgia today talking to voters, following candidates and investigating polling issues. 

In addition to the machines down at one Gwinnett County precinct, reporters are checking into reports of down machines and precinct changes without warning in other areas. 

We’ll have updates throughout the day.


MORE: Gwinnett voters face long lines as machines fail at 3 precincts


Meanwhile, voters undeterred by the soggy weather are still keeping lines long at area polling places. Here’s a photo of with line to vote at the Vinings library in Cobb County where wait times are over an hour.

The line to vote at the Vinings library in Cobb County just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Meris Lutz/AJC)

10 a.m.  - In Albany, where the community is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, Reid and Debbie Logan cast ballots for Brian Kemp on Tuesday.

“I think he will keep taxes down and won’t have a sanctuary state,” Reid Logan, 63, said.

Reid and Debbie Logan in Albany vote for Brian Kemp on Nov. 6, 2018. (Tia Mitchell/AJC)

“He’s not a socialist,” Debbie Logan, 60, said.

In Decatur at the International Community School, Albert Lebron, 29 cast his vote for Stacey Abrams.

Albert Lebron, of Decatur, voted for Stacey Abrams on Nov. 6, 2018. (Tyler Estep/AJC)

"I think I was drawn to her because she openly admitted her debt," he said, "and I think she would understand how to work with people that are in that situation."

AND... a warning to Marietta voters:

 

9:25 a.m. - An update on the Snellville precinct in Gwinnett County where reports of technical issues were causing long lines.

AJC reporters Amanda C. Coyne and Tyler Estep report that the issues are forcing voters to resort to paper ballots.

Around 9 a.m., Gwinnett County officials confirmed that the electronic Express polls were down at Anderson-Livsey Elementary School near Snellville. The line of hundreds of waiting voters stretched the entire length of the school.

 

Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said the issue was not electrical and happens from time to time. New equipment will be brought in, he said. 

In the meantime, voters are able to vote on paper ballots. 

Read more about the Snellville snafu here

9:05 a.m. - Voters are still pouring into polling locations. In Henry County, an election supervisor brought voters inside the gymnasium of Luella Middle School in Hampton, Ga. to get them out of the rain.

Voters at Luella Middle School in Hampton, Ga. wind around the school gym while waiting to vote on Nov. 6, 2018. (Leon Stafford/ AJC)

Evelyn Champion, 46, of Marietta, went to her polling place to vote before 8 a.m. but found the lines were too long.

Evelyn Champion, 46, Marietta (Kelly Yamanouchi/AJC)

“I think they didn’t really plan for how long the lines were going to be,” Champion said

8:30 a.m. - While you’re out voting today, gubernatorial candidates Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams are also out and about for last-minute pushes.

AJC reporter Greg Bluestein has more on their schedules today:

8 a.m. - We’re getting reports of a polling place in Snellville without power. We’re sending a reporter now. 

 

While we’re checking that, we’re also following a line of storms making its way into the metro Atlanta area.

The line of storms is expected to continue moving southeast through the state and should weaken some by 8 a.m., according to Channel 2. By 9 a.m., the bulk of showers and storms will be over metro Atlanta.

As you head to the polls, keep up with the latest weather and traffic updates here. 

7 a.m. - Georgia voters were already in line when the polls opened Tuesday morning. By 7:15, some metro Atlanta precincts had lines of more than 50 people.

Dr. Frank Lockwood was first in line to cast his ballot at Grady High School before the doors opened. He arrived at Grady about an hour and a half before 7 a.m. in anticipation of long lines.

Grady High School voters stand in a long line Tuesday. (John Spink/AJC )

In addition to casting a ballot for his selected candidates, Lockwood said he was there to “ensure that the process we live by is alive and well, whether it’s casting (a ballot) early or casting it now.”

 

Original post – 12:00 a.m. 

We hope you have your vat of coffee ready, folks, because it’s Election Day in Georgia! 

All eyes are once again on the state as voters cast ballots in one of the country’s most competitive gubernatorial contests. A bevy of down-ballot races that serve as microcosms of many national political fights will also (hopefully) be settled. 

Welcome to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's election live blog. We'll be tracking the state's top political contests throughout the day, providing insight, analysis, results and color from candidate watch parties across the state. 

The marquee race is of course the one at the top of the ticket. 

The neck-and-neck gubernatorial contest between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams has attracted an unprecedented amount of cash, as well as a stream of high-profile surrogates, including two presidents, a talk show icon and countless 2020 hopefuls. 

Both candidates have been playing toward their bases as they seek to drive up turnout in a race that’s been rocked by allegations of voter suppression and an eleventh-hour election security probe involving Kemp and the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Democrats are also hoping to flip many down-ticket seats, including a pair of U.S. House districts in Atlanta’s fast-changing northern suburbs and a host of state legislative races in competitive territory. Many of those challengers have put health care at the centerpiece of their campaigns. GOP incumbents, meanwhile, have been playing up the booming economy, their support for law enforcement and their relationship with popular outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal

Voter enthusiasm is sky-high – and not only on the left. Roughly 68 percent of Georgia Republicans and three-quarters of Democrats have labeled the midterm election as “much more important” or “more important” than past votes. A record 2.1 million people have cast early ballots, shattering previous records and approaching the overall turnout from the midterm elections four years ago.

Check back here throughout the day for the latest updates on Georgia’s top races. 

And as we wait for the polls to close at 7 p.m., check out our overview of the governor’s race, our last-minute voting guide and preview of what we’re watching for this rainy Tuesday. For full coverage, check out Politically Georgia.

Staff writers Marke Niesse, Tia Mitchell, Leon Stafford, Ben Brasch, Becca J.G. Godwin, Amanda Coyne, Raisa Haberhsam, Kelly Yamanuchi, Tyler Estep, Todd Duncan, Drue Miller, David Wickert, Greg Bluestein, Janel Davis, Arielle Kass, Tamar Hallerman and John Spink contributed to this report.

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