Thousands of Georgia voters line up for early voting

Thousands of voters lined up at polling locations Monday in metro Atlanta, marking the start of early voting in Georgia.

Some of the longest waits were reported in Cobb County, where one early-voting site opened at the county’s main elections office in Marietta. Waits of nearly two hours were reported over the lunch hour there. Elsewhere, sites in Clayton, Fulton and Gwinnett counties saw a steady stream of voters.

In DeKalb County, which opened three early-voting sites Monday, more than 2,700 voters had cast ballots by early afternoon with no reported problems, Elections Director Maxine Daniels said.

Four years ago, during the last presidential election, more than 2 million Georgia voters — or 53 percent of all those who voted — cast ballots before Election Day, either in person or by mail. Officials said the heavy early turnout in 2008 prevented longer lines at the polls on Election Day.

This year, according to a poll conducted last week for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, nearly 40 percent of likely Georgia voters said they plan to cast a ballot during early voting, compared with 54 percent who plan to wait until Election Day.

Any voter registered in Georgia may participate in early voting.

Each county or municipality has at least one early-voting site open, where ballots can be cast before Election Day. Voters just need to show up, making sure they have one of the required forms of photo identification, such as a driver’s license or valid U.S. passport.

Closer to Nov. 6, counties especially in metro Atlanta will increase their number of early-voting sites and even extend hours.

Local voting times and polling locations can be found at the Georgia secretary of state’s website, www.sos.ga.gov.

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