It’s expected to be the biggest day of voting in Georgia, with turnout reaching as high as 2 million. Another 3.9 million people already cast early or absentee ballots.
Not wait for DeKalb County evening voters
The scene at Ray of Hope Christian Church was very different Tuesday night from what it was the night of the June 9 primary.
That night, the line of voters wound through the parking lot as they waited hours to cast ballots at the precinct near Decatur in DeKalb County where voting hours were extended to after 10 p.m. This Tuesday about an hour before polls closed, there was no line and no wait for voters.
As of 6:10 p.m., just 167 voters had been through Ray of Hope on Tuesday, said poll manager De’Andre Carter, 31.
Tuesday’s election was Carter’s first time as poll manager, who was urged by his mother – also a poll worker – to get involved.
“I wanted to do more than just vote,” he said.
Christopher McFadden, 32, had heard about the June issues and got off work early Tuesday to make sure he could cast his ballot. He was surprised by the short wait.
“It only took me like two minutes to vote,” he said, adding that he felt he had to vote in this election to “get a different face in office."
”There’s been a lot of violence in the country and we need a change," he said.
In addition to the presidential race, McFadden was also excited to vote for Rev. Raphael Warnock in the Senate race.
“He’s from a background that’s similar to mine,” McFadden said about Warnock. “I just like him.”
Spalding County polls to remain open until 9 p.m.
All of the voting precincts in Spalding County will remain open until 9 p.m., the county said late Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier, the county experienced technical issues and provisional ballots were delivered, according to a social media post. Later Tuesday morning, the county posted that all precincts were up and running.
Around 5:40 p.m., the county updated voters in a Facebook post: “All Spalding County precincts closing time has been extended to 9 p.m. EST, per court order issued by Superior Court Judge W. Fletcher Sams.”
In his order, Sams said the issues delayed some voters longer than two hours.
“Because of equipment issues that were caused by petitioners and which were beyond the control of petitioners, all the precincts of Spalding County had outages where voters were unable to vote during periods ranging from 20 minutes to two hours and 25 minutes,” Sams wrote in the order.
Lines still short at many metro Atlanta polling spots
Nick Vads, an engineer in Duluth, said he originally went to Duluth City Hall early in the morning to vote but was told he was in the wrong place. He drove to the polling site at Bunten Road Park two miles away instead where there were no lines.
He returned at about 5 p.m. with his wife Shireen Vads, an immigration attorney, and their five-year-old son Isyaan.
Again, there was no line. They considered early voting but saw people waiting so they guessed on Election Day, with more polling locations, the process would be quicker. And they were right.
“I was surprised,” Shireen said."Two years ago, there was a line," Nick said.
Both are voting for Biden and hope the state is ready to turn blue."We feel confident about our choice," Shireen said. “I know Biden will do well for all the people.”
Betty Cao, a 55-year-old Lawrenceville nurse, said she swung by an early voting location last Friday at 5 p.m. and the line wrapped around the building. She decided instead to go Election Day to her designated polling location at Christ the Lord Lutheran Church off Duluth Highway an hour before closing time.
In the waning daylight, Cao exited the building and quickly snapped a photo of her 24-year-old son Zach Cao and her mom Bich Nyugen for posterity with their “We Voted!” stickers on their jackets.
She said her mother was initially told she had been sent a mail-in ballot that she was not aware of but the poll workers were able to clear her to fill out a ballot after a few minutes. All three gave Pres. Donald Trump their votes.
“I’m pro military and law enforcement and I like my guns,” said Zach, an intern at a physical therapy clinic who voted for the first time.
Betty, his mom, said Trump kept the economy strong until the pandemic.
“He’s doing his best,” she said. “Is he perfect? No. We believe he will continue to do what he’s been doing with trade deals and such.”
She isn’t sure if Georgia will stay in Trump territory or not but hopes there are enough “shy” Trump voters who will come out in force and keep the state red.
Sample ballots Posted in Spanish and Korean at Doraville polling location
By Ada Wood
After the request from advocates on Election Day, sample ballots were posted in both Spanish and Korean at the Doraville City Hall in DeKalb County. This was done without any requirement since Gwinnett County is the only county in Georgia mandated by law to publish ballots at polling locations in a foreign language.
Advocates pushed for the publication of these ballots due to the high population of immigrants and residents that speak languages besides English in the area.
“It’s important that people have an opportunity to review [the sample ballot], especially the constitutional amendments that are so complex,” Gigi Pedraza, executive director and founder of the Latino Community Fund of Georgia, said.
When Pedreza arrived at the location earlier this morning, she requested that sample ballots be posted. By 11 a.m. they were. LaVita Tuff, policy director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, provided the location with printed copies, which an AJC reporter saw.
The county was the first to provide translated ballots on their website as well, AJC.com previously reported.
“Dekalb County is the first county that voluntarily offered sample ballots in languages other than English in Georgia,” Tuff said. “We applaud their efforts and are excited to work in partnership with them to make sure the process is more inclusive and equitable.”
Tuff hopes that Dekalb’s voluntary action is a catalyst to other counties in Georgia to do the same.
“We are going to continue to push for language access as a part of the #DearGeorgia campaign beyond this election,” Tuff said.
Few issues reported in Albany area
In Dougherty County in south Georgia, some voters who had requested absentee ballots but never turned them in were listed as having already voted on poll pads. Elections officials, however, were able to make sure they were able to vote, according to Dougherty spokeswoman Wendy Howell.
Still, voters casting ballots at Albany State University said they faced no waits, and two women handing out free water and snack bars at a fold-out table had relatively few takers.
Voting for the first time ever were Aschlun Taylor and Denisha Ingram, both 19 and metro Atlantans who attend Albany State.
Earlier in the day, in an online group conversation, Taylor had heard other students debating whether to vote at all. Some, she said, weren’t convinced their votes would be counted or concluded that neither Biden nor Trump were good choices. But by the end of the conversation, two or three seemed to change their minds in favor of Biden, she said.
“I don’t like Trump. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Taylor said. “I’ve never seen a president like him. I’ve never seen a person like him.”
Devin Oliver, a 34-year-old supervisor at an Albany area box factory, said he didn’t even decide whether he was going to vote until recently. But he watched debates and heard more from the candidates and concluded Biden was his candidate, in part because of his concerns about on issues of race and the pandemic.
First-time voters head to the polls in DeKalb
With his mother in tow beaming with pride, first-time voter Michael McCorvey III cast his ballot Tuesday at New Bethel AMC Church in Lithonia.
“It definitely felt like, even though I’m just one vote, I have a lot of power in my hands,” the 18-year-old said. “It was a really cool feeling.”
Mom Sabrina McCorvey was all smiles as she took pictures of her son as he walked from the polling precinct to their car. She had decided to skip early voting and wait for him to come home from Georgia Southern University, where he is a psychology major, to cast their ballots together.
“Our ancestors died for us to have the right to vote, so I feel anybody of the African-American persuasion, we should, no matter what, take the time out to go and vote,” she said. “This is a right that was fought for. I think I feel better about him voting than when I did for the first time when I was 18.”
The pair were able to cast their votes quickly as the precinct, like several others in southeast DeKalb County, had no lines and ample machine at which to cast a ballot in the early morning hours Tuesday.
Carla Sanders, an election supervisor at New Bethel, said about 140 people had voted as of 11 a.m. and that everything had run smoothly. But she was surprised at how quiet the morning had progressed.
“We were anticipating a lot of people,” she said. “We thought people would be bringing lawn chairs and books, but no, at least not so far.”
Regina Rome had expected a long wait, too, and was pleasantly surprised to vote in less than 10 minutes. Casting her ballot was important because she thinks the national mood has become so toxic that the country needs a change.
“To be honest I have been very fearful for what the future may look like, for me and my grandkids,” said McKnight, who voted for Biden. “I want to change the atmosphere. We can dislike each other, but still try to get along.”
Wait times drop to 3 minutes
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Georgia voters were waiting an average of just three minutes at polling places Tuesday afternoon.
“We are having a successful election in Georgia today,” Raffensperger said. “That’s what everyone wants from government -- they want it to be responsive to the people, and they want it to work. So we’ve made it work.”
The state’s strategy of emphasizing early and absentee voting appears to be paying off, Raffensperger said.
While turnout numbers were unavailable Tuesday afternoon, record levels of voters cast their ballots ahead of time, easing the load at Election Day polling places. About 3.9 million voters had already voted in advance of Tuesday.
Most of the technical issues in Spalding and Morgan counties had been resolved by mid-afternoon, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager.
All of Morgan County’s polling locations were fully operational after voting check-in Poll Pad tablets were resent, Sterling said. Equipment in all but two or three of Spalding County’s precincts had been fixed.
While the state hired nearly 2,000 technicians, the issues in Morgan and Spalding counties needed higher levels of expertise to correct data issues. It’s unclear what caused the problems.
Most counties had no issues, Sterling said.
“It’s exceeding our expectations, given the situation we saw in June. We’re hitting our marks. The counties are doing a good job,” Sterling said.
Judge orders two DeKalb polling places to stay open late
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney L. Johnson has signed an order approving a petition by the Board of Registration and Elections to extend voting for two DeKalb County polling places that opened late this morning.
The Valley Brook precinct, located at Valley Brook Baptist Church, 1198 N. Valley Brook Road, Decatur, 30033, will stay open until 7:40 p.m.
The Gresham Road precinct, located at Obama Elementary School, 3132 Clifton Church Road SE, Atlanta, 30316, will remain open until 7:45 p.m.
According to a petition filed in court, both sites “experienced time periods without voting due to an inability to operate the poll pads as designed, preventing voters from casting their ballots.”
The extension was requested, in an abundance of caution, to ensure that all electors at the locations have the required full 12 hours of voting. Questions on this matter should be referred to the Registration and Elections office at 404-298-4020.
Judge orders U.S. postal inspectors to search for ballots in Atlanta, elsewhere
A federal judge has ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors to visit mail processing facilities in the Atlanta district and elsewhere to make sure ballots are delivered.
On Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered inspectors to facilities in Atlanta, central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Wyoming, Colorado, Houston, Alabama, New England, South Carolina, Florida and Arizona.
Inspectors will have to file a status report with Sullivan’s court in Washington, D.C., no later than 3 p.m. today, according to the order. They will also have to produce a week’s worth of political and election-related mail logs for each facility, identify the 27 centers they visited and provide a list of facilities they’ve inspected since Oct. 19.
A coalition of states and cities, a voting rights organization and individual voters, and others filed legal challenges against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS over changes he imposed that slowed mail delivery, creating a backlog of undelivered mail. The lawsuits claims that the resulting delays threatened to interfere with mail-in ballots.
The order was imposed in districts whose election mail processing scores for completed ballots returns by voters were below 90 percent for at least two days from Oct. 26 to 28.
Data submitted by USPS under the judge’s order showed that 84.88% of completed ballots in the Atlanta district had been processed as of 10/24.
Smooth sailing at two Gwinnett precincts
Voters reported smooth sailing this morning at two Gwinnett County precincts that experienced problems in 2018.
Annistown Elementary and Anderson-Livsey Elementary schools, both located near Snellville, were required by a judge to remain open late two years ago because of voting problems.
But this year, a couple hours after polls opened, there was no line and no wait at either location.
Lyndsey Sykes, 37, voted just before 9 a.m. at Annistown Elementary.
“It took me longer to drive than go in,” she said of her five-minute trip to the polls. “I don’t mind voting on Election Day. It’s something about the thrill of voting on the actual day.”
She said she’s most concerned about the country “going back in time” and also is worried about the spread of hate and fear-mongering. She’s the mother of a newborn and a 3-year-old.
“You don’t want to bring children into this world knowing that you may not be able to protect them because of somebody else’s ignorance,” she said. For that reason, Sykes said this election felt even more important to participate in.
Election workers reported that 73 people had voted at the Annistown site in the first hour polls were open.
A few miles away, at Anderson-Livsey Elementary School, 396 people had voted by 10 a.m.
Anthony Sledge, 20, came to the school to cast his first ballot in a presidential election. It’s the third time in his life that he’s voted, but this is “the biggest one.”
“I wanted to get out here,” he said. “It feels great to get out here and vote, because I feel like now I’ve got a hand (in it).”
Sledge said he encountered no problems while voting.
“Everything was smooth,” he said, adding that he’s confident his vote will be counted accurately.
Short lines in Decatur County
In far southwest Georgia, 20-year-old Tazion Hines drove his employer’s funeral home van to his local voting place Tuesday morning, with the blessing of his boss.
Hines has voted in past elections, but he was particularly motivated to do so this time around, he said. “I’m just doing what we need to do to make it better.”
Most voters interviewed outside the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum in Bainbridge Tuesday morning expressed confidence that their vote will be accurately counted. And they said they faced no waits and no glitches at the polling place.
Of the county’s 80 voting machines spread over several precincts, just one had temporary technical problems, according to local elections chief Carol Heard. Half the county’s registered voters had cast ballots before election day. Perhaps because of that, in the first hours of voting Tuesday, the election-day turnout appeared to be lighter than what was witnessed during the last presidential election.
Ruthann Howell, a 62-year-old bank worker, said she’s never trusted early voting or absentee ballots, so she votes in-person on election day. She said she’s increasingly worried about the nation and the world: “It is total chaos right now … Everybody needs to chill out. There’s too much politics.”:
She voted for Trump. “I like the way he is running the country. If democrats would leave him alone long enough, he might do some work.”
Avtar Singh, 56 years old and self employed, said he’s hoping for change in the presidential election. “When anybody becomes president he should unite the country. He should be president for the whole country.”
Credit: Adrianne Murchison
Credit: Adrianne Murchison
Wary voters head to the polls
A line of 40 people was formed outside Sarah Rawson Smith Elementary School Intermediate Campus when the Buckhead polling place opened this morning, Poll Manager Timothy Gendreau said.
Only a few were trickling in by 11a.m.
Some told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that they expect social unrest whether Biden or Trump wins the election.
“I think regardless of who wins there’s going to be people angry on both sides,” Ashton Taylor said.
Friends Josh Isaacs and Jake Romfo rode together to the polling place.
Isaacs said he put off voting until today and didn’t have confidence that his vote would be counted if he had mailed his ballot.
He and Romfo said they aren’t fans of either Biden or Trump.
Romfo, 25, said even so, he wants people to understand that their votes matter. He said he’s most concerned about the security of their jobs in software sales.
Isaacs said he’s noticed people’s fears about the outcome of the election.
“It’s just weird what you see online and in social media that people have their contingency plans,” he said. “It’s just weird in 2020.”
Logan Brown said he enjoys the act of voting on Election Day.
Brown said he has tried not to get too invested in the campaign season.
“Whoever wins, wins,” he said. “I’m not going to cry about it.”
Power problems in Gwinnett
A transformer blew around 11:30 a.m., knocking out power to three Gwinnett polling places and causing one evacuation, a county spokesman said.
The locations affected were Corley Elementary School, Ferguson Elementary School and Sweetwater Middle School. The spokesman said someone smelled smoke at Sweetwater, the building was briefly evacuated, but no fire was ever discovered. The locations relied on battery backups until power was restored. The power is back on at the Corley and Ferguson precincts, but the spokesman wasn’t sure about Sweetwater.
Minor issues on Tybee Island
Tybee Island’s two precincts had two minor issues Tuesday as scanners were delivered to the wrong locations, said Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russel Bridges.
Bridges said scanners for each location were delivered to the opposite one. However, this was “not a problem” since both locations opened on time and voters were able to cast their ballots.
Bridges said the ballots that were not scanned immediately after they were printed out of the machines were planned in an emergency bin, guidance he said was passed along by the Secretary of State’s Office. Once the correct scanners arrived at the locations, poll workers began scanning the ballots.
“There has been no impact on the voting process,” Bridges said. “Voters have been voting and everything has been working fine.”
Problems in Spalding County
Dona Pritchett of Griffin tried to vote early Tuesday but when she arrived at her precinct, all voting machines in Spalding County were down due to a glitch that prevented the machines from accepting cards.
Thankfully for Pritchett, she works at Griffin First Assembly of God Church, where the precinct is located.
“I just went on to work,” she said. “I’ve been looking out the window” to see when the line started moving.
She returned to wait in line around 11:30. She had tried early voting but Spalding County had one location for early voting.
“I didn’t have the two or three hours they had you wait” during early voting, she said.
The precinct at Griffin First Assembly still had a wait of about an hour as of 11:45 am. A Spalding County sheriff’s deputy monitored the line from his car in the parking lot.
A calm before the storm?
Infinite Energy Center in Duluth was busy early in the morning, according to poll workers, but the line quickly died down by 10 a.m.
Poll manager Willow Elam said that 242 votes were cast during the first three hours of early voting, but they’re preparing in case there’s a lunch or dinner rush.
“I expect we will have voters in line at 7 p.m.,” Elam said. “I don’t want them to be in line for hours on end. The whole point of voting is to come in, vote and leave.”
Elam added that working the polls has been a family affair — a tradition she wanted to keep given the need for workers this election.
“My family has worked elections for several generations,” Elam said. “As a government employee, I saw the lack of volunteers. I got me and my best friend into it.”
DeKalb County changes 32 precincts
In DeKalb County, letters announcing nearly three dozen relocated polling places arrived in the mailboxes of many affected voters on Monday, the day before Election Day.
The timing of the letters, which were put in the mail last Wednesday, raised some eyebrows after voters posted them on social media. But DeKalb officials said the 32 precinct changes -- which the county elections board approved last month, citing concerns about space and and COVID-19 social distancing requirements -- were previously advertised in the county legal organ, in county social media posts, and in digital ads on several local news sites.
A text and call campaign contacted all DeKalb voters who had not yet cast ballots and urged them to verify their precinct location, officials said. They said signs and volunteers were also at all relocated precincts Tuesday to redirect voters to their proper location.
Voters work around tech problems in Spalding County
Spalding County Manager William Wilson said the county experienced a problem with voting touchscreens not accepting voter access cards.
The issue affected all 21 precincts and added about a 20-minute wait time for voters, Wilson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
When election officials discovered the problem, they issued provisional ballots to voters. While distributing provisional ballots to polling locations, election officials were told how to manually program each card to be accepted into the machines.
The state’s voting company, Dominion Voting Systems, was sending a crew to work on a fix.
“We are up and running,” Wilson said.
Mostly smooth start in Fulton County
None of Fulton County’s 255 polling places opened late this morning, and lines have been mostly short all day, officials said during a 10 a.m. press conference.
That’s a far cry from June 9, when at least nine precincts opened late and some voters waited all day in lines.
There were some technical issues this morning, including at Morris Brandon Elementary' s Primary Center in Buckhead, where voters cast paper ballots until machines started working around 9 a.m.
Fulton elections head Richard Barron said the problem involved Poll Pads, which are used to check in voters and encode voter access cards, but he didn’t know the cause. He said they reset the devices completely to resolve the issue.
Another problem occurred when a moving company the county had hired to deliver elections equipment to precincts backed out at the last minute.
“They basically said they didn’t have any staff to help us move,” Barron said.
The county had to hire the movers after a COVID-19 outbreak of elections warehouse staff, some of whom would have delivered the equipment. In all, 25 of the 60 warehouse workers tested positive, and two are still in the ICU.
That made for a chaotic scene last night as crews worked to get all the equipment out.
“It cut a little too close to the polls opening for my taste, but we were able to get all of that equipment out into the field,” Barron said.
He said the company dropping out affected more than 30 polling places.
One of them was The Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead, where the first person in line at 5:30 a.m. was Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts. The equipment arrived at 7:04 a.m., leaving the chairman and others to vote with a provisional ballot.
“It was seamless, no problem,” said Pitts, who added that a couple people waited 15 minutes until the equipment was set up.
Barron did not know how many precincts had to distribute provisional ballots because of issues, but those kind of ballots take three times longer to count.
He said he expects results from most of the absentee-by-mail and in-person early votes to be posted online by 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Because of the massive push toward earlier voting, mailed and early ballots will likely account for 70% to 75% of Fulton’s votes. He said he expects between 150,000 and 170,000 people will vote in person today.
Voter access cards not working in Morgan County
Morgan County had to turn to emergency paper ballots at several of its seven polling locations this morning, said Jeanne Dufort, the local Democratic Party’s chief poll watcher.
She said the problem was linked to the ballot access cards, which are used to activate voting touchscreens.
The issue hasn’t caused significant delays, but did add extra work for poll managers who “did a wonderful job” responding to the problem, Dufort said.
Some chose to use their supervisor’s access cards to activate vote machines and keep people voting and moving through the lines, while several locations turned to the emergency paper ballots.
“There was clearly some issue countywide with encoding those cards,” said Dufort, who has poll watchers at each of the locations.
At least one precinct had access cards working, but others were still down.
Election officials in Morgan County didn’t immediately return messages seeking more information.
West Oakland precinct back online
Technical issues briefly caused delays at Fulton voting precinct West Oakland Missionary Baptist Church, but poll workers said the problems were quickly solved by county technicians.
“They actually sent two techs,” said assistant poll manager Lena Jefferson said. “Everyone waited in line patiently till the machines were back up.”
The precinct is now functioning as normal and there is no line.
Carter Center monitors US elections
The Carter Center knows about tough elections in difficult situations, having observed more than 100 in foreign countries, and it expressed confidence in Tuesday’s U.S. election.
“We are confident that these elections will reflect the will of the voters when all votes are counted,” said Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander. “Allegations of potential rigging and widespread voter fraud are baseless, and they create the real and dangerous risk of undermining confidence in our democratic processes, inflaming tensions, and inciting violence.”
States have put in place significant changes and practices to ensure people can vote freely and securely, the Carter Center said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“Expanded voting options and high turnout mean it may take longer to know the results. But the counting and tabulation processes are well-tested and well-determined by law, and they must be conducted transparently in the presence of representatives from all candidates. Voters have every reason to feel confident in them,” according to the Carter Center.
“Whichever side wins, we should all demonstrate pride in our great tradition of both challengers and incumbents respecting the will of the voters.”
Voting machines finally working in Buckhead
Technicians were able to get voting equipment working at Morris Brandon Elementary in Buckhead, where voters were forced to use emergency paper ballots instead of the state’s brand-new machines.
Voting computers came online about 9 a.m., two hours after polls opened.
Kayla Willis, 26, approached Morris Brandon around 8:30 a.m. and was told she would have to vote on an emergency ballot, or come back later in the day.
“I don’t have an option than to do this,” Willis said before heading inside.
When she came out 10 minutes later, she described the experience as frustrating but said the staff were friendly and the process was quick.
Fulton voters fret about integrity of election
A few ballots got stuck as they were pushed into ballot boxes at Vickery Mill Elementary School this morning, said poll manager Robert Singleton. The issue was quickly fixed and cause no real problems or delays, he said.
Beau Borst, a Fulton County voter, said he has general faith in the voting system but he feels a little uncertainty about fraud and the possibility of the system being hacked.
He said that concerns about the country being divided can be easily remedied.
“I think Americans know what they want and they’re going to vote for it,” said Borst, a project coordinator for a construction company. “I think it’s divided, but it can be undivided very quickly with a little character brought to the White House.”
Anthony Rosenberg said he has faith that votes will be counted accurately and is confident in the direction of the country.
"I think as Americans we’re going to do the right thing, Rosenberg said. “There are extremists on both sides. I think the founders wanted to people to be vocal and speak their minds, but without hurting others.”
Phillip Carroll said voting on Election Day is a special experience, but he has a few fears about the accuracy of the results. Some people have bad intentions, he said. He said he’s pleased with the direction of the country and wants it to continue on its current course.
Some voters turned away in Gwinnett
Poll managers in at two locations incorrectly told voters who requested absentee ballots that they needed them in order to vote, said Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson.
“Those poll managers have been corrected and reminded of their training,” Sorenson said. “While it does speed up the process, you do not need your absentee ballot to vote today.”
Voters who request an absentee ballot but later decide they want to vote in person are allowed to do so in Georgia.
The process goes faster if voters bring their absentee ballots with them to the polls, but that’s not required.
Emergency ballots deployed in Buckhead
Voting equipment wasn’t working at Morris Brandon Elementary in Buckhead, forcing voters to use emergency paper ballots instead.
Ryan Barrows, a poll worker at the precinct, said the scanners are locked and election workers can’t get into the machines.
“We are working with the poll manager now to resolve the technical issue they are experiencing at that location," said Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt.
There was no technician on site to immediately address the problem, but election officials said they were in contact with the county.
Voting machines down in Spalding County
Channel 2 Action News reports that all voting machines are down because of a glitch in Spalding County, 37 miles south of Atlanta.
Spalding County election officials are sending 2,000 provisional ballots to each precinct so everyone can post a paper ballot. The county doesn’t plan to stay open late unless a court orders it, but every person will get an opportunity to vote, the county election official told Channel 2.
Absentee ballots due before polls close today
Voters who requested absentee ballots can still return them today and avoid lines at polling places.
But voters shouldn’t put their absentee ballots in the mail because they wouldn’t arrive in time.
Ballot drop boxes are available in about 130 of Georgia’s 159 counties, and voters are also allowed to drop them off at their county’s main election offices.
Absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. to be counted, according to a recent court ruling.
Over 1.25 million absentee ballots have already been returned, according to state election data Tuesday. That leaves over 200,000 absentee ballots that voters requested but haven’t sent back.
“Please make your choices on that ballot and return it to your local ballot drop box or your county register’s office,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday. “Your vote counts.”
Credit: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Credit: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
No Midtown meltdown this time
Park Tavern, next to Piedmont Park in Midtown, was the site of a major meltdown during the June primary.
Tuesday morning, voters there said it was a smooth process with no lines after polls opened.
“It was super easy, I was surprised,” said Lee Pressley, who walked to the precinct to vote. She said she voted on Election Day because “I’m a procrastinator and I have a busy work schedule.”
Michael Johnson, 31, brought a cup of coffee and was prepared for a long wait, but didn’t encounter one.
“I did the absentee thing, the mail-in thing, but it never showed up. So I just came here,” he said.
‘It’s going to be huge'
At the Noonday Baptist Church in north Cobb County, Barry Blanton, 58, walked away from the polling center at about 7:15 a.m. after casting his vote.
He said the process took little time at all. But that was because he arrived shortly after 6 a.m. and was the fourth person in line. Twenty minutes later, dozens of people had lined behind him, Blanton said.
He said he choose not vote early for various reasons. He is traditionalist, he said.
“I don’t trust the mail anyway,” he said. “You want to make sure it gets counted, you show up.”
By 7:30 a.m. the line at the church had swelled to about 75 people. Blanton predicted turnout would continue to grow.
“It’s going to be huge,” he said.
But 11 miles away at the North Cobb Senior Center in Acworth, there were roughly 10 people inside the polling site.
Christina Stephens said it took her less than 15 minutes to vote. She left surprised.
“I was expecting to stand in long lines,” she said.
And by mid-morning lines at other Cobb County polling had virtually disappeared. There was no waiting at the American Legion Post 160 in Smyrna.
Holly Hogan, 35, a volunteer, who was there to hand out water and snacks in the event voters might have to wait hours to cast their ballots, stood outside with little to do but chat with friends and direct people to the right place.
“It’s been pretty quiet today,” Hogan said. “That’s a good thing. It shows that lots of people voted absentee.”
Kemp receives absentee ballot in time
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who is in quarantine, told WSB Radio that he received his absentee ballot Monday and will be dropping it off Tuesday.
Kemp went into self-quarantine Friday after coming into close contact with U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, who tested positive for the coronavirus. Kemp tested negative and requested an absentee ballot.
It wasn’t previously clear whether Kemp’s absentee ballot would arrive in the mail in time for him to vote, but he said he has it in hand.
Kemp, an Athens resident, can return his absentee ballot at one of six drop boxes in Athens-Clarke County, or he could drop it off in-person to the county’s elections office.
Short line in Norcross
One of the first voters to cast their ballots at Best Friend Park in Norcross was Ellis Jefferson, who showed up roughly 15 minutes before polls opened.
“I always vote early, and this year wasn’t going to be any different,” he said, noting that he expected a longer wait.
Keene-Ann James said she showed up as polls opened because she wanted to make sure she get her chance to vote before heading to work. She tried to vote Friday, the last day of early voting, to avoid any issues but was dissuaded by long lines.
“The lines were ridiculous,” she said. “I went to two different (early voting) locations, and the lines were hours long.”
Ashley Davis, a business owner, said she didn’t have the time to vote early but was going to make sure she cast her vote this election.
“It’s mandatory to vote. It’s my privilege to do so,” she said while waiting in line outside Best Friend Park in Norcross about 7:30 a.m. “I don’t like the way things are being run and the direction of our country, so I’m definitely voting.”
Voters ready for waits with chairs and hot beverages
Esther Kowei-Sanami, 43, arrived at the Lucky Shoals community center at 5:30 AM so that she could vote before getting into work at 9 a.m.
She was the first voter to emerge from the center however after poll workers told her she was in the wrong location. She emerged holding the name of the correct precinct on a small sticky note and said she was going to try to find it.
“I live right here,” she said. “I don’t understand why I can’t vote here.”
Polls opened Tuesday morning to a host of Georgia voters eager to pick the president, two U.S. senators members of Congress and the Georgia General Assembly.
Over 2,400 polling places were open across the state Tuesday. Already, 3.9 million people have cast early or absentee ballots.
High turnout could lead to lines, but election officials say they’re prepared.
Nearly 2,000 field service technicians have been hired to help with potential voting equipment problems. Tens of thousands of poll workers have been hired. Ninety-one new polling places have opened in Fulton County, where the longest lines occurred during the primary.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and then results will begin to be reported.
Voters can check their polling places on the state’s My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.
Please return to AJC.com for live updates all Election Day.