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Georgia Voters Face Hours-Long Lines At Polls On First Day Of Early Voting

Georgia voters endured long lines on the first day of early voting on Monday at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in Atlanta.
Jessica McGowan
Getty Images
Georgia voters endured long lines on the first day of early voting on Monday at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in Atlanta.

Early voting opened Monday in Georgia for the 2020 general election — but the first day was marred by technical issues and lines that in some locations stretched more than five hours long, particularly in the Atlanta metro area.

Voters arriving in the morning at Atlanta's State Farm Arena, the home of the NBA's Hawks — and the state's largest early voting site, with 300 voting machines — encountered technical issues, which election officials blamed on problems with the electronic poll pads.

11 Alive, the NBC affiliate station in Atlanta, posted numerous videos on Twitter of voters in Marietta who as of 11 a.m. had been waiting more than five hours. While some voters said that concerns about mail-in voting prompted their in-person wait, one voter named Viola Hardytold the 11 Alive reporter: "I think people are just really ready to vote, and it doesn't matter how long it takes — we will stand in line to vote. ... We're voting like our lives depend on it."

A reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a video of voters in the town of Suwanee, about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta, in a line thatstretched around a block. (Some prescient voters brought along portable chairs.)

Voting lines were still long heading into the evening hours. Around 5 p.m., a Georgia state senator, Democrat Jen Jordan, posted a screenshot from an app that showed that voters at polling sites around Cobb County were still experiencing delays of more than one hour.

Member station WABE reported Monday that the state has 7.6 million registered voters in this election — a record number for Georgia.

During the primary elections in June, Georgia voters also experienced widespread issues at the polls, including hours-long waits and technical issues with a new, $104 million voting system.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.