Early Voter Turnout in Georgia Leads to Hours-Long Wait at Polls

ATLANTA (CN) — Early in-person voting in Georgia has only been underway for three days and already one Georgia county is reporting a three-hour wait to vote.

Voters waiting to cast their ballot in Cobb County Wednesday found themselves corralled into long lines. Although Cobb county is the third most-populous county in the state, only one of its polling locations is currently open for early in-person voting. The county will open up additional polling places on Oct. 29.

Janine Eveler, director of Cobb County elections, reportedly told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that although the polls don’t open until 8 a.m., some voters lined up outside the polling place at 7 a.m.

Wait times to vote in Cobb County have varied between one and three hours since early in-person voting began on Monday.

The gubernatorial race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who currently serves as Georgia’s Secretary of State, appears to have energized voters.

If Abrams emerges victorious on Election Day, she will become the first black female governor in American history.

A new poll from the Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics released Wednesday shows that the two candidates are currently locked in a neck-and-neck race with Kemp leading Abrams 47-46.

On Oct. 15, the first day of early in-person voting, 69,049 people statewide cast their ballots. Data from the Secretary of State’s office shows that this is a sharp increase compared to the first day of in-person early voting in the 2014 midterms, when 20,898 people showed up.

According to GeorgiaVotes.com, a website that compiles and analyzes data from the Secretary of State’s office, over 211,000 Georgians have already voted in advance of the November 6 general election either via mailed-in absentee ballots or in-person early votes.

In 2014, just 67,372 people had voted at the same point in the election cycle, showing an increase in early voter turnout of over 200 percent.

In Cobb County alone, county data shows that 1,289 people voted in person on Monday despite two-hour wait times. During the first day of early in-person voting in 2014, just 949 ballots were cast.

In Fulton County, the largest county in Georgia by population, over 10,000 in-person ballots were recorded on Monday. County data shows that nearly 11,000 ballots were cast on Tuesday.

Early voting has become popular in Georgia because it gives voters the freedom to decide when they want to cast their ballots and usually allows voters to avoid long lines.

Approximately 58 percent of voters cast their ballots early during the 2016 presidential election and 37 percent voted early in the 2014 midterm election.

Early in-person voting will continue in all of Georgia’s 159 counties until November 2.

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