Early voting is intended to pare down lines on Election Day, especially this year as many places suffer a shortage of polling workers and have had to shut down polling places. But across Georgia, it's looking busier than ever.
Early voting kicked off Monday in Georgia, a state that has become pivotal in the 2020 election with two Senate seats up for grabs and a surprisingly tight presidential contest. Voters seemed aware of the importance of this election, forming lines that wrapped around buildings even before polling places opened, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. Some showed up as early as 4 a.m., Gwinnett County officials said.
But it wasn't just heavy turnout that slowed early voting. In Atlanta's State Farm Arena, the largest polling site in Georgia, lines ground to a halt when voters' access cards wouldn't let them in. Fulton Elections Director Richard Barron told the Journal Constitution that poll workers had to reboot voter check-in tablets and re-import voters' information to fix the issue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led some typical poll workers, many of whom are older, to decline volunteering out of concern for their health. That's in turn led to a shutdown of many polling places. Many voters have turned to voting by mail, but with ongoing delays at the U.S. Postal Service, others say they're looking to make sure their ballot gets counted by showing up in person.