ATLANTA - The first day of early voting is underway for the two runoff races for U.S. Senate, with many voting locations seeing long lines and wait times.
"The nation is watching us. I'm very excited," said Vincent Pizza, who cast his ballot at State Farm Arena on Monday.
Lots of eyes are on the state of Georgia as voters head to the polls for the first day of early voting in the runoff election between incumbent Sen. David Purdue and John Ossoff and Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rev. Raphael Warnock.
"I was pleasantly surprised," described Pizza about his voting experience, "It was super easy."
"A wonderful experience. Everything is so wonderful," said Rachel Dent.
At State Farm Arena, 142 voting machines are scattered across the concourse. Next week, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host voters for the first time.
"We learned a lot back in June, and now we're ready. I'm excited about where we are," said Robb Pitts, Fulton County Commission Chairman.
Fulton County voters have access to have 30 early voting locations. A technician will also be at each location to address any technical issues. Voters at Buckhead Library dealt with a much longer line to cast their ballots.
"On Jan. 5, we will have 254 polling locations. We will have 3,300 poll workers. We'll have some 38 drop boxes," explained Chairman Pitts, "We're making it very convenient for anyone who wants to vote to vote."
There was also at least one dispute on Monday over poll watcher access. A Republican poll watcher at the Buckhead Library claims she wasn't allowed inside. Fulton County Officials told FOX 5, there was a confrontation, and the poll manager asked that observer to leave.
The Secretary of State's Office sent an investigator to the location to investigate it.
Analysts said the margin between the candidates may extremely close.
“We are heading towards another razor thin margin in this runoff,” Republican Strategist Brian Robinson said.
Robinson told FOX 5 Republicans are working hard and spending a lot of money campaigning to keep their candidates in office.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the Republican side. Over 500 paid people are scattered throughout Georgia. Knocking on doors and finding Republicans and making sure they turn out to vote,” Robinson said.
“The outcome of this January 5th Senate election will determine the future of our democracy in this country,” Democratic Strategist Tharon Johnson said. “The excitement is really, really big in Georgia on both sides but particularly with the Democrats.”
Johnson said although there is excitement, voters still must come back out.
“This is a base plus election for Republicans and Democrats. Democrat’s have got to make sure we turn out the base but make sure we have to build upon Biden coalition,” Johnson said.
Experts urge voters to have a plan.
“If you vote by mail or absentee before then do it again if you felt comfortable with it. Make sure if you go to a secure dropbox. Make sure you take a picture of your absentee ballot,” Johnson said.
Experts also said to double and triple check your ballot before you place it in the scanner or drop it off in the secure dropbox.
“Make sure that it actively reflects who you voted for,” Robinson said.
“Whether you are voting for Democrat or Republican we just want people to vote,” Johnson said.
Early voting runs through the end of December and election day is Jan. 5.
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