Inside the Vote: In-person voting

Whether you plan to cast your ballot during advance voting or on election day, things will look different at the polls this year.

Not only does Georgia have new voting machines, but state and county elections officials have also put new safety procedures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you plan to cast your ballot in person, be prepared to wait.

"Considering the social distancing, everyone who comes to vote in person needs to expect a line."


Gwinnett County elections supervisor, Kristi Royston, says not only will elections workers try to keep voters spread out at the polls, they will also maintain strict limits on the number of people allowed inside a polling location at any one time.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger predicts Georgia will see a record turnout of more than 5 million voters for the November election.

Not all of those voters will cast their ballots in person, but many will and some for the first time on the state's new touchscreen voting system.

Just like in years past, poll workers will hand voters an electronic card with a pre-loaded ballot to insert into the machine. This year, the machine will not only record a voter's choices on the card, but also print out a paper ballot.

You must turn the card over to a poll worker and insert your paper ballot into a scanner before you can collect that famous peach sticker.


Voters will notice poll workers regulary sanitizing voting machines, poll pads, and other equipment between users.

"They'll have to disinfect the machines and that all takes additional time.  So, you won't get the same throughput per hour that you normally would get and so, I would just encourage people to think about voting those 15 days of early voting," Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger also encourages anyone who votes in person to wear a face covering.

Poll workers must wear a mask or face shield. Elections officials cannot require voters to mask up, but Raffensperger says it is the "neighborly" thing to do.

"It's not mandatory, but we really encourage it, because I know that you're healthy, I get that.  But it's that other person that may have some type of an underlying health condition and that's where you're really looking out for your fellow neighbor.  At the end of the day, that's what voting is all about--is being part of, engaged in the community and engaged in that process," he said.

State law requires voters to show valid ID in order to cast their ballot.


"The one that the individuals most often show is their Georgia driver's license or Georgia ID.  You can also show a U.S. passport."  

Elections officials say the first day and the last two days of early voting are usually the busiest, so if you want to avoid crowds, pick a day somewhere in between.

On Election Day, peak times are from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. until the polls close.