Metro Atlanta voters arriving 4+ hours ahead of polls opening as long lines persist
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Bearing blankets and cups of coffee, dozens of early voters beat the sunrise Wednesday at Gwinnett County's Elections Office, after reports of more than eight-hour long wait times in the first days of early voting.
Peggy Parham Gilchrist was the first person in line; she told FOX 5's Emilie Ikeda she arrived at 3:50 a.m.
"On Monday, I came through and I saw about 800 people in line, so I went on back to the house because there were too many people," Gilchrist said. "So today, I came out and decided I wanted to be first in line."
A grandmother, mother, and daughter followed suit, arriving 2.5 hours ahead of the polling center's opening. The mother said losing sleep is a small sacrifice to set an example for her little one. "You have to stand up for something," she said.
In-person turnout Monday surged more than 40 percent above the first day of early voting in 2016's November elections. Georgia also saw record voter registration as of October.
The snaking lines seen across metro Atlanta drew criticism over a lack of planning and too little resources, frustrating those even on the ballot.
"We have known for months we were going to see extraordinary voter turnout, and our clear expectation is that our Board of Elections and Secretary of State should be prepared for this," said Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District, Carolyn Bourdeaux.
But with arguably unprecedented enthusiasm, patient voters persist.
FOX 5's Emilie Ikeda asked at what point Corey Brown would get out of line. He said, "Never. If you want your voice to count, stay in line, it's just that simple."
By 9 a.m. Wednesday, online trackers for Gwinnett County and Cobb County showed three-hour wait times.