State, counties work to improve early voting wait times

Georgia's Secretary of State said Wednesday that long wait times at polling places around the state are a sign of voter enthusiasm.

"To sum it up, Georgia voters are excited and setting records every hour and this is all during a pandemic, lest we forget," said Sec. Brad Raffensperger.

According to the state, more than 700,000 Georgians have already cast their ballots for the general election. About a128,000 voted on the first day of advance in-person voting.  Another 111,000 voted early on Tuesday and nearly half a million have already returned their absentee ballots.

"The prior record [for one day of early voting] was 90,000," Raffensperger explained.

The high voter turnout has led to long lines at many early voting sites across the state. Some voters reported waiting as long as eight hours to cast their ballots Monday.

Wait times have improved, though official wait time trackers for both Cobb and Gwinnett counties still reflected three and four hour waits at some points Wednesday. 

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In response, Sec. Raffensperger said he has urged county election officials to add more machines and polling places to ease congestion.

In Cobb County, officials said they added six more machines at the West Cobb Regional Library. 

Gwinnett County put two additional check-in stations and five additional voting machines at their main headquarters in Lawrenceville.

The Henry County Board of Elections voted to open four advance voting sites on Thursday. 


Some of the problem, however, is not at the county level. Sec. Raffensperger confirmed poll workers all over the state have experienced bandwidth issues while checking voters in on poll pads.  They must connect to the state's server to confirm a voter's registration information and that process has been slow because of the number of people trying to access the system at the same time.

"We also have the issue of processing all the absentee ballots and also updating the voter rolls, which counties are still inputting all that information," Raffensperger explained. "So, it's just a lot of people running down that same road right now." 

Raffensperger said the state is working with the vendor to try to resolve that issue by the end of the week.

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