Georgia sees record turnout on Day 1 of early voting

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia saw a new record Monday, with nearly 130,000 people who cast their ballot on the first day of early voting.

That’s a 42 percent increase in the number of early voters on Day One in Georgia compared to 2016.

Voters were met with long lines on Monday, which continued at some locations on Tuesday. News 3 spoke with Chatham County residents who had been waiting for more than four hours and had been in line since 9 a.m.

Was the wait discouraging? For Alexandria Nicholson, yes.

“I came back later on Monday and the line was wrapped around so when I came today I figured that’s just how it’s going to be,” she said, “so I decided to stay today.”

Hundreds of people wait in line for early voting on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Marietta, Georgia. Eager voters have waited six hours or more in the former Republican stronghold of Cobb County, and lines have wrapped around buildings in solidly Democratic DeKalb County. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says across the state, wait times may be longer because of the increased number of voters.

Nikema Williams, the head of the Georgia Democratic Party, said: “The election is already breaking records and we need to make sure every single voting site is equipped to handle the historic turnout including keeping doors open until all people in line have voted.”

At one of Chatham County’s six early voting locations, News 3 found a much smaller crowd on Tuesday. A voter in line said they waited around 20 minutes.

Voters are expected to remain enthusiastic for early voting, and Savannah city employees are even being given time to vote this year.

“Any city employee will be allowed two hours at the start or the end of their workday to vote from now until Election Day,” Mayor Van Johnson said.

Still, casting a ballot might require standing in line on a pretty hot day.

“They have been bringing out water several times,” said Porter Lady, adding, “If it takes five hours or six hours I’ll be here until I get my vote counted.”

In terms of early voting numbers, News 3 also reached out with Georgia’s Republican Party for comment but have not heard back.

Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 people took part in early voting in Chatham County on Monday.

The Chatham County Board of Registrars says there have been delays checking in voters, but that’s an issue with the statewide network, which the state is promising to fix.

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