Large crowds, technical delays, a grand spike of enthusiasm coupled with the Columbus Day holiday were the factors resulting in long lines at many voting locations around Metro Atlanta Monday morning. At the state’s largest early voting precinct, State Farm Arena, there were issues with the check-in kiosks.

Early voting at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta was delayed for about an hour after a technical problem with the electronic poll books that were are being used to check-in voters. Lines were stopped when voters received an “invalid card” error when inserting green voter access cards into touchscreens. The glitch compounded the already long lines.

Like many other sports complexes across the country, the State Farm Arena is being used as a voting supersite to accommodate large numbers of voters in the city of Atlanta, which is home to about 500,000 people. Social distancing is being enforced to protect voters from coronavirus.

“We’re seeing extreme and tremendous turnout on the ground and around the state,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm around this election, and you’re going to see high turnout. Because of that, we’re going to see lines.”

According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, there are 7,587,625 registered voters throughout the state. Over 5 million of those came through automatic registration at the Department of Driver Services, a program of the Office of the Secretary to make registering new voters and updating voter information easier. As many as 126,876 voters cast their ballot on Monday, a record for the first day of early voting, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed.

“There was a printer that malfunctioned, a scanner that malfunctioned at one. Those problems were corrected quickly but it’s just the volume of people,” Fulton County Election Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said.

Gabriel Sterling with Secretary of State’s Office said there were no reports of any major equipment failures.

“We’re seeing a lot of people show up the first day. It’s kind of like when Apple releases a new phone. If you show up the first day, you’re going to wait in line a minute,” Sterling said.

Election officials estimated 5 million voters will participate in this election — almost 1 million more than the 2016 general election.

“The continued growth of Georgia’s registered voting population is a testament to the simple and easy registration options the Secretary of State’s office provides to Georgia voters, including automated registration through DDS,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “As Georgia’s strong economy continues to attract the best and brightest from around the country, even during the pandemic, my office has the infrastructure in place for anyone who wants to register and participate in the democratic process.”


People wait in line to vote early at the State Farm Arena on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Atlanta. (SOURCE: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
People wait in line to vote early at the State Farm Arena on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Atlanta. (SOURCE: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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