Monday marked the first day of early voting in Georgia. The voter turnout was much higher than expected, with a record-high of 126,876 Georgions voting on the first day, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The previous record for most votes on the first day in Georgia is 90,000 votes. One factor for the turnout being so high could be that Monday was Columbus Day, a federal holiday, so many people had the day off from work, but state officials cited the high turnout due to voter enthusiasm.
Walter Jones, spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and a Republican, said, “Georgia is seeing record turnout for early voting because of excitement and enthusiasm. Long lines are to be expected.”
Sterling, who is with the Secretary of State’s Office, said that the long lines and wait times were not due to technical failures but because of the sheer volume of people who came out to vote. He said, “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.”
Despite early voting in Georgia ending on October 30th, voters were eager to cast their ballot on the first day. One voter said, “A lot of people have given up their lives to make it possible for us to vote, so standing here in the sun is not a sacrifice,” referring to the long-lines.
Another voted echoed that sentiment, saying “They’ve been fighting for decades. If I’ve got to wait six or seven hours, that’s my duty to do that. I’ll do it happily.”
Voters had to wait six hours or more in Cobb County, which used to be solidly red but in recent years has started voting Democrat. Lines in DeKalb County, where Mrs. Biden was campaigning on Monday, wrapped around buildings. There was also a high turnout in Floyd County, where there is a lot of support for President Trump.
Voters were appropriately socially-distanced while waiting; they were standing six feet apart and wearing masks. Spirits seemed to be high with people ordering pizza, and bringing folding chairs and books to keep themselves entertained during the long wait.
Since Georgia is a swing-state for the 2020 election, Republicans and Democrats both have absentee ballot monitors and poll watchers, as well as lawyers for potential election court battles once the election is over for contested votes.