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Election Board Issues Statement on Early Voting Debacles as Election Day Brings More Challenges

Early voting proved to be a challenge for the more than 30,000 people who participated. Voters stood in line for hours as Fulton County struggled to accommodate turnout while implementing social distancing guidelines. Others complained that they applied for absentee ballots but never received them.

Board of Registration and Elections Chair Mary Carole Cooney and Director of Registration and Elections Richard L. Barron issued a statement yesterday to address voters’ complaints about early voting.

“This election cycle has brought an unprecedented number of challenges — from date changes, changes in locations, the availability of poll workers, restrictions related to COVID, coronavirus infections among Department of Registration and Elections employees and more.”

“We have received many questions from voters and are carefully reviewing them to make improvements both for Tuesday’s election and for upcoming elections, including the General Election in November.”

Additional staff was recruited for today, but voters are already reporting difficulties at the polls. Lines are spilling out into the streets at Wolf Creek Library and Sandtown Park. Voters have also reported that some machines have been down and that some polling sites did not open today on time.

Councilwoman Catherine Foster Rowell took photos of the long lines at Sadndtown Park earlier today. She called the issues “unacceptable.”

Councilwoman Carmalitha Gumbs urged voters to stay in line, “Your vote is the best weapon of change.” She also offered tips for voters experiencing a wait time of 30 minutes or more, including requesting an emergency paper ballot.

Voters who are in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. All voters should check their polling site before arriving as some locations have changed.

Voters are encouraged to wear face masks if possible and stand at least six feet apart while waiting in line. The number of voters inside the polling sites will be limited.

Voters who are age 75 and older or disabled can request to move to the front of the line between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Anyone experiencing issues at the polls can contact the Secretary of State at 404-656-2881 or Election Protection at 866-687-8683 to report difficulties and request assistance.

Photo: The line to vote at Sandtown Park has spilled into the street. (Credit: Office of Councilwoman Catherine Foster Rowell)

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