“The Jolt: Finger-pointing starts over long waits for Georgia voters”


Voters are having to wait in line for more than two hours at some crowded voting locations before casting a ballot in the U.S. Senate runoff, a consequence of both high turnout and a shorter early voting period, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Niesse reports.

As a part of Senate Bill 202 last year, the Georgia General Assembly shortened the runoff period from nine weeks to four. Although the lengthy nine-week window got complaints from Democrats and Republicans alike, the shorter runoff period this year has also meant cutting the number of statewide early voting days from 17 to five.

Turnout remained elevated Wednesday, the third-highest day of early voting in Georgia history — behind only Tuesday and Monday. There were 281,000 ballots cast on Wednesday after each of the previous two days breached the 300,000 mark, according to the secretary of state’s office.

With long lines and just five days of statewide early voting before the runoff, many voters haven’t yet gone to the polls. Two days of early voting remain before election day Tuesday.

A total of over 1.1 million voters have already turned out through Wednesday, leaving nearly 2.9 million voters who showed up for the general election last month but haven’t yet participated in the runoff….

As pictures of voters waiting in lines spread around social media, Republicans pointed to county staffing decisions for the delays, but Democrats blamed the Republican-sponsored law.

“These wait times result from bad policy choices,” state Sen. Michelle Au wrote on Twitter, adding, “The burden on voters to wait more than two hours to vote midday during the work week is not trivial.”

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