Advocacy groups push state for paper ballots as massive turnout continues for early voting

Advocacy groups push state for paper ballots as massive turnout continues for early voting

ATLANTA — With the fourth day of early voting at an end, more than 1 million Georgians have already cast their votes in the November election.

With the increased turnout for early voting, many metro Atlanta counties are adding more locations and voting machines to help cut down on long lines.

In those lines, Channel 2′s Matt Johnson found not only frustration but also enthusiasm.

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“I saw the line, and I smiled, you know? It felt good,” one Cobb County voter said.

In-person ballots cast as of close of polls today:

  • Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast Today: 156,126
  • Total Number of Early, In-Person Ballots Cast: 540,013

“We shouldn’t have to wait this long,” another woman said.

Election officials have added voting machines in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Douglas counties to keep up. By day four, wait times dropped at many polling sites but remained at over 90 minutes in some metro locations.

Voting experts are concerned about what these early wait times mean for Election Day, Nov. 3.

“I think you’re going to see worse lines,” said Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance.

Her organization has taken the state of Georgia to court over the switch to electronic voter machines.

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“Most other states have already learned that touch-screen systems invite a lot of errors, hacking problems that can never be sorted out,” Marks said.

Voters have already seen delays caused by faulty electronic check-in devices in Fulton County this week.

A federal judge ruled that a paper roster of registered voters must be at every precinct on Election Day.

Marks said the best way to avoid long wait times is to have multiple paper rosters at each place.

“We really hope is that the lines will be much better if people follow the new opportunities for not having to rely on unreliable electronic poll books,” Marks said.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger has called the lawsuit a distraction. He said his office is working on upgrading the voting machines between now and Nov. 3.

“We are analyzing each and every polling place to make sure they are deploying enough equipment and personnel so the voters won’t face the lines that some saw in June,” Raffensberger said this week.

Aunna Dennis with Common Cause Georgia told Johnson they’re concerned too about technical issues in November.

That’s why they want paper ballots at every precinct despite a federal judge ruling against them on Monday.

Dennis said she will keep fighting to get them.

“We saw lines that were 30 minutes long to lines that were nine hours long. And in those cases, we would want those emergency paper ballots to be used in those situations,” Dennis said.

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