Georgia’s early voting numbers nearly doubling previous state record with days to go

ATLANTA — Early voting numbers are shattering records all across the state of Georgia. More than 3.5 million people have either voted early or by absentee ballot, almost doubling the previous record.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot got an exclusive look inside the room at State Farm Arena where Fulton County workers are processing absentee ballots.

“Everything that has been verified, signatures verified, come over here. It’s run through the cutters. These machines cut open the ballot and then they’re separated over here and then we scan them in the back of the room,” said Richard Barron, the Fulton County elections supervisor. “And those ballots will then be tabulated on election night.”

Not far away from the room, voters come into State Farm Arena to cast their ballots. The arena is open as a polling place for early voting only.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Elliot that 33,000 Fulton County residents have voted at the arena so far. County officials guess some 470,000 people in total will vote early this year.

For those who still haven’t sent in their absentee ballots, Raffensperger is urging them to use the drop boxes, not the mail.

“I’d be filling that thing out today and I’d be running it down, finding an absentee ballot drop box or take it to your elections official to make sure I got it in there,” Raffensperger said.

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The secretary of state has praised the Atlanta Hawks for offering up State Farm and other companies for donating critical items. He also complimented Fulton County election officials for working through problems the state saw in June with the primary.

Fulton County Commission Chair Robb Pits said that took a lot of hard work. He formed a task force that met for a month to come up with a detailed action plan on how to avoid the problems again. He’s hopeful from what he’s seen from early voting.

“I’m ready excited about how things are going so far. We learned some lessons back in June and so everything that we’ve learned, we’ve put into process and it works now,” Pitts told Elliot.

“Those things that we control, specifically the polling places, poll workers, training, things of that nature, I’m confident that on Nov. 3, things are going to go smoothly.”

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