As week 2 of early voting gets underway, Georgians find shorter lines and continued record turnout

ATLANTA — As Georgia continues to break records for the number of people opting for early voting, the lines at polling locations are shrinking, making it easier for Georgians to cast their ballots and not have to worry about waiting for hours.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr has been following the long lines since early voting started last week.

One of the biggest factors for those huge numbers is because of the record number of people taking advantage of mail-in voting.

Carr went to one polling location in southwest Atlanta where she found few issues with people voting as the second week of early voting got underway.

“Everybody was socially distanced, so it was safe,” voter Michael Johnson said. “It was all you could ask for.”

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“(I was) in and out. I haven’t been here but about 10 minutes,” voter Claudette Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said it was a vastly different experience than she had when she voted in the June primary.

“Last time we voted in June, I stayed in line five hours with a bad knee and a cane,” she said.

The secretary of state’s office reports a record 1.5 million Georgians have already cast ballots so far in the Nov. 3 election. That’s already more than a 150% increase compared to the entire early voting period in 2016.

Lines at traditionally crowded early voting sites have thinned in the second week, due in part to another record-breaking factor: the 660,000 absentee ballots already cast.

But those ballots are just being opened and separated at this point.

“This week they can begin the scanning process,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Scan, but not tabulate. But what that’s going to allow us to do is speed that up. Many of the races won’t be that close, so we’ll have results Tuesday night.” Races that “are really, really tight,” are expected to be called by Wednesday of that week, he added.

How ever the ballot is cast, how ever long it takes to count, voters Carr spoke to said nothing will keep them from posting their “I voted” peach sticker.

“I’m glad that everybody’s coming out and are energized and executing their constitutional duty,” Johnson said.

In Georgia, any voter can cast his or her ballot at ANY polling location within their county of residence during the early voting period.

Ballots must be received by the county’s elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. That can either be by mail or at a ballot drop box.Those boxes will be locked at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

Raffenspberger said anyone who requested but hasn’t received their absentee ballot by week 3 of early voting should cancel it and instead vote in person a polling location.

An affidavit must be completed signifying the change in the method of voting.