In Georgia, where early voting began on Monday, some waited more than five hours to vote at the state’s record early turnout, which features two competitive US Senate elections.
Voting rights groups said the delays were prolonged in some places due to a malfunction of the new voting machine in Georgia, reflecting the problems that led to the long delays in the state’s June primary.
In the next three weeks before the election, Americans are voting more than 10 million early votes directly and by mail nationwide, according to data compiled by the US Election Project.
The fierce battle for control of the White House and Congress has many Americans trying to avoid the crowd on election day amid concerns about the safety of the coronavirus. For comparison, as of October 16, 2016, approximately 1.4 million Americans voted early.
Both Texas and Georgia are usually Republican-friendly, but Biden has steadily taken the lead in a national poll over Trump and expanded his campaign into new territories, emerging as a competitive state in this year’s presidential election. Did.
Trump won 5 percent in Georgia and 9 points in Texas in 2016, but polls show Biden approaching in Georgia and slightly below Trump in Texas.
In Georgia, more than 128,000 people voted on the first day of early voting, just below the 91,000 votes in 2016, the Secretary of State said.
About 1.6 million absentee votes were required in the state, and more than 473,000 were returned and accepted. The total number of absentee votes in 2016 was less than 208,000.
“Georgia is seeing record turnout for early voting because of the excitement and enthusiasm of the next election,” said Walter Jones, spokesman for Secretary of State, Georgia. Will be done. “
The surge in early voting has caused legal struggles in many states, as Mr. Trump argued without evidence that postal voting would lead to fraud. This claim was dismissed by election experts. Democrats have lost their challenge to voting rules as early voting has begun in Georgia and Texas.
In Georgia, a judge in the U.S. District Court ruled against Democrats who proposed easing the long ballot line by demanding changes such as reassigning voting machines and providing spare paper ballots. I gave it. The decision came after hours of long lines on Monday.
In Texas, late Monday, the Federal Court of Appeals reinstated an order from Republican Governor Greg Abbott to limit absentee ballot drop-off sites to one per county, regardless of population or size.
Democrats and voters have argued that the order would make it difficult for some Texans to vote.
This decision means that more than 12 satellite locations in at least two populous counties (Harris including Houston and Travis including Austin) will remain closed.
Early voting in both states proceeded more slowly than in previous elections, partly due to the social distance measures required by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
In Georgia, delays were exacerbated by malfunctions such as voting machine software issues and malfunctions in the computer used to check in voters.
At State Farm Arena, the first downtown Atlanta basketball arena used for early voting, 300 voting machines had software issues that delayed voting by nearly an hour.
Atlanta computer contractor Rick Carter, 63, brought a folding chair for his wife, Bella Carter, while the couple was waiting. He said they considered absentee ballots, but were surprised by concerns that Postmaster General Trump’s allies were trying to thwart mail votes to help the president.
“I wasn’t sure if our ballots could get there on time because everything is done at the post office,” he said. “This feels like the safest bet.”
In Virginia, where early voting takes place for three weeks, a fiber cut caused the state’s voter registration system to crash on Tuesday, the final day of voting registration before the election day.
The Virginia Elections Department said in a Twitter statement that “fiber cuts” are affecting the connectivity of multiple agencies, including the department’s citizen portal and registrar offices.
After about 5 hours, the connection was restored.
The state information technology agency said in a tweet that the cable was accidentally cut during a roadside utility project in Chesterfield County.
Voting supporters blamed state officials for the technical failure, saying the accident could never be exacerbated.
Reuters, Associated Press
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Early turnout recording begins with 3 weeks remaining
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