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Georgia primary looks to have record turnout, despite machine and weather problems

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 23:20:10-04

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Problems at the polls in Georgia, from long lines to technology malfunctions, had some voters waiting for hours to cast their ballots.

Now, an investigation has been launched into some Georgia counties.

COVID-19 safety precautions added to the delays in some counties, like Lowndes which saw a steady flow of people throughout the day.

A video from the Board of Elections in Lowndes County shows at their rush hour the polls were packed, even in the middle of a pandemic.

People in Georgia like David Northcut made their way out to vote Tuesday.

"I'm pleased to see all the people out," said Northcut.

After the March primary had to be rescheduled because of COVID-19, the amount of people in line was shocking to see in the middle of a pandemic.

"When we first pulled up cars were on both sides of the road," Northcut said.

That high turn out turned into long lines in DeKalb and Fulton Counties because of problems with the state's new touchscreen voting equipment. Tuesday was the first day it was used state-wide.

Statewide Voting Implementaion manager Gabriel Sterling releasing a statement saying poll workers in Dekalb were not trained appropriately.

Fulton County kept polls open late, until 9 p.m., because of the same issues.

They issued a tweet, saying:

At the request of the Fulton County Department of Registration & Elections, the Superior Court of Fulton County has issued an order extending voting hours today until 9 p.m. at ALL voting site locations. Any voter in line at that time will be allowed to vote.
Fulton County

In some counties things ran smoothly, with Thomas and Decatur Counties reporting no major issues.

This election also saw a record breaking number of mail-in ballots in Georgia, over one million registered voters requested one.

"We've scanned in over 7,000 ballots," said Debbie Cox, the Lowndes County supervisor of elections.

Safety was a top priority at all the state's polling locations.

"They did take a lot of precautionary measures, such as giving me a pen," said Jalen Smith, who voted in person in Lowndes County. "I was able to keep that pen so that pen didn't circulate from hand to hand. When I went into the voting room, they offered me gloves and a mask to use when picking my choices, as well as workers practicing social distancing."

As we wait for the ballots to be tallied for Georgia's 2020 Primary Election officials wait to see just how many Georgians turned out, despite the challenges to make their voices heard.

"Looking at four years ago, the last two primaries we had a 15 percent turnout and a 30 percent turnout," Cox said. "So it will be interesting to see what this one is."