Election 2020, Local, News, Politics

Early Voting At State Farm Arena: Hear WABE Live With CEO Steve Koonin, Stacey Abrams, Fulton Voters

People wait in a line to vote early at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Monday.
People wait in a line to vote early at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Monday.
Credit Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Fulton elections officials and the Atlanta Hawks once again transformed State Farm Arena into the state’s largest-ever early voting precinct until Oct. 30.

WABE’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” team stuck around for a live broadcast all day Monday.

Catch up on what we saw at the arena during “All Things Considered” here — including an interview with Atlanta Hawks president and CEO of State Farm Arena Steve Koonin and Georgia Democrat and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

4 p.m. 5 p.m. 6 p.m. 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Georgians at other polling sites across the metro area have been waiting to cast a ballot anywhere from two to 11 hours during the first stretch of early voting this week. 

More than 128,000 Georgians went to the polls Monday, setting a record for the first day of early voting in the state, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. That high turnout rate surpassed the nearly 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in the 2016 presidential election.

But besides a minor polling pad system glitch Monday morning that caused a bit of traffic, State Farm Arena rebounded and pushed voters smoothly through the process.



Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron told WABE that approximately 3,000 voters cast a ballot at State Farm Arena alone on the first day.

Koonin said that it’s just an overwhelmingly positive feeling from the arena’s 300 full-time employees who have transitioned and trained to work the polls.

Steve Koonin

“A lot of our folks were out in the streets protesting in early June. They want their voices heard,” Koonin said.

“And by working here and being part of this process, they feel like they’re making a contribution both to their community and their country.”

Koonin said the staff at State Farm — trained and ready to serve as poll workers — has doubled compared to the arena’s first early voting trial run in August.

Emil Moffatt, Emma Hurt and Christopher Alston contributed to this report.