Election 2020

Live Updates: Metro Atlanta Votes Still Being Counted Into Wednesday

A poll worker talks to a voter before they vote on a paper ballot on Election Day in Atlanta on Tuesday.
A poll worker talks to a voter before they vote on a paper ballot on Election Day in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Credit Brynn Anderson / Associated Press
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Updated Wednesday at 7:16 a.m.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. in Georgia in an election that has already seen record turnout during three weeks of early voting.

On the ballot is not just the presidential race, but two for U.S. Senate, more than a dozen for the U.S. House and scores more local races across the state. Voters will also decide two Public Service Commission races and three ballot questions.

Even with the record early numbers, elections officials in the state were still expecting between 1.5 and 2 million people to head to the polls on Election Day.

WABE will be providing coverage from around metro Atlanta as Georgia heads into Election Day.

We also want to hear your story on Election Day. Whether you’re stuck in a line, face challenges in casting your vote, or have a quick and easy time, we’d like to hear about your experience. If you see something notable or have something you’d like to share, contact us at GeorgiaVotes2020@wabe.org.

Why No Call In Georgia Yet?

4:57 a.m. The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia’s presidential contest because the race between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is too early to call, with outstanding ballots left to be counted in counties where Biden has performed well.

Trump and Biden are locked in a tight contest to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Early Wednesday, Trump prematurely claimed he carried Georgia — and several other states that were too early to call.

“It’s … clear that we have won Georgia. We’re up by 2.5%, or 117,000 (votes) with only 7% (of the vote) left” to count, Trump said during an early morning appearance at the White House. He also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear exactly what legal action he might pursue.

The race is too early to call because an estimated 4% of the vote still remains to be counted. That includes mailed ballots from two counties Biden is winning: metro Atlanta’s DeKalb County, as well as Chatham County, which is home to Savannah.

Several counties in the Atlanta area also stopped counting votes after running into technical difficulties.

The Associated Press

Loeffler, Warnock Headed To Runoff

11:28 p.m. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is headed to a Jan. 5 runoff with Raphael Warnock, the democratic frontrunner in the special election for Loeffler’s U.S. Senate seat.

They’re the top two finishers in a crowded field that also included Republican Rep. Doug Collins. But neither was able to get the 50% threshold needed in order to win outright.

Collins has conceded to Loeffler and urged Republican unity.

Collins said in a statement on Twitter that Loeffler has “my support and endorsement. I look forward to all Republicans coming together.”

He conceded with 3 million votes tabulated, but those votes included his home base in Northeast Georgia.

Warnock, speaking Tuesday night thanked voters and supporters for a “great night.”

Sen. Kelly Loeffler is now expected to head to a runoff with Raphael Warnock, the democratic frontrunner in the race. (Associated Press)

Republican Chairman: Party Put In Work

9:56 p.m. Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer says Republicans have put in the work to try to secure a win tonight. He spoke to the Republican victory party currently happening in Buckhead.

We have done everything that we can humanly do to bring victory for President Trump and our Republican ticket here in Georgia and I am confident

For example, Shafer says the Republican party has knocked on 2.8 million doors in Georgia…compared to 100,000 doors they knocked on four years ago.

Emma Hurt

Burst Pipe Causes Small Delay In Fulton

8:15 p.m. This morning, a pipe burst in the room in State Farm Arena where Fulton County elections staff were processing absentee ballots.

No ballots were damaged during the incident, but staff was unable to work for four hours. Everything is up and running now and a few thousand ballots will be affected by the delay.

Getting Involved

7:58 p.m.The excitement of this election has caused many to go beyond just voting, and those who cannot vote have found ways to get involved too.

Eighth-grader Amaha Sergew played his cello to a mostly empty parking lot in Avondale shortly before polls closed.

“I just knew this was going to be a memorable election and I wanted to provide some entertainment,” said Sergew. “But it turns out there’s no one in line where I am.”

Only a couple of voters periodically trickled in and out of the school building as he played.

The lines were similarly non-existent at Miller Grove High School in Stonecrest.

Volunteers with Georgia 55, a community outreach group providing snacks and drinks to voters, said the same was true of all the precincts they had visited within a few miles.

They were one of three groups that were out providing supplies for the last few voters to cast their ballot.

Christopher Alston

Cobb Voter: Process ‘Easier’ Than Expected

7:56 p.m. “Voting in-person today was much easier than I had expected it to be,” Madison Vasumpaur told WABE.

Vasumpaur voted in Cobb this afternoon, and said that poll workers were friendly and helpful, though they weren’t all wearing masks.

“I would say the only item that stood out as unusual or odd throughout the whole process was when I went to turn in my printed ballot,” Vasumpaur said. “There was a poll worker sitting beside the scanner to help people place their papers face-up into the slot. From his angle he could clearly see my face-up ballot and all of my candidate selections.”

Molly Samuel

Election Day Turnout Not As High

7:37 p.m. Voter turnout on Election Day itself in 2020 was not as high as we’ve seen in the past. But perhaps it was because there was so much turnout in the early voting period, and more than a million absentee ballots cast as well.

By the time the polls closed around 7 p.m., we had seen not very many long lines and only a few sporadic issues around Fulton and DeKalb counties. There were also some more major issues down south – particularly Spalding County — especially early in the day. But those were resolved and things got going smoothly.

The Secretary of State’s office has said it’s pleased with the way things went today and went overall in the election. Officials are expecting the absentee ballot process to go fairly smoothly as counties have had two weeks to process those absentee ballots. They are expecting to know results either late tonight or early tomorrow.

Emil Moffatt

Voting On Election Day

7:10 p.m. Georgia saw record early voting turnout this election, but many Georgians chose to vote in person today.

Ngor Mayol says he didn’t want to vote early, and he didn’t have any wait at his regular polling place in Avondale Estates today.

A refugee from South Sudan, who became a citizen in 2008, Mayol says he votes in every election.

“This is the country I learned how to vote. This is the country I learned how to drive a car. This is the country I learned how to have a job. And so I have to put my full commitment into it until I die,” he said.

Mayol said in addition to national issues like the economy, police killings of Black men, and the pandemic, he’s also concerned about local things, including homelessness in Atlanta, and roads that need repairs in Clarkston.

Molly Samuel

Cobb, Gwinnett And Fulton Counties Extends Polling Place Hours

5:20 p.m. The Sope Creek Elementary precinct in Cobb County will stay open until 7:20 p.m. A judge signed an order to keep the location open an extra 20 minutes after a poll manager’s late arrival delayed opening.

6:46 p.m. Ferguson Elementary School in Duluth will be open until 7:20 p.m. The extension was made after a brief evacuation at the location earlier this morning.

Ponce de Leon Library will remain open until 7:20 p.m. The extension was made due to technical issues earlier Tuesday morning that caused delays.

Rebecca Etter

Early Voter Expected Long Wait

5:12 p.m. Aimee Vondrak is one of the millions of Georgians who voted early this election. She said she plans to watch the returns tonight but already cast her ballot in DeKalb County.

She said when she went to vote last week, she had prepared for a long wait, but there wasn’t one.

“I could have been in and out in like 15 minutes,” she said. “But when I realized I wasn’t going to stand in a four-hour-long line, I actually realized I needed to look up information about our local issues that we were voting on, and make sure I knew who was on the ticket before I walked in, and what I needed to say yes or no to.”

She said the poll worker laughed at her for bringing a book, since she had expected a line, and the poll worker told her that another voter had come prepared with a chair and a packed lunch, but none of it was necessary.

Molly Samuel

Update From Fulton County

4:23 p.m. Rhonda Rowland was one of the voters who used a paper ballot at the Morris Brandon precinct in Fulton County this morning. She said she arrived early, and there weren’t long lines, but the machines were down.

“I was given a paper ballot and told that the voting machines were not working, which I was extremely surprised by. You’d think after all this time they’d have that figured out,” she said.

Rowland said three members of her household tried to get absentee ballots, and she was the only one who received one. So she canceled hers, and she and her husband voted in-person. But she said her daughter, a college student in Nashville, didn’t get to vote at all.

“She has no way of voting, because she’s there and she never received her absentee ballot,” she said.

Rowland said she’s worried about her vote being counted, too.

“It was very disconcerting to arrive at the voting location and not have voting machines that worked,” she said.

Molly Samuel

Smoother Than Past Years

3:53 p.m. Brian Edwards voted in Cobb County this morning. He said four years ago, he waited in line for five and a half hours to vote early at a different polling location in Cobb. But today he had no wait — and there were refreshments for voters.

“It was great,” he said. “There was no lines. I walked right in, got my identification verified, and walked right to the polling booth.”

Molly Samuel

Minimal Wait Times In Metro Atlanta, 2 DeKalb Locations Extend Hours Due To Late Openings

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

3:45 p.m. Wait times at polling places have been minimal across much of metro Atlanta on Tuesday.

It comes after a record-setting early voting period that included more than 2.6 million in-person votes and 1.2 two million absentee ballots cast.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says fewer people showing up to vote on Election Day, plus more experienced poll workers have made for a smooth day so far.

“Then it got back to training and training and training,” said Raffensperger. “The counties did, Dominion Voting System, to make sure that everyone had that hands-on training because you can never train enough.”

In DeKalb County, voting location at Valley Brook Baptist Church will stay open until 7:40 p.m. and at Obama Elementary School until 7:45 p.m., per a judge’s order. Those two sites opened late this morning.

Spalding and Morgan counties did see significant issues earlier in the day with the voter check-in process, but those issues have largely been resolved.

Raffensperger encouraged those with absentee ballots that haven’t been returned to their counties to make use of an absentee ballot drop box by 7 p.m. for it to be counted.

“Every day we’ve been very consistent. If you have an absentee ballot, please send it in,” said Raffensperger. “And so, we want to make sure that message is getting out. We’re doing everything we can do get people to turn those in.”

Emil Moffatt

‘Efficient And Friendly’ In DeKalb

2:16 p.m. Dan Schadler says he voted in less than 10 minutes this morning at Huntley Hills Elementary School in DeKalb County.

“There was a steady flow of voters but no real line,” he said. “The poll workers were efficient and friendly.”

Molly Samuel

Gwinnett Monitor’s View

(Courtesy of Scott Chapman)

1:24 p.m. Scott Chapman, volunteering as an outside polling monitor in Gwinnett County, said he had just met a “very excited” 52-year-old first-time voter.

Earlier, he said a line of about 30 people was moving a little slowly, but, “Things are quiet now. No line at this precinct.”

Molly Samuel

In Douglas County, Volunteer Looks For Lines

1:17 p.m. While voters in some precincts have experienced long lines, in many places, things have gone smoothly.

Jim Davis of Kennesaw volunteered this morning to bring supplies to people who were waiting in voting lines, but he says he didn’t find any.

“We were all over Douglas County this morning, and there were no lines anywhere,” he said. “So it looks like things are happening. Looks like people are able to get in, get out and vote pretty quickly and pretty efficiently.”

Molly Samuel

Update From Fulton County

10:20 a.m. Fulton County is happy with how lines are moving through the morning, says elections director Richard Barron.

“I would think that after 5 p.m. when people get off work, we could start seeing lines again between 5-7 p.m.,” said Barron, who credits early voting efforts with keeping the lines down. “We voted 315,000 people during early voting and 140,000 absentee by mail turned in so far.”

About problems at Morris Brandon Elementary School: “They have been resolved. A couple of the poll pads had issues and they were able to fix that. I don’t know the exact nature of it, but I do know that they fixed it.”

Emil Moffatt

Update from Spalding County

The line at a polling place in Spalding County, where machines just started working after a glitch brought them down county-wide this morning. (Stephannie Stokes/WABE)

Voting machines at one Spalding County polling place were back up just after 10 a.m Tuesday. The line at the Spalding County Fire Department had begun moving, although a poll worker was resetting machines after each vote inside.

All of the people at that polling place, and the 18 others in the county, had the option to vote paper ballots but they chose not to at the fire station.

Mike Provau, a 60-year-old disabled veteran says he was worried his paper ballot would get lost. He says he wants to make sure his vote is counted. He got here at 7:15 a.m. and says he would wait all day.

Stephannie Stokes

Issues Reported In Metro Atlanta

8:41 a.m. A couple of issues have been reported at polls around metro Atlanta on Tuesday.

Things appeared to be running smoothly in Fulton County, except at one polling place. Machines were down at Morris Brandon Elementary in northwest Atlanta. Technicians had been called to that precinct.

Spalding county was experiencing a glitch that has brought voting machines down county wide, elections supervisor Marcia Ridley told WSB. Provisional ballots are being sent to all precincts there so residents can still vote as the county awaits a fix for the issue.

9:15 a.m. Voting machines were back up at Morris Brandon Elementary after some voters used emergency paper ballots.

Processing Absentee Ballots

Workers process absentee ballots in Georgia.
Workers process absentee ballots in Georgia. A record 1.78 million absentee ballots were requested for this election. More than 1.2 million of those ballots have been cast so far, also a record. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

8 a.m As voters head to the polls on Election Day, workers are behind the scenes processing thousands of absentee ballots.

A record 1.78 million absentee ballots were requested for this election. More than 1.2 million of those ballots have been cast so far, also a record. While some voters have canceled their absentee ballots and voted in person, thousands are still outstanding and have to be returned to their elections office, in person or at any county drop box location by 7 p.m.

Counties have had the ability to process the ballots for the past two weeks and elections officials believe this head start will mean timely election results — either late tonight or sometime Wednesday morning.

Emil Moffatt

 

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