WABE’s Week In Review: Big Turnout For Early Voting In Battleground Georgia

A poll worker at State Farm Arena checks in a voter on the first day of early voting in Georgia.
A poll worker at State Farm Arena checks in a voter on the first day of early voting in Georgia.
Credit Emil Moffatt / WABE
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Early voting began in Georgia on Monday, and WABE went live from State Farm Arena, Georgia’s largest polling place. The local hosts of “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” – Lisa Rayam and Jim Burress— set up at the Arena and spoke to poll workers, elections officials and voters.

“This is my third stop,” said Fulton county resident Bobbie Thomas, who wore a black sequined dress with ‘VOTE’ in red letters written across it. “I stopped near my home, and I was told there was a two-and-a-half-hour wait. So, OK, go to work and then go back out. And then I went to the High Museum, of course, there was a long line. And then someone said they voted here earlier this morning, and it took just minutes.”

“It’s an untapped resource I think people need to know about,” said D’Artonya Graham, who came with her daughter. “We’ve been in here maybe seven minutes. What I think took the longest was trying to find my name with the apostrophe.”

Graham says her daughter is voting in her first-ever presidential election.

Pressing Hard to Change the Suburban Vote… 

Early voting got underway in Georgia this week.

As early voting gets underway in Georgia and the presidential election stretches into its final weeks, both parties are targeting suburban voters. From our America Amplified initiative, Roxanne Scott tells us about a group of South Asian women working to flip the suburbs from red to blue.

How Will Voters Vote? 

With the 2020 general election just weeks away, efforts to get people to vote are in overdrive. As Emil Moffatt reports, the coronavirus pandemic, expected record turnout, and new voting machines are forcing many people in Georgia to rethink how they will vote.  

Two Runoffs for Georgia’s U.S. Senate Seats? 

Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue came face-to-face (virtually) in a debate this week. (Associated Press)

Not only was this the first week of early voting in Georgia, it was also the first time Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue have come face-to-face (virtually) in a debate. The Atlanta Press Club event was, at times, contentious. The debate was the first of three scheduled in the race and included Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel, who is polling very low. But Hazel could get enough of the vote that the close race between Ossoff and Perdue go to a runoff in January.

Georgia’s other U.S. Senate seat is a free-for-all race and has 21 candidates. Recent polling had Democrat Raphael Warnock ahead of Republicans Kelly Loeffler and Doug Collins. The race is likely to go to a runoff as well, as Georgia is the only state in the country to require a majority to win in a general election.

Depending on how U.S. Senate races go in the rest of the country, Georgia could be determining the majority party in the U.S. Senate in January if both of the races end up as close as recent polling suggests.

Changing  Medicaid in Georgia…

Gov. Brian Kemp signs health care overhaul
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma sign health care waivers at the state Capitol in Atlanta Thursday. (Jeff Amy/Associated Press)

Federal officials have approved part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to reshape Georgia’s health care landscape. State officials expect the other parts of Kemp’s plan to get the green light soon. The first part of the plan would offer health coverage to people who make up to 100% of the federal poverty level and work at least 80 hours a month starting July 1 of next year.