Early Voting Snarled in US State of Georgia

Early voting in the U.S. presidential election in the southern state of Georgia was snarled for a couple hours Monday before the electronic pollbooks were fixed and voting resumed.Hundreds of voters showed up on the state’s first day of early balloting three weeks ahead of the national Election Day on Nov. 3 to determine the contest between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, and races for seats representing the state in Congress.Early voting has now started in 40 of the 50 U.S. states and election officials say more than 7.3 million people have cast ballots, an indication of widespread interest in the Trump-Biden contest for a new four-year term in the White House.In Atlanta, the Georgia capital and the state’s biggest city, some voters showed up before dawn to be among the first in line.Calvin Stalling, of Atlanta wears a “Black Lives Matter” mask while he waits in a line to vote early at the State Farm Arena on Oct. 12, 2020.Some people were able to vote right away at the State Farm Arena where the city’s professional basketball team plays, but the line of voters quickly ground to a halt as glitches materialized in the electronic pollbooks used to check in voters. It was the largest early voting site in the state, with 300 voting stations set up.But by midmorning, election officials resolved issues with the pollbooks and voting resumed.”We’re disappointed that it happened,” Steve Koonin, the basketball team’s chief executive, told reporters. But he noted that there are still plenty of early voting days remaining before the official Election Day in three weeks.State election officials also reported long lines of voters elsewhere in Georgia, in addition to problems with the balky pollbooks.Millions of Americans are voting early, either in person or by mail, to avoid long lines on Nov. 3 at traditional polling places and coming face to face with other voters amid the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.Biden has endorsed early voting, but Trump has offered a mixed view.Trump says absentee voting is legitimate for people who request a mail-in ballot. But the president has assailed state elections officials who have mailed ballots to all voters in their states, saying, without evidence, that it will lead to massive fraud and an election outcome rigged against him.

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