Voting delays average 3 hours in Atlanta metro area, watchdog says

The average wait time to vote in the Atlanta metro area on Tuesday is about three hours, according to a government watchdog.

Sara Henderson, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, told The Hill that the group has received reports of "long voter lines because of locations not opening on time, broken voting machines and issues with the state's exact match rules."

The "exact match" law in Georgia marks an applicant’s registration as “pending” if personal information on the voter registration form doesn’t exactly match the information from the state's Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

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Officials in Gwinnett County, which includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metro area, reported earlier Tuesday that four of its precincts were experiencing technical delays.

Henderson said Common Cause's three-hour delay estimate is based off reports coming into election call centers and that unexpectedly high turnout has contributed to the delays.

Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron told reporters on Tuesday that an error in voter registration numbers resulting in the county not ordering enough voting machines.

“I just want to tell the voters there that on behalf of me and my staff, we’re sorry for the mixup,” Barron said.

Fulton County covers downtown Atlanta.

A representative from Henry County, the southernmost county in the Atlanta metro region, told The Hill that their longest reported wait time was 38 minutes.

Joseph Kirk, elections supervisor in nearby Bartow County, told The Hill that the longest wait they've had all day at polling locations is about 45 minutes.

The Hill has reached out to other area elections officials to inquire about any additional delays.

The delays come amid voting in the state's hotly contested governor race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R).

Kemp's role overseeing elections in the state has come under scrutiny, especially after an October news report said 53,000 voter registration applications, most of them from African-Americans, were on hold because of the "exact match" law.

Paulding County reported 2 hour wait times, and had to dispatch additional voting machines to ease lines. 

A representative from Cobb County’s Elections Office said that wait times had been reported between 1.5 and 2 hours. They said that turnout “higher than any mid-term we have ever conducted” meant they did not have enough voting units.

Updated at 9:39 a.m. on Wednesday.