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Georgia polling stations extend closing times amid long lines

Georgia polling stations extend closing times amid long lines

Georgia extended closing times for a number of polling stations in counties in and around Atlanta amid reports of long lines and issues with voting machines. 

Fulton County extended voting until 9 p.m. ET, DeKalb County extended voting until as late as 10:10 p.m. and Gwinnett County, just outside Atlanta, said voters could cast ballots until 7:30 p.m. Polls were initially set to close at 7 p.m. throughout the state.

A judge also allowed Muscogee County, which includes Columbus, to keep polling places open until 9 p.m.

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The extensions follow an avalanche of criticism over Georgia’s handling of its primaries Tuesday, with voters complaining of long lines and malfunctioning voting machines in and around Atlanta. Reports emerged of voters leaving polling stations before casting their ballots.

The criticism has particularly focused on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), with some noting that the issues at voting places were concentrated in more diverse areas and less so in white neighborhoods.

Kemp narrowly beat Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2018, with Abrams and Democrats later claiming voter suppression had taken place. 

“Today we are watching a conscious disregard for Georgians by Kemp and Raffensperger; from lack of preparation to lack of responsibility, showing that these folks are not what this great state is about,” tweeted Nse Ufot, executive director of The New Georgia Project, which works to mobilize young voters of color.

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Raffensperger dismissed claims he was responsible for the issues, instead laying the blame at the feet of local officials. 

In a statement to Politico, Raffensperger said the "voting situation today in certain precincts in Fulton and DeKalb counties is unacceptable" and that his office has "opened an investigation to determine what these counties need to do to resolve these issues before November’s election." 

The issues at polling stations come as the state grapples with an influx of mail-in ballots, sparking speculation that results from the contests could be delayed. More than 940,000 absentee ballots were returned as of Monday, setting a record.