MARIETTA — Following a record-breaking day for Georgia voter turnout on Monday, Cobb County residents waited in line for up to five hours to cast ballots in person on Tuesday.
The line at the Cobb County main office on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta stretched across the front of the building, and the facility’s parking lot did not have enough spaces for all the cars that turned up on Tuesday afternoon. Voters arrived before the polls opened at 7 a.m., and some residents who arrived in the morning did not leave the facility until the early afternoon.
Vanessa Howard, a Kennesaw resident who has lived in the county for eight years, said she arrived at the polling place around 8:50 a.m. and waited more than four hours to vote. Howard, who came to the polling place with her daughter, Asa Howard, said she voted in-person to ensure the elections office would receive her ballot before election day in November.
“We wanted to make sure our votes were cast,” Howard said, “and we were afraid of what the lines would look like on Nov. 3.”
According to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, 128,000 Georgia voters went to the polls on Monday, a record-shattering turnout for early voting. On the first day of early voting in 2016, 91,000 voters turned out to cast ballots.
The trend of long lines and large voter turnout appeared to continue on Tuesday. According to the county’s polling wait time tracker, available online at cobbelections.org, early polling places saw long lines ranging from one to five hours. At 12:30 on Tuesday afternoon, the tracker estimated a five-hour wait at the main office in Marietta, a four-hour wait at the Smyrna Community Center and a two hour wait at the East Cobb Government Service Center.
At Marietta’s main office on Tuesday, several voters said they would wait as long as it took in order to vote. Torre Fant, a construction worker and a Marietta resident, waited more than three hours before getting close to the building’s front doors. Fant said he would wait in any conditions, including rain or snow, to vote in person.
“We wanted to make sure our vote counts,” Fant said. “I don’t trust the absentee ballot. They’re already talking about they’re going to try to dispute the absentee ballots or try to remove them off the rolls. We’re not going for that. We’ll do it in person. I’ll stand in line for 10 hours and vote to make sure it counts.”
Fant’s comments come after President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked voting by mail, claiming that particular voting method would lead to fraud.
DeMarcus Walker, a 44-year-old Powder Springs resident who votes in every election, said he considered voting by mail, but ultimately decided to vote in person. Walker, wearing a face covering featuring the words “Good Trouble,” a slogan of the late Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, said he came to the polls early because he expects the lines to be even longer on election day.
“Hopefully I’ll just be out here for a couple hours and get it done,” Walker said.”
Joshua Tyler, a 29-year-old nurse who lives in Kennesaw, also expects election day lines to stretch even longer, so he arrived at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to vote. He did not leave the Marietta office until about 2 p.m.
“I just feel like the wait times are ridiculous,” Tyler said. “This is the longest line I’ve ever waited in (to vote).”
Advance voting continues throughout Cobb until Oct. 30, the Friday before election day. Polling locations include the main office in Marietta, the West Cobb Regional Library in Kennesaw, The Art Place Blackbox Theatre in Marietta, the East Cobb Government Service Center, Riverside EpiCenter in Austell and more. Additional information, including polling dates and times, is available online at cobbelections.org.