Dana Richie

Polls open in Atlanta, Georgia. Voter turnout at four polling locations has been less than expected.

Polling locations in Atlanta experience relatively slow morning

The polls on election day in 2020 look vastly different than other election years; polling locations in Atlanta that are known for long lines forming as soon as polls open remained fairly vacant into the early afternoon.

Many poll workers believe that the decrease in election day turnout is due to a heavier emphasis on early and absentee voting during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Georgia, 3.9 million voters cast their ballots early, which accounts for nearly 51 percent of all registered voters.

“I’m thankful that people took advantage of early voting,” said Raphallia Edwards, manager of Park Tavern polling location. “I am so thankful because it could have been a madhouse out here, and it’s not.”

However, some poll workers predict that voter turnout might swell into the late afternoon and up until polls close at 7 p.m..

“If I had a crystal ball, I could guess the turnout, but I’m not sure,” said Chris Zahniser, poll worker at Howard Middle School. “I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe more people come around lunch time and then more people come at the end of the day just after work. To me, that would be somewhat logical, and it’s been pretty light.”

Though turnout was slower than expected, voters who showed up at the polls were energized and excited to vote.

“I feel like this is one of the most important elections,” voter Monet Loyal said. “I know we always say that, but this election is very very important, and I suggest that everyone go out and exercise their right. That’s the best thing we can do.”

The Southerner visited four polling locations: Park Tavern, Morningside Elementary School’s temporary campus formerly known as Inman Middle School, David T. Howard Middle School and Bunche Middle School to get a glimpse of what voting on election day in 2020 looks like.

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Park Tavern
Morningside Elementary School’s temporary campus
David T. Howard Middle School
Bunche Middle School