State officials are working to overcome the problemsBy Valencia Jones

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said, as of Wednesday morning, more than 241,000 early voters had cast their ballots. “Georgians are getting out to vote in record numbers,” Raffensperger said.

He said 1.6 million voters had requested absentee ballots, and nearly 500,000 had sent them in. “I am so excited that our voters are so enthusiastic about this election cycle and that they’re getting out to vote,” he said.

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Raffensperger said social distancing and having to wipe down equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to some of the long lines, and so has the limited bandwidth, because of the large turnout.

“Our vendor’s been working on that, along with our staff, to make sure we’re looking at some other optimizations also, and we’ll probably have that done by the end of this week,” he said.

Staff members also have to mark people off the list who originally requested absentee ballots but now want to vote in person.

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Non-partisan voter advocate groups, like the New Georgia Project, said they’re watching the process. CW69 spoke with the organization in June for a story recapping the problematic Primary Election.

“Yes, there are deficiencies in Georgia’s election system. Yes, we are working to advocate, and in some instances sue, to get them fixed,” said New Georgia Project CEO Nse Ufot.

Ufot said they’re encouraged to know there’s a plan in place, in terms of Raffensperger’s plan to provide options for voters. Their main focus is to continue getting people to vote, whether it’s in person or by mail or absentee voting.

“One of the goals of voter suppression is not to just block people from participating, but to discourage people from participating,” she said.

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Voter advocates are hoping people won’t be discouraged by prior issues at polling locations, and they’re still encouraging them to vote early and well before Election Day on November 3.