Will Rain Dampen Voter Turnout for Georgia Senate Runoff?

The resolve of Georgia voters could again be tested in Tuesday’s Senate runoff, with some county officials seeking to manage expectations about wait times to vote, which they said could be significant.

Wait times during early, in-person voting were indeed significant: Some Georgians, especially those in the Atlanta area, waited more than two hours to cast ballots in the nationally-watched contest between Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker.

Both candidates are focused on turning out voters on Tuesday after an early voting period that was cut roughly in half by a new state law passed last year. But the potential for long waits could be an even greater factor, given the weather forecast for Tuesday: a 70 percent chance of rain in Atlanta, according to the National Weather Service.

“We do anticipate lines,” Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez, a spokeswoman for Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, said in an email on Monday. “Elderly voters who are unable to wait in lines should see a poll worker.”

Last Monday, the wait time for early voting was 150 minutes in Alpharetta, Ga., a northern suburb of Atlanta in Fulton County, according to a website that tracks lines at polling places. At the same precinct, the wait was 90 minutes on Wednesday. Early voting ended on Friday.

County officials sought to assure voters that its election department would be fully staffed for Tuesday’s election and said that they would have workers on call as needed. The county will post wait times on its voting app and on its website, Ms. Corbitt-Dominguez said.

Under Georgia’s election rules, as long as voters are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern time, they will be allowed to vote, according to Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for the secretary of state, an office held by Brad Raffensperger, a Republican. Counties will typically send an election worker to stand with the last voter in line, Mr. Hassinger said on Monday.

In Cobb County, which is northwest of Atlanta, Jacquelyn Bettadapur, the chair of the county’s Democratic Party and a statewide poll watcher, said that she did not expect lines there to be an issue.

“Thirty minutes is considered the max that we should tolerate,” Ms. Bettadapur said on Monday. “So if we see wait times of an hour, we’re going to start putting eyes on that and figure out why.”



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