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Georgia's pandemic primary was a disaster. Experts fear the state is still vulnerable to a repeat.

October 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The long lines and absentee ballot snags that plagued Georgia's June primary were just the latest problems in a state that has become a ground-zero for voting issues. While changes were made in its aftermath, some fear the state remains unprepared.

And with the secretary of state's office saying it expects heavy turnout again on November 3, plus a new voting system in use statewide, some fear Georgia is at risk of another election meltdown.

In the months since, the secretary of state's office and the counties have worked to ramp up capacity to process absentee ballot applications and push voters to utilize early voting sites.

In Fulton County, the goal is to get 80% of the county's registered voters to vote absentee or in early voting before November 3, in the hopes that they can ward off another overwhelming Election Day crush at the polls.

Though Fulton County has seen its share of early voting lines -- plus a technical glitch that briefly halted voter check-in at its massive State Farm Arena site -- neighboring Gwinnett County has experienced some of the state's longest wait times so far.

Long lines in early voting aren't the same as on Election Day. Since voters can choose to vote at any location in the county where they're registered in early voting, large numbers converging on one site can create long lines, unlike on Election Day, where voters are spaced out and can vote only at their assigned precincts.

Though other states and counties use BMDs, Georgia is the only state that uses the Dominion systems statewide, according to the nonpartisan election technology tracking organization Verified Voting.

In conclusion, Totenberg wrote, "Plaintiffs' challenge to the State of Georgia's new ballot marking device QR barcode-based computer voting system and its scanner and associated software presents serious system security vulnerability and operational issues that may place Plaintiffs and other voters at risk of deprivation of their fundamental right to cast an effective vote that is accurately counted. "

In response to emailed questions about the reliability of the state's BMDs, Dominion Vice President for Government Affairs Kay Stimson said, "Implementing a new, statewide voting system across all of Georgia's 159 counties in a major presidential election year would have been challenging even without the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disrupted training efforts and left some counties with significant poll worker shortages.

But election administration experts have concerns that the state's counties do not have adequate backup plans for a worst-case scenario on Election Day -- i. e. , a widespread voting machine outage.

Fulton County's Rick Barron said it will go above the 10% requirement and will stock enough paper ballots for 20% of voters on Election Day.

it's not like this came as a shock, like 'Oh my goodness, we have to wait a long time,' " said Gayle B. , a resident of southwest Atlanta in Fulton County who says she waited five and a half hours at an early voting location in the June primary.

Rosemary Blankson was one of hundreds of voters who lined up before the polls opened Monday outside State Farm Arena -- the largest polling place in the state, with 300 voting machines -- for the first day of early voting.

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