- U.S. citizens who’ve registered to vote are facing increasingly long waiting times to cast their ballots
- In-person early voting began in many states earlier this week, including in Georgia where long lines were recorded at multiple polling places
- The huge wait times are being blamed on glitches in voting machines, increased turnout and understaffing
- Voters may also be swayed by the U.S. President’s concerns around mail-in voting, with Donald Trump labelling the system corrupt
- It’s estimated 10.6 million Americans have already voted in the election, compared to 1.6 million during the same period in 2016
Voters in the U.S. are facing increasingly long wait times as they try to cast their ballots in the Presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
In-person early voting began in a number of U.S. states at the start of the week, including in Georgia where long lines were recorded at multiple polling places.
One man went viral for his experience in Atlanta, Georgia, where he waited over 11 hours to cast his vote on Tuesday.
Now at 11hrs in line but we are next! A long journey but wouldn’t be anywhere else! Please vote everyone! pic.twitter.com/ifRcbK1XRm— Johnta Austin (@johntalsr) October 12, 2020
Similar experiences were recorded in states such as Texas, Ohio and Virginia, who also allow early in-person voting.
The long wait times have been chalked up to a number of different issues, but in Georgia, it’s primarily being blamed on understaffing at polling places and glitches with voting machines.
A collective sigh of frustrationby some voters as a arena official explains the issue with the machines. He said there’s a software issue countywide. He said they have identified issue and working to figure it out. #11Alive pic.twitter.com/boNycsulCo— Nick Sturdivant (@N_SturdivantTV) October 12, 2020
In addition, researchers last year concluded majority-black neighbourhoods faced 29 per cent increases in wait times, compared to primarily white neighbourhoods.
Georgia’s black community makes up an estimated one-third of the state’s entire population.
The issue isn’t just racial though — the long wait times witnessed in recent days are also being attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased voter turnout.
The pandemic appears to have prompted some voters to attend polling places which opened early, in a bid to avoid election day crowds.
Evidence out of the U.S. shows there has been a massive surge in people casting their ballots, compared to the last election.
A Florida researcher estimates 10.6 million Americans had already cast their votes by October 14, compared to 1.6 million by October 16, back in 2016.
The increase in early voting isn’t solely due to COVID-19, but can also be attributed to concerns mail-in ballots may be corrupt.
Current President Donald Trump has been extremely vocal in his claims mail-in votes are fraudulent, despite studies finding no evidence of this.
This is happening all over the U.S. Rigged Election??? https://t.co/MG0d9xUH1Z— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2020
In total, roughly 130 million people voted in the 2016 Presidential election — the 2020 election is tipped to widely exceed those numbers if voters continue to turn up in high numbers.
Americans will officially find out who their new leader is for the next four years on Tuesday, November 3.