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Early voting in Georgia began with long lines and tech issues.

Why long lines in early voting may signal voter suppression

With only 11 days before the 2020 presidential election, more than 2.3 million Georgians have voted. Even more plan to do so before the state's Oct. 30 early-voting deadline. And just as in the primaries earlier this year, Georgia voters experienced extremely long wait times at the polls. On the first day of early voting, some Georgians waited more than eight hours to vote. Voters should never have to take an entire day to participate in democracy.

In response to excessively long lines, Walter Jones, a representative from the Georgia secretary of state's office remarked, "What this means is people are really energized and engaged in this race, and we prepared for it. "

Jones failed to mention that Georgia's extreme wait times are disproportionately affecting Black and Latino voters, or that voter suppression strategies are also drivers of the state's long voting lines. While it's undeniable that states across the country are experiencing record voter turnout in this year's election, we shouldn't ignore the intentional actions taken to suppress the vote. This is a key reason why Black and Latino voters are still waiting in hours-long lines.

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Big Picture
Sergio Flores/Getty Images

The total number of votes cast on the first day of early voting in Austin met or exceeded the previous record.

Long early lines in Texas and Georgia seem more about enthusiasm than suppression

This week's start of in-person voting in a pair of battleground states has produced some of the year's first hints of cautious optimism about electoral democracy's resilience, dispute the extraordinary challenges of a public health crisis and a president fueling doubt about the integrity of the result.

Long lines outside polling places, but only minimal problems inside, continued Wednesday as voting stations were open for a third day in Georgia and the second day in Texas. Both states reported record turnouts for their opening days of early voting.

While tens of thousands queued up at a social distance for several hours to cast ballots at libraries and schools, however, attorneys were in courthouses continuing their partisan war over whether aspects of the election should be made easier in the closing days.

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Newsy

Vote Smarter 2020: Some states allow early voters to change their mind


Newsy's Vote Smarter 2020 series aims to answer your questions about the most unusual election in modern history. From early voting to counting ballots to staying safe at the polls, get all the information you need to successfully cast your ballot this year.

This video is being made available on The Fulcrum through our partnership with Newsy — "delivering news with the why."

Darylann Elmi/Getty Images

Even if Congress doesn't approve more election funding for the states, voters shouldn't panic, writes Trevor Potter.

If coronavirus relief talks end, states will be on their own for the election

President Trump ended negotiations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi over a new Covid-19 economic aid package. Then he urged Congress to immediately pass some spending bills, but excluded funding to states.

Unfortunately, it looks as if state and local governments won't be getting the money needed to cover extra costs for this year's election, for processing a flood of mail-in ballots or new pandemic-related safety protocols. With no additional federal help coming, states are in a hole. Because of the entrenched partisan disputes, some have even turned to private funding.

Election funding was unable to make it through Congress despite overwhelming public support. An online poll for the Campaign Legal Center and Protect Democracy showed 72 percent of likely 2020 voters backed more money for safe and secure elections.

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