Early voting was halted on Thursday in Douglas County, Georgia, as the state experienced power outages while tropical storm Zeta swept across the area.
The news was first reported by WSB-TV reporter Justin Gray. In a tweet, Gray noted that Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffenspeger said that all six early voting locations in Douglas County were offline due to the power outages.
“Due to weather conditions, the Douglas County Board of Elections and Advance Voting is closed today, Thursday, October 29,” the news said in a message later posted on the county’s website. “We will reopen on Friday, October 30.”
Friday is the last day for early voting in Georgia.
“We don’t see the vote having a general impact at this time,” Raffensperger told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We still have the early voting for today’s and tomorrow’s balance sheets and of course the general election on Tuesday,” Raffensperger told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Over 980,000 Georgians experienced power outages when tropical storm Zeta swept over the state. The storm was downgraded from hurricane status after it landed on Wednesday on the southeast coast of Louisiana near Port Fourchon.
Zeta is predicted to bring heavy rains and dangerous gusts of wind at 45 to 70 miles per hour to Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. “The gusts of wind could be particularly severe in the southern Appalachian Mountains,” warned the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
“To date, heavy rainfall is expected near and off Zeta from parts of the central Appalachian Mountains, the central Atlantic and the lower to central Ohio Valley. These rains can cause flash floods, urban, small streams and isolated smaller river floods,” NHC continued.
Raffensperger told the AJC that he had asked Georgia Power, one of the state’s largest electric utilities, to prioritize the restoration of power in areas with polling stations so that elections could resume.
Raffensperger added that the districts may decide to extend the early voting period on Thursday. The polling stations will be closed over the weekend and on the Monday before election day.
The shortfalls are due to the fact that Georgia is experiencing a significant increase in early voting compared to 2016. According to the U.S. Election Project, the state has seen a 32 percent increase in early turnout compared to 2016 and a 72 percent increase in overall turnout by October 29 at 12 noon.
A recent survey conducted by the New York Times and Sienna College found that 77 percent of Georgia’s likely voters plan to personally cast their ballots before the parliamentary elections. Of the 759 responses received, 45 percent indicated that they intended to vote in person during the early voting period planned in Georgia, while 32 percent indicated that they would vote in person on election day.
Raffensperger and Douglas County did not respond in time for publication to Tekk.tv’s request for comment.