Election results for part of Georgia were delayed by a burst water pipe in Fulton County’s State Farm Arena, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday. Fulton is Georgia’s largest county, and one elections official said the delay could slow down the statewide results in a tightly contested state.
The burst happened in a room where absentee ballots were being counted, but no ballots were damaged, according to AJC reporter Ben Brasch.
Officials: We won't have the vote count we expected tonight in Fulton County, home to Atlanta and a tenth of all Georgians. Absentee-by-mail processing at State Farm Arena was delayed 4 hours because a water pipe burst in a room. Officials say no ballots were damaged. @ajc #gapol
— Ben Brasch (@ben_brasch) November 4, 2020
Fulton County election officials didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Officials were hoping to have “at least three-quarters of the vote count by 11 p.m.,” but the pipe burst meant that may not happen.
Because of this, the county may not be able to get these results in until Friday, elections board member Mark Wingate told the newspaper, although Fulton County Registration and Elections Director Richard Barron said in a press conference that “it will have zero effect on results.”
The Candidates Are Head-to-Head in Georgia
For almost three decades, Georgia has been a red state, supporting Republican presidential candidates.
Georgia polls will begin to close at 7 p.m. Eastern time, but some counties, including Fulton County, have extended their voting hours due to the water burst.
“I think the sooner we can get results that are accurate out to everyone, I think that helps calm things down. And it really just gives people that sense of comfort that there is a safe, secure assessment process in place,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told ABC News earlier in the week.
Ahead of the November 3 Election Day, both parties campaigned aggressively in the state, which will be pivotal in the election. Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, stopped by on Sunday, just a few days after Biden had visited. Trump held one of his 32 rallies in the state in Rome, Georgia, on Sunday as well. He managed to hold 32 rallies in five days. And former President Barack Obama dropped by on Monday to support Biden.
“We win Georgia, we win everything,” Biden said at his drive-in rally in Georgia last week, according to USA Today.
Georgia is still considered an unfamiliar position of a battleground state. Just like North Carolina, Texas and Arizona, Georgia is a state whose culture seems to be changing as younger, diverse and more progressive voters move into the urban areas. This could outweigh more rural and conservative voters.
Brief History of Georgia Voting
Georgia hasn’t gone for the Democratic candidate since 1992, when Bill Clinton ran for president. In Clinton’s reelection campaign, the state supported Republican Bob Dole, but he lost.
Prior to the 2016 election results, polling showed Trump leading Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton. He then went on to win the state by 5 percentage points.
In the state of Georgia alone, more than 3.9 million people voted early, close to the total number of votes cast in 2016, when about 4.1 million voted. Early in-person voting ended Friday and at least another 2 million voters were expected on Election Day.