Hours of waiting mark first day of early voting in US state of Georgia

High turnout thought to be good news for Democrats

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Thousands of US voters stood in long lines on Monday as they tried to cast their ballots in the swing state of Georgia.

Long queues were reported most of Georgia’s 159 counties, with each having at least one early voting location.

Videos on social media showed lines of people circling around parking lots.

Some brought snacks and others chairs as they waited between one and six hours to have their say. Some came as early as 4am.

The wait is a reflection of high turnout in a close race between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, and of technical glitches with voting machines.

One woman tweeted that it took her three hours to vote in Fulton county where a glitch was reported.

The Atlanta Journal  reported on technical problems in the metro area of Georgia's largest city.

CBS reported on technical problems in several locations. In Cobb and Gwinnett counties, waiting time was over six hours.

Both campaigns sent their surrogates to the southern state.

Mr Biden’s spouse, Jill, landed in Atlanta and encouraged people to vote.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, went to a rally in Savannah.

High turnout in Georgia, where polls show a dead heat race between Mr Trump and Mr Biden, will be welcome news for Democrats.

No Democratic candidate has won the state since 1992 and Hillary Clinton lost the race there by five points.

But recent polls by companies including Quinnipiac has shown Mr Biden holds a three-point lead.

The state is also holding two Senate races, both showing close competition between Democrats and Republicans.

While election day is not until November 3, all 50 states will have ballots available for early voters by the end of this week.

Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming were among the first to start the process of early voting.

Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas will all open early voting this week.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump returns to the campaign trail on Monday evening at a rally in central Florida.

The president is said to have almost recovered from Covid-19 but the White House did not disclose if he tested negative before the rally.

Mr Biden on Monday visited Ohio, a key swing state that the Democrats lost in 2016.