A burst pipe in the ceiling of Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, where Fulton County election officials had set up their vote-counting command center this fall, was perhaps the easiest of the challenges the staff faced in this singular year.
Water splattering on the floor halted counting for two hours on Election Day, but it didn’t damage any ballots. And it was nothing compared to the seemingly Augean task of processing nearly 150,000 mail ballots, the unfounded accusations of fraud, the physical threats and the online harassment — and the distinctly racial overtones of mostly White protesters outside the building hurling unfounded accusations of wrongdoing as a largely Black staff of election officials inside methodically counted ballots.
In the background was an anxious nation hitting “refresh” on their devices for the latest vote tallies, desperate to know who the next president would be, their eyes trained on Georgia and a handful of other states like no election in history.
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