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Voters Turn Out For Georgia's High-Profile Governor's Race

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The day is finally upon us - Election Day. And this morning we're getting updates from polling places around the country. And we're going to head now to Georgia where we have seen an all-star lineup campaigning for the candidates who are vying to become governor. President Trump traveled there to rally for Republican candidate Brian Kemp - so did Vice President Mike Pence. Former President Obama and Oprah were among those who've turned out for Democrat Stacey Abrams. If Abrams wins, she would become the nation's first African-American woman elected governor. Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler is at a polling station in East Atlanta at this very moment. And he joins us on the line. Hey, Stephen.

STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So I know it's still early, but how are things looking?

FOWLER: Well, there are about 75 or so people in line at my polling place. They've been that way since before 7. People are handing out free donuts. And there are a lot of umbrellas because there is a slight threat of rain to happen. But people here are not deterred.

MARTIN: What are they telling you? What is bringing people out today?

FOWLER: People are out today because this gubernatorial race in particular is one that's kind of polarizing and dividing people - motivating them to participate in democracy. Some key issues here are voting rights, healthcare, with the Medicaid expansion and other things, and really keeping Georgia's economy growing - is what people are saying that I've been talking to in line.

MARTIN: I mentioned that this race has brought high-profile supporters for the Republican and the Democrat. Does that make a difference? I mean, is that - when you hear Barack Obama come out for Abrams or President Trump and Mike Pence come out for Kemp, is that jazzing those voters?

FOWLER: So both parties are really jazzed by these candidates and their celebrity endorsements, high-profile endorsements. People waited almost 24 hours in line to see President Obama last week. People waited almost 24 hours to see President Trump over the weekend. And these surrogates for these candidates really - they're just, you know, making people happy and excited - saying, ah, this candidate is who Barack Obama endorses. Ah, this candidate is who President Trump endorses. So it just makes people think, you know, this is a race worth participating in.

MARTIN: Are people telling you, as many have noted, that they're voting because of how they feel about the president? Is this a referendum as they see it on his performance?

FOWLER: I think this is more about Georgia. But that's - yeah, I think it's more about Georgia than the president.

MARTIN: All right. We're checking in with polling places around the country - Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler for us in Atlanta. Thanks so much.

FOWLER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.