Early voting ends this week
Advance voting is available 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. weekdays through Friday at the elections office, 204 W. Memorial Drive, Hinesville or the Midway Municipal Courtroom, 10490 E. Oglethorpe Highway, Midway.
Voters hoping to skip lines at next week’s election have until Friday to vote early — but there’s no guarantee it will take less time than casting a ballot Nov. 6.
Around lunchtime Monday, Al and Wynde Wood tried to vote on their lunch breaks, but were deterred by the crowd inside the Liberty County Board of Elections building in Hinesville.
“We already know who we’re going to vote for, so we just wanted to beat the lines,” Wynde Wood said. “We’ll come back this afternoon when we have more time.”
The couple said this year marks their first attempt at voting early, and they anticipate a great turnout at the polls for those who support both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
“I want my vote in,” said Wynde Wood, adding that she does not plan to vote for the incumbent.
The Woods are not alone in their quest to beat the crowds.
By Monday, 20 percent of the 30,832 eligible registered voters in Liberty County had cast ballots, according to data from Liberty County elections supervisor Ella Golden.
“I can say it’s really going well,” Golden said. “We have been voting a great number of people, estimating about 400 a day.”
In Hinesville, 5,110 voters cast early ballots, and 1,123 voted at the Midway location.
And Saturday, 413 cast their ballots downtown and 133 did in Midway.
“I had a line out the door at 9 o’clock,” Golden said. “We were busy all day long until 4.”
Those planning to cast their early ballots Friday must be inside the building or waiting in line by 5 p.m., Golden said. If they do not make that cutoff, they will have to vote Nov. 6.
Golden said early voter turnout was about the same during the 2004 and 2008 elections, but it’s much greater than during the July 31 local primary and T-SPLOST vote.
Randolph Scott cast his ballot around noon Monday. The process took about three minutes from start to finish, he said.
Nearby, Richard Richardson spoke about his reason for voting early.
“It’s simple; you’ve got to vote,” he said. “And you’ve got to vote for Obama.
“Me personally, I’m eager to get it over with so people can get on with their lives, … no matter who’s president, no matter who becomes president, we’ve still got to keep going — work, life,” he added. “It ain’t going to make a difference — jobs have got to come back, no matter who’s president.”
An Oct. 25 news release from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office said more than 688,388 statewide ballots have been cast, with 568,057 of those voting in person.
Another 97,413 absentee ballots are outstanding. Counties with the highest early turnout are Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Henry, according to the release.
Liberty County Democratic Party Chairman Charles Frasier said the party headquarters on Highway 84 in Flemington has drawn people who want to purchase campaign items such as yard signs.
“We’re doing quite nicely, and we’re prepared to get the vote out next week … we are constantly encouraging people to vote early,” he said.
Based on the early vote turnout, Frasier anticipates between 15,000 and 16,000 Liberty County voters will show Nov. 6.
“If we can get to 15,000, we’ll be quite happy with that,” Frasier said. “I think, just gauging from the group that we’ve seen in early voting, I think that we’re going to have a tremendous turnout on the Democratic side.”
The Courier was not able to reach Liberty County Republican Party Chairman John Wood at press time.