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Officials say procedure essential in voting
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Election officials are predicting record-breaking voter turnout this season and, in order to keep foot traffic flowing and cast their ballots, the public will have to follow the correct procedures.
Carol Edwards knew he would be out of town on Election Day and wanted to make sure he correctly voted by absentee ballot.
Edwards thought he was following the absentee ballot application and submission guidelines, but said he needed to talk to someone at the elections office for clarification.
"This is a very important election and I wanted to vote and wasn't totally ready to commit when I went over there," Edwards said.
He thought he could hand deliver his absentee ballot application, but learned he had to mail in the form.
Liberty County elections supervisor Ella Golden said the office follows Georgia code and the procedures from the Secretary of State.
Edwards complied, but said he thinks the law is open to interpretation.
"It really doesn't make much sense to me," Edwards said. "The way the code was made, I should have been able to turn it in then ... especially when the top of the form said I could."
The military retiree said he wasn't complaining, but thinks voting should be as easy as possible.
He is worried that situations like his could discourage people from voting at all.
"It's not an end-of-the-world situation," he said. "I just feel any time you complicate things a little bit, some people say 'Well, it's not worth it.'"
Georgia Southern University political science professor Dr. Erik Brooks said voters this election season are determined to do whatever is necessary to make their voice heard.
Brooks said the economy and a minority candidate both will serve as driving factors for voters.
"I think a lot people are angry with the executive branch and they have sort of this "Let's throw the bums out" mentality," Brooks said. "Cloaked in the economy issue are health care and energy."
Georgia typically isn't a battleground state, but Brooks said this election makes it anyone's game.
"This is the first viable African American candidate and certainly the African American portion of the electorate is most likely going to turn out to cast in their vote," Brooks said.
"This will also motivate the portion of the electorate who do not wish to see an African American to hold the highest office in the land to vote also," he added.
Golden, whose office saw a tremendous turnout of last-minute voter registrations Monday, said the public is taking advantage of early voting.
"They are getting their vote cast," Golden said. "Any time there's a presidential election, there's great interest."
Golden encourages the public to call the office at 876-3310 with questions.
Early voting continues through Oct. 31.
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