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Shorter waits expected at polls
Steven mullice
Stephen Mullice - photo by Courier file photo
Following numerous complaints from residents about the cumbersome navigation of multiple voting lines and wait times ranging from 50 minutes to three hours during November’s regular election, local election officials are assuring Hinesville residents it will not be more of the same for next week’s runoff voting.
Liberty County Board of Elections and Registration Chairman Stephen Mullice said voters should have a much easier time at the polls on Dec. 4 because voting this time around does not include additional county or city ballot questions, which was the source of residents' frustration last month.
A city referendum on Sunday alcohol sales and two countywide questions on amending the local homestead exemption rule were added to the election equation only weeks before the Nov. 6 voting date. Without sufficient time to add the two questions on the ballot already formatted for municipal seat races, officials were forced to create three different ballots for voters.
Three separate ballots led to three separate voting lines, which led to hundreds of confused and annoyed voters inside the Charles M. Shuman Recreation Center gymnasium on election night.
“This time,” Mullice explained, “the only thing (Hinesville residents) will be voting for is the mayor for the City of Hinesville and two council seats.”
And with only one ballot and just voters in districts three and four voting in the unsettled city council races, LCBoER member Gene Mobley said the voting process should be quicker since most residents will only be eligible to vote in one race — the citywide mayoral runoff.
Additionally, Liberty County Chief Registrar Ella Golden said a total of 21 voting machines will be set up inside the Shuman Center to handle the estimated 2,500 voters officials hope return to the polls and bring a few friends with them.
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