For the early bird, Deborah Marshall says, it's the perfect voting opportunity.
Jim Tate, a new resident to Columbia County, registers to vote at the Board of Elections office in Evans. Advance voting will take place from Monday through Oct. 29 at the Board of Elections office.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Starting Monday and lasting through Oct. 29, registered voters will have the opportunity to participate in advance voting at the Columbia County Board of Elections office before the Nov. 2 general election.
"It's basically been pretty popular,'' said Marshall, the executive director of the Board of Elections office.
She said registered voters need no excuse to vote the week before the general election and can do so anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at her office at the Evans Government Complex on Ronald Reagan Drive.
It's the fifth time the advance voting week has been offered in the county. During this year's primary, Marshall said, 895 people turned out for advance voting week. This time, she said, she expects more than 1,000 people to show up and vote early.
Overall, Marshall said, she expects voter turnout will be high because of the presidential race.
"I'm going to predict 70 percent,'' she said.
For the 2000 general election, the turnout of registered voters in Columbia County was 64 percent.
This year, she said, voting shouldn't take as long because the ballot has fewer questions. Besides political races, the ballot includes questions about two state amendments and a nonbinding referendum about whether there should be a countywide chairman for the county's Board Of Education.
"We've got a fairly short ballot this time,'' Marshall said, adding that a general election ballot typically has about 10 amendment questions. "Actually, this is a whole lot better. It doesn't take that long.''
Voters in Districts 5 and 2 will be asked to vote on a new school board member, with LouAnne Grove and Mike Sleeper seeking the seat currently held by Lee Muns in District 5, and incumbent Wayne Bridges facing a challenge from Donnie Porter in District 2. Republican Jim Whitehead, who defeated incumbent Joey Brush in the GOP primary July 20, will face Democrat Chuck Pardue for the 24th District state Senate race.
In the future, Marshall said, her office might consider expanding its locations for where advance voting can take place. The earliest that more locations could be offered would be in 2006 when state elections take place.
For this year's election, she said, absentee voting is still available until 5 p.m. Nov. 1. To vote absentee, the voter must either be 75 years or older, be physically disabled, be required to be on duty for a health or public safety job or be out of town on election day.
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