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DeLoach speaks out on voter information

Voters need to take the time to educate themselves about the candidates and issues on the ballot prior to entering the polls to vote, Bulloch County Election Superintendent Lee DeLoach said Thursday in front of a group of senior citizens.
    "You, as a voter, have the responsibility to make sure you're registered, to make sure you know your district you're in and who is running for the county commission or school board and where your polling place is," he said. "It's very important that you do that to make the process work smoothly."
    Early voting for the Nov. 7 general election begins Oct. 30 and runs through Nov. 3 at the Bulloch County Courthouse. Voting will take pace from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and anyone can vote early without having to give a reason.
    Election Day is set for Nov. 7, with Bulloch polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Local elections on the ballot include two contested Bulloch County Commission races. On the state side, voters will pick the next governor, while John Barrow and Max Burns face off for the District 12 Congressional seat.
    DeLoach said many voters don't consider who they're going to vote for until they receive their ballot, which causes delays for others standing in line.
    "If voters are depending on us for information on Election Day, with 25,000 voters, you can imagine how that would bog down the process," he said.
    In addition to discussing the importance of being an educated voter, DeLoach also spoke about the four different way citizens in Georgia have to vote.
    In addition to the conventional way of voting at your precinct on election day, DeLoach said voters could vote an absentee ballot by mail, vote early during the week prior to the election or fill out an absentee ballot on election day if you can't vote at your designated precinct.
    He also said the old regulations regarding voter identification was to be used in November's election.
    DeLoach began overseeing elections 20 years ago when he was first elected as Probate Court judge for Bulloch County and has seen the job grow as the county has grown in population.
    "When I first started, the biggest precinct was at the old Grady Street Gym and we had 11,000 registered voters there," he said. "I had someone tell me that was the largest precinct in the state."
    Since that time, the county has added precincts to more evenly distribute the voters among the polling places.  Now, the largest voting precincts in the county have approximately 3,500 voters.
    DeLoach said the county is reaching the size where an election board is needed to oversee elections.
    "It's almost too much for me to do right now," he said.
    He said larger counties have election boards that focus solely on elections and allows the probate court judge to focus on the other duties associated with that title.

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