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Early voter turnout record remains in reach
Advanced voting ends 5 p.m. Friday; last Saturday disappointing
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Thursday and Friday are the last two days for in-person advanced voting before Tuesday’s election, with races from president down to county commissioner. Bulloch County has two locations open for voting this week, and despite an off day Saturday, early-voting turnout is within reach of a new record.

Last Saturday, the only day for Saturday voting in the general election, turnout was disappointing in comparison to the Saturday voting four years ago, said county Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones. With two locations open for seven hours Saturday, 591 voters turned out. That was down from 695 Saturday voters in October 2012.


Two days, two sites

Early voting continues at both the County Annex at 113 N. Main St. and the Honey Bowen Building at 1 Max Lockwood Drive, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., this week through Friday. But there will be no more Saturday voting and no other locations.

The total for in-person advanced voting at all sites, as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, was 10,218 voters. When added to the 729 paper absentee ballots returned, the total was 10,947 participating voters so far. This is already a 31.5 percent turnout, but so far hasn’t equaled the 34.8 percent turnout from early and absentee voting in the 2012 presidential election.

“We need about 1,450 voters to beat the 2012 record,” Jones said midafternoon Wednesday.

By the end of the day, the difference was just 1,102.

Actually, if only 699 voters participate these final two days, that would equal the 2012 raw count of 10,917 in-person early voters. But Jones also includes returned absentee ballots in her totals.

Bulloch County’s number of active registered voters has increased from 34,626 in fall 2012 to 34,781 now, affecting turnout percentages slightly.

The location that holds the daily record in early voting this year is the Russell Union at Georgia Southern University. The site accommodated 705 voters one day, 632 the second day and 747 voters the third day, Oct. 25-27, but does not reopen this week. The daily high so far at the County Annex site was 699 voters Friday.

No in-person early voting will be allowed Monday. Tuesday, all 16 Bulloch County precincts will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Paper absentee ballots can be mailed out until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and are accepted if returned by mail or in person to the elections office by the voter, or by a designee for someone with a disability, by the close of voting Tuesday.


Who’s on the ballot

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump appear on Georgia’s presidential ballot page with Libertarian Gary Johnson, each paired with their vice presidential running mates. Green Party nominee Jill Stein did not qualify for the Georgia ballot but is one of 17 recognized presidential write-in candidates.

Moving down the ballot, this election features the race among Republican incumbent Sen. Johnny Isakson, Democratic challenger Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley for Isakson’s U.S. Senate seat. There is also a recognized write-in, Michelle Gates. If the Senate seat went to a runoff, it would be held Jan. 10.

For Georgia Public Service Commission, Republican incumbent Tim Echols faces a Libertarian challenger, Eric Hoskins.

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, Republican incumbent in the 12th Congressional District, is shown on the ballot with a Democratic challenger, Patricia C. McCracken. For Georgia General Assembly in District 160, Republican incumbent Rep. Jan Tankersley is opposed by Democrat James Woodall.

For Bulloch County sheriff, Republican Noel Brown and Democrat Keith Howard square off for the office being vacated by retiring Sheriff Lynn Anderson.

Voters in Bulloch County Board of Commissioners District 2 only will choose between Republican Curt Deal and Democrat Kelphie Lundy for Seat 2A and between Democrat Gene Anderson and Republican Jappy Stringer for Seat 2C.

The ballot also includes four proposed amendments to the state Constitution.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.





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