“Election Day” is officially Nov. 3, but Georgia’s 15 weekdays plus one Saturday for in-person advanced voting begin Monday.
In Bulloch County the elections office will be open all 16 of those days, while two other locations, the Honey Bowen Building at the Fair Road park and the Russell Union on the Georgia Southern University campus, will be available on some of them.
Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones said she does expect crowds to develop at times. The number of machines that can be used has been reduced to allow for COVID-19 pandemic social distancing. Markers on floors remind people to stay six feet apart, and masks are encouraged but cannot be required.
“We are going to do our best with the COVID and the number of voters we have,” Jones said when asked if the precautions will slow things down.
For in-person early voting, voters need to bring a photo ID, just as they would need to do if they waited until Election Day, and if a voter previously requested a paper absentee ballot but now plans to vote early in-person instead, he or she should bring the paper ballot with them to turn it in for cancellation, she said.
This “makes our process much faster,” Jones said.
Dates and locations
The Board of Elections and Registration Office, 113 North Main St., Suite 201 in the County Annex, will be open for advanced voting on the new touchscreen, paper printout machines, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays from Oct. 12 through Oct. 20, plus 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
The Honey Bowen Building, 1 Max Lockwood Drive in the Fair Road park, will also be open for early voting 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, and then 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday on the final week only, Oct. 26–30.
On the GS campus, early voting will be available in the Russell Union, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., for three days only, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 20–22.
Both the Honey Bowen and Georgia Southern voting plans are pending any COVID-19 restrictions, Jones said.
Meanwhile, voting by paper absentee ballot is already well underway, with 7,421 mailed-out ballots requested and 2,230 having been returned by Bulloch County voters as of Thursday afternoon. A secured drop box for absentee ballots is available in the elections office lobby at the County Annex.
The opportunity for early in-person voting closes at 5 p.m. Oct. 30, but absentee ballots can be returned through Election Day.
In-person voters who wait until Election Day will need to go to the polling place in their assigned, traditional precinct between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 3.