Through Thursday, 450 people had taken advantage of in-person early voting in the Nov. 2 city election in Statesboro. In Portal, only one person voted early for that city’s election and two people voted in Register, as of Thursday.
In the first two weeks of early voting, from Oct 12 until Friday morning, Brooklet had 10 in-person absentee voters and no requests for mailed-out absentee ballots, said Brooklet City Clerk Lori Phillips.
Anyone wishing to vote early has the chance Saturday and Monday through Friday of next week to cast a ballot prior to Nov. 2.
For Statesboro, Portal and Register, early voting takes place at the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration, 113 N. Main St.; Suite 201. The Saturday voting hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Voting for Monday through Friday, Oct. 25-29, is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Touchscreen machines with ballot printers and scanners, the new ones used for last year’s state and county elections, are set up for this purpose.
Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones reminded voters that these are city elections, open to registered voters who live inside the city limits of Statesboro, Portal, Register, or – in the case of the voting handled separately at Brooklet City Hall – Brooklet. With the Bulloch County elections office handling early voting for Statesboro, Portal and Register, residents of the county’s unincorporated area sometimes come in wanting to vote, but they’re not eligible.
Brooklet handles its own elections. Brooklet City Hall, 104 Church St., Brooklet, is hosting early voting, or in Brooklet’s case “in-person absentee voting” because paper absentee ballots are used. Voting at City Hall will be open for Brooklet registered voters to vote in their city election on Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Monday through Friday next week, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
It is too late for voters to request an absentee ballot be mailed to them. The deadline was Friday, per Georgia Senate Bill 202, enacted this year, which set a deadline for election officials to mail out absentee ballots one week earlier than in past elections. If you have an absentee ballot, or receive one in the mail, it must be returned to the appropriate local election office before 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2.
Through Thursday, only 54 absentee ballot had been requested and 20 had been returned.
Georgia’s new election law also restricts the use of drop boxes for collecting absentee ballots to only boxes provided inside the Elections Office area at the North Main Annex for Statesboro, Portal and Register voters.
Also, the new law restricts those to the same hours and days as in-person early voting, which ends at 5 p.m. Oct. 29. Voters who want to return an absentee ballot on Monday, Nov. 1, or Tuesday, Nov. 2, will need to bring it to a staff member inside the elections office during open hours, which on Election Day, Nov. 2, will extend until the 7 p.m. deadline, she said.
Jones also cautioned voters that a drop box maintained outside the annex building by the Tax Commissioner’s Office is for tag and tax purposes and not for absentee ballots.
Election Day voting
Eligible voters who don’t vote early or absentee can vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at their assigned city precincts: Register Baptist Church for Register’s resident voters; Aaron Worship Center for Portal’s voters; the Brooklet Recreation Building on Cromley Road for Brooklet voters; the William James Educational Complex for Statesboro Council Districts 1 and 2 voters and Pittman Park United Methodist Church for Statesboro Council Districts 3, 4 and 5 voters.