Bulloch County voters have until 5 p.m. Friday to cast a ballot in person prior to primary election day on Tuesday, while filled in absentee ballots will be accepted until voting polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Elections Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones said her office is preparing to open all 16 voting precincts for in person voting Tuesday, with three polls being moved temporarily to larger locations due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will have fewer poll workers (Tuesday) because of the COVID,” Jones said. “And with social distancing, we will have fewer machines at each location. Masks are encouraged for voters, but are not required. We are in the process of getting gloves for voters to have one for the hand touching the equipment.”
The three precincts being moved for Tuesday’s primary only are: Nevils, Register and Portal. Voters assigned to the Nevils precinct instead will go to the gym inside Nevils Elementary School, Register voters now will go to the Register Baptist Church Family Center and Portal voters will cast ballots Tuesday in the Aaron Worship Center Social Hall on North Grady Street.
“We made the decision to move the precincts to protect the safety of our voters, poll workers and the voting process,” Jones said. “The polls are temporarily relocated to a larger location so that social distancing can be properly observed.”
Through Tuesday afternoon, 1,120 people had voted early in person at the Elections Office on North Main Street, according to Shontay Jones, deputy registrar for Bulloch County Elections. In May 2016, the last presidential year primary, 2,988 people voted early.
But, through Tuesday, Shontay Jones said her office had received 5,513 absentee ballots, compared to 270 in 2016. About 10,000 Bulloch residents have requested absentee ballots and Friday is also the final day to request an absentee ballot.
Pat Jones said all absentee ballots must be returned in person or received by mail no later than 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Ballots postmarked Tuesday, but not in the Elections Office by 7 p.m., will not be counted. There is an active military exception.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office sent absentee ballot applications to all 6.9 million active registered voters in the state, and the Republican secretary is encouraging as many people as possible to skip the polls and vote absentee by mail.
So far, more than 1.6 million voters had requested absentee ballots in Georgia and about 750,000 have been returned.
Sample ballots are available at the Elections Office, 113 North Main Street, online at bullochcounty.net/elections and on page 4 of the May 21, 2020 edition of the Statesboro Herald.
Early voting in the Bulloch County Elections Office, 113 North Main Street, is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Polls will be open Tuesday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.