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Record-setting early voting ends Friday
Officials: Drop absentee ballots in person at Elections Office
Poll worker Marti Lofton, center, welcomes Lindsey Chase as voters drop by the Honey-Bowen Building to cast their ballots on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Early voting officially ends at 5 p.m. on Friday. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

With Bulloch County, Georgia and the entire nation setting daily records for early voting, Friday is the last day area residents can cast a vote in person prior to Election Day on Tuesday.

Both the elections office in the Bulloch County Annex on North Main Street and the Honey Bowen Building will be open Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for early voting. Voters in line at 5 p.m. Friday will be allowed to vote.

After the Honey Bowen and Annex doors close Friday, the next and final opportunity to vote in-person in the 2020 Presidential Election is Tuesday – Election Day. Bulloch’s 16 precincts will be open for voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All precincts will stay open until the last voter in line at 7 p.m. Tuesday has voted.

Absentee ballots also have set records in Bulloch County and they must be returned and inside the Bulloch Elections office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, but not physically in the office will not be counted, according to Georgia law.

However, absentee ballots can be dropped off anytime between now and 7 p.m. Tuesday. In mid-October, Bulloch County added a new, outdoor drop box – open 24 hours a day for completed absentee ballots. The box, which looks like a freestanding curbside mailbox wrapped with the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag, is at the edge of the main parking lot behind the County Annex, in the parking area on the Walnut Street side.

Also, voters may place their absentee ballots in the previously-established drop box inside the Elections Office during regular weekday business hours – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Absentee ballots also may be mailed, but must meet the Nov. 3, in-the-Elections Office deadline to be counted. In fact, due to the heavy volume of mail, elections officials recommend, at this late date, that all absentee ballots now be returned in-person to the Elections Office to ensure they will be counted.

“I would recommend people drop their ballots off either inside our office or in the outside drop box,” said Shontay Jones, deputy registrar for Bulloch County Board of Elections & Registration. “The main thing I would tell a voter is ‘We have no control over the mail – when they get it or when we receive it.’ If they can’t get to our office and their only choice is to mail their ballot, I would recommend they ask the post office what they would need to pay in extra postage to ensure their ballot is in our office before 7 p.m. on November 3rd.”

Through Wednesday, 17,344 residents had voted early either in person or by absentee in Bulloch County. With two full days of in-person early voting left and even more absentee ballots expected to be returned, Bulloch has far surpassed 2016’s early voting total of 13,651 votes.

Across Georgia, more than 3.3 million voters had cast ballots as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, including 150,271 who voted by 5 p.m. Wednesday. The 3,389,913 votes almost doubles the 1,708,144 who early-voted in the same time frame in the 2016 presidential election.

In the United States, more than 75 million Americans have cast early ballots through Wednesday at 5 p.m., according to the U.S. Elections Project. That’s well more than half of the 129 million who voted in total in the 2016 presidential election.

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