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Saturday voting now
Early voting at 2 sites through next week
Sgt. Randall Weyer of the Bulloch County Correctional Factility, right, pitches in with poll workers Debbie Deal and Valerie Thomas as they begin setting up for primary elections at the Honey Bowen Building Friday.

So far this election season, Bulloch County voters could vote early in one location. Beginning Saturday, there are two sites. The Honey Bowen Building at Fair Road Park joins the County Annex at 113 North Main Street, which has been the one place thus far.

May 14 is the statewide date for Saturday voting before the May 24 party primaries and nonpartisan general election. The polls at both the County Annex and the Honey Bowen building are open 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday.

Then these same two sites will be open for advanced voting 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, May 20.

The early voting helps reduce lines on the final election date, and when both sites are open for early voting, there should be plenty of parking and little waiting at both, said Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.

“We’d like to see a line or two, but not long lines,” she said.

In the number of local candidates and the amount of campaigning, this election is Bulloch County’s busiest in several cycles.  All ballots include races for Bulloch County Probate Court judge and one Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Superior Court judgeship. Two candidates for sheriff appear on the Republican Party ballot but just one on the Democratic Party ballot. Each party’s ballot contains some contested races up to U.S. Senate, as well as some nonbinding position questions posed by the parties.

Some parts of the county also have contested county commission and school board seats.


Less than expected

But in the early voting so far, there have been hardly any lines at all, and Jones is hoping for activity to pick up now. Through Friday, 1,464 Bulloch County residents had cast ballots in two weeks of early voting, out a county with 30,298 active registered voters, Jones reported.

The second week of early voting was slower than the first week, when 855 people voted. After that strong start, Jones had expected the two-week total to approach 2,000.

“You’ve got five probate judge candidates running; you’re getting a new sheriff,” she said.  “I would have expected the lines to be a little bit more.”

Except that the polling places are different, advanced voting here works the same as traditional Election Day voting. When voters check in, each receives a digitized card that loads the ballot, including the voter’s particular county commission, school board and state legislative districts, into the touchscreen voting machine. This way, relatively few machines can handle voters from all precincts at one or two locations.

Voters must choose a Democratic, Republican or nonpartisan ballot for the primary, but the Democratic and Republican ballots also include the nonpartisan ballots with the judgeships and school board posts. A voter who casts a Democratic or Republican ballot in the primary is barred from voting the other party’s ballot in any July 26 primary runoffs that occur. But this does not restrict a voter’s choices in the Nov. 8 general election, when all voters will receive the same ballot.


No buttons, signs, etc.

Whether voting early or on the final Election Day, voters should bring their picture ID, such as a Georgia driver’s license, state-issued ID card, government employee or military identification or U.S. passport. But they shouldn’t wear campaign hats, candidate buttons or campaign shirts or bring “anything to do with campaigning” into the voting places or within 150 feet of them, Jones said.  A Georgia law forbids campaigning in this zone.

Advanced voting will cease at 5 p.m. Friday, May 20. Then the polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, May 24, in Bulloch County’s 16 traditional precincts.


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




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