Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the deadline to register to vote – or update your address and other registration information – for Georgia’s Nov. 8 general election. Three weeks of early voting opportunity, including two Saturdays, will begin Oct. 17.
Throughout Georgia, the ballot includes a race of national importance for the U.S. Senate, as well contests for governor and seven other statewide offices, plus decisions on two state constitutional amendments and two state referendums.
All Bulloch County ballots will feature the referendum on whether liquor stores will be allowed in the county’s unincorporated area and two referendums on five-year extensions of local-option sales taxes, the T-SPLOST for transportation purposes and the E-SPLOST for education purposes. Voters in Commission District 1 will decide one race for county commissioner, while voters in District 2 will decide another, and together those two districts encompass the whole county.
The contest for U.S. representative in the 12th Congressional District appears on all Bulloch County ballots, while the race for state representative in District 158 involves a portion of the county.
Of course, citizens who were already registered, who voted in the most recent elections and who have not moved away remain registered to vote. So, who needs to update their registration before Tuesday’s deadline?
“Anybody that has moved within the county or from another county, anybody that changed their name, anything that applies that they want the information changed so that information is reflected in the system, we need to do it by the 11th,” said Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones. “Anybody that has major changes – you know, maybe they used to have a P.O. box and now they don’t have one – any of that information needs to be updated.”
Voters and would-be voters can check their registration, and also register to vote or update their registration, online at the statewide My Voter Page, https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/ or through the “Register to Vote” portal on the county site, https://bullochcounty.net/elections. Online registration is supposedly possible until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Local voters can also register or update their information in-person during regular business hours at the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration office in the County Annex, 113 N. Main St., Suite 201, Statesboro. It will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, but also Thursday, Friday and Monday for people who don’t wait until the last day.
Bulloch County’s offices will be open Monday, although it is a federal and state holiday.
The elections suite at the County Annex will also be the one location in Bulloch County open for the entire 17 days of in-person early voting opportunity, but two other early voting locations, including one on the Georgia Southern University campus, will open for a few select days.
The Elections and Registration office, 113 N. Main St., Suite 201, will host early voting 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 17-21, Oct. 24-28 and Oct. 31-Nov. 4. This same location, and only this location, will be open for Saturday voting, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 only.
Room 1042 at the Russell Union building, 85 Georgia Avenue on the Georgia Southern campus, will open for early voters three days only, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 25-27. Like the other locations, it is available to voters from throughout the county, although offered for the convenience of those on or near campus.
Finally, the Honey Bowen Building, 1 Max Lockwood Drive, Statesboro, will open for advance voters for five days, 8 a.m-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Oct.31-Nov. 4 only.
Meanwhile, no-excuse paper absentee ballots will also be available for request until Oct. 28, to be mailed to Bulloch voters residing at addresses outside the county or at their address of registration inside the county.
Monday, Oct. 10 is the legally allowed first day for mailing out absentee ballots, but the post office will be closed, so the elections staff will begin mailing them Oct. 11. Under current state law, they cannot be mailed out after Oct. 28 but will be counted if completed and returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.
“We’ve prepared 902 absentee ballots to go in the mail. Some people have come in and asked if early voting has started or when it will,” Jones said at midday Wednesday when asked about early interest in the election. “We haven’t been overwhelmed, but you know some people are interested and they’re gearing up for it.”
Plenty of workers
Of course, Bulloch County’s 16 traditional voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the final Election Day, Nov. 8, for voters who haven’t already voted to do so.
Between 100 and 150 poll workers are typically needed to staff all those voting places for a general election. In July, Jones reported that more poll workers were needed after just 86 worked the May 24 primary.
But this summer’s recruiting effort went well.
“We got a surplus amount of poll workers who applied so that we could have more help at the precincts on Election Day,” Jones said. “So we did, we got a good turnaround in poll workers and probably added 50 or 60 more than we had in May and June.”
Training is required for all poll workers – not just the new recruits – before each election. So this week and next she has the workers, already assigned as teams for various precincts, reporting to the annex in groups of around 30 for a half-day training, in morning and afternoon sessions.