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Voters crowd Saturday polls
Al Beasley (from left), Shontay Jones and Charlene Mann pause for a moment from their work at the Bulloch County Courthouse Saturday. This was the first time Georgia's early voting period included a weekend day. - photo by CHARLES CRAVEY/special

Bulloch County voters turned out in force on Saturday, the first time Georgia’s early voting period has included a weekend day.
    The overcast, windy and chilly day did not deter voters from casting their ballots.
    Last week, students at Georgia Southern University voted early on campus, and they turned out in large numbers, especially between classes, said Patricia Lanier Jones, the county’s elections supervisor. She said it became a little hectic during those breaks, but the poll workers were able to handle each of the students.
    Voting at the Bulloch County Courthouse was a bit scattered at times, according to two poll workers, but then a group of 25-30 would show up at the same time to vote. Another poll worker at the Honey Bowen Building said the crowds were fairly steady most of the day.
    The ballot for Bulloch County includes two new Georgia constitutional amendments. The first proposal asks Georgia voters to approve the plans for more public charter schools, and the second gives consent to certain state agencies to enter into multiyear rental agreements. The first proposal has sparked much discussion — and even some litigation — across the state. Most Saturday voters said they had no idea as to what the second resolution was about. The majority said they voted “no” on that one due to the lack of a clear explanation on the ballot.
    Many voters at the Bulloch County Courthouse chose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president, while the majority at Honey Bowen sided with President Barack Obama.
    Most who voted for Romney cited the slow economic growth and the lack of jobs in the area, while expressing their concerns over the lack of progress promised by Obama when elected in 2008. Those at Honey Bowen said that Obama had done a fantastic job as president having to deal with the aftermath of George W. Bush.
    The state of Georgia has been reliably Republican in the last several elections and seems to be headed in that direction once again.
    Several voters declined to give their identities to a Herald reporter.
    One who voted for Romney expressed doubt that the nation can survive another four years of Obama. Another said she had hoped for the changes Obama had promised when she voted for him four years ago, but it hasn’t come to pass.
    A first-time voter said she was excited to help Obama in his quest to be re-elected.
Shontay Jones, the deputy registrar of elections, said Bulloch County has 35,658 active voters and 5,480 inactive for a total of 41,138. Including mail-in ballots, military votes by mail and those who have voted to date, a total of 6,660 have cast ballots in Bulloch so far. By shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday, a total of 212 had cast votes at Honey Bowen and 260 at the courthouse. Since Oct. 15, a total of 4,500 have voted at the courthouse, 1,935 at Georgia Southern, and 212 at Honey Bowen. Jones added that Bulloch County has had an increase of 2,180 registered voters this year compared to last year.
    Patricia Lanier Jones encourages all registered voters to go out and vote early through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Polling places are open at the courthouse and Honey Bowen. Election Day itself is Nov. 6 at your normal voting precinct.

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