Georgia Continues Huge Early Voter Turnout; Oglethorpe County Voting Lines Remain Short Despite Increase

Georgia experienced a 48% increase in early voter in-person turnout from the 2016 election as of 5 p.m. yesterday. And according to Oglethorpe Board of Elections supervisor Steve McCannon, nearly 3,000 of 10,683 registered voters in Oglethorpe already completed early in-person voting. He said this is an increase from the 2016 election to this point.

When Oglethorpe County moved the early polling location to the Board of Elections office off of Fairground Road to allow for social distancing, McCannon said he was worried.

“It was a tight schedule; we started just two months ago with renovations,” McCannon said.

The renovations finished in time for early voting on Oct. 12. Major coronavirus changes included the addition of three voter booths, bringing the total to 10. McCannon said the increase in booths helps with social distancing.

Even with an increase in early in-person voters, Oglethorpe lines remain short. The first day of early voting saw no voter waiting longer than 15 minutes. In the days since, McCannon said lines rarely get out the door, which is not much different than in years past.

A voter waits outside of the early polling location at 41 Fairground Road. (Photo/Jack Sadighian)

“Normally, we don’t have more than a 15-minute wait at all, and usually that’s gonna be a Friday before Election Day when everyone waits until the last day,” McCannon said.

The Board of Elections supervisor said, “it’s probably the busiest we’ve ever been,” in two weeks of early voting. He felt pleased with the short wait times despite the increase in early in-person voters.

Some Oglethorpe voters like the new location better than the old polling place on Boggs Street.

Oglethorpe resident Stephanie Westrich said she feels safer at the new location. Westrich said polling officials checked her license behind plexiglass, and the voting booths were well spread out.

The new one is better; it’s almost double the space,” Westrich said.

McCannon said he does not know if the Board of Elections office will serve as the early voting location for future elections.

There are four days left for early in-person voting, which ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. In-person voters in Oglethorpe will then need to vote at one of three polling precincts in Beaverdam, Lexington or Crawford on Election Day, Nov. 3.

Jack Sadighian is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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