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Early voting booming


The flow was steady all day at the Pickens County Elections & Registrations Office Monday,

the first day of early voting.

     The lines are nothing compared to our metro Atlanta neighbors, but the Pickens County Elections & Registrations Office was booming the first day of early voting Monday.
    Of the 20,701 registered voters in Pickens, 568 cast their ballot at the Pioneer Road office on the first day alone.

    “We’ve been busy, but I’d say the longest wait we had was between 10 and 15 minutes,” said Pickens County Elections Supervisor Julianne Roberts, who was logging voter registration forms that have been streaming into the office over the last few weeks. “The registration cutoff was October 11, but we have until the 27 to get them entered.”
    Pickens residents Tom and Wanda Sylvester were two of the voters that turned out the first day. They said it doesn’t matter what election it is, they vote early to avoid longer lines and crowds. 
    “We always do it, every time” said Mr. Sylvester.     
    Other voters interviewed also said they vote early every election, not because a hotly contested Presidential race is on the ballot this go ‘round.
    Roberts said one voter commented on Tuesday, which did not see as heavy a turnout as Monday, that she was grateful the lines here aren’t hours long like they are in other counties.
    “We’re lucky compared to what you’re seeing on the news,” Roberts said. 
    Although she doesn’t have exact numbers, “because we only keep elections records for two years,” the elections supervisor believes there was an early voting day in a previous election that beat out Monday’s high turnout.
    “I think we had one day in the past that was in the 700s, but I’m not absolutely sure,” she said.
    Roberts wants to remind all voters that there is absolutely no campaigning allowed within 150 feet of the elections office. Signs are posted on the property that denote the 150-foot line. Voters who have campaign bumper stickers are not allowed to park in the spaces closest to the voter office. They will be asked to move their vehicles. The parking lot between the Jasper Athletic Club and the elections office and the lot at Chattahoochee Technical College are outside the campaign line. Vehicles with campaign materials can park in these areas and walk to the office. 
    Other campaign materials such as shirts or buttons are also not allowed in the elections office or within that 150 feet distance. 
     Early voting dates are October 17 through November 4, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Saturday early voting date is October 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voters will go to their regular polling place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    The Pickens County Elections & Registration Office is located at 83 Pioneer Road, Jasper, Ga. 30143. They can be reached at 706-253-8781.
    You can find a summary of all of the proposed constitutional amendments on 7B. A sample ballot is on page 10B.