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Early voting starts with massive lines

See this week's print or online edition for sample ballots on page 5B.  

front voting

Greg Moore / Photo

The voting line started to form before the Pickens Elections Office opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday and reached through the parking lot and down the street for most of the day.



Early voting opened Tuesday with a line stretching from the Pioneer Road elections office down the hill and wrapping around the parking lot. One person who voted mid-morning said it took almost an hour and 45 minutes to cast his ballot.

Early in the afternoon, more than 145 people had already cast ballots with the line still reaching past the lower end of the election office parking lot.

This marked the first day of early voting and the line surprised local politicians and election workers. [Monday was a holiday, so voting in Pickens started Tuesday.]

“I have never seen it like this,” said Julianne Roberts, the supervisor of the county Elections and Registration Office.

Another local politician said he was amazed people were waiting in the line since early voting runs through October 30, including a Saturday vote on Oct. 24th.

A person watching the line Tuesday said they felt the crowd was waiting on day one for the same reasons people want to go on opening night of a big movie – the excitement and crowd just adds to the experience.

But Roberts doubted that explanation. “I think people just want to get it over with. There are probably very few undecided voters so people know who they want to vote for and are just ready to vote.”

If you are still studying ballots and race, see sample ballots on page 5B.

In counties where early voting did start on Monday, the secretary of state reported huge lines with more than 128,000 votes cast in the state. “Voter turnout in Georgia is expected to top 5 million next month with a presidential contest, double the usual number of U.S. Senate seats and a fierce push by Democrats to flip the balance of power in the Georgia House of Representatives for the first time in 16 years,” according to Capitol Beat News Service.

In Pickens County, the top county post, commission chair, is also on the ballot at this time.

Roberts offered three tips to help voters and poll workers have a smooth trip to vote:

• Do not wear campaign attire or park close to the voting location with any campaign shirts or hats or stickers. This violates a federal law and local poll workers must enforce it.

• Bring your proper photo identification. Drivers licenses are always recognized. See secretary of state website for questions about other forms.

• Silence cell phones once you enter the polling location.

Other Important Points for Voters

•Registration has closed for the upcoming November election. If you aren’t registered now, you will have to sit this one out. But a record 7,587,625 Georgians have registered to vote, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

•You can vote early in Pickens County at the Pioneer Road Elections Office (across from the city park baseball fields) beginning October 13 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Early voting runs Monday through Friday until October 30th. Saturday voting will be October 24th from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Pioneer Road location. 

•Election Day is November 3 and on this day you must vote at your home polling location. If you don’t know where this is (and it is never the Pioneer Road office), check with the secretary of state MyVoterPage. Our suggestion just Google My Voter Page.

•Roberts strongly encouraged people to vote early, especially if they have concerns about anything involving their voter information (which can be checked at the My Voter Page). “If there is any kind of name change issue, address question, we can address it right here,” said Roberts. 

For more questions either go by the elections, see the secretary of state website or call the elections office at 706-253-8781.