Large voter turnout expected

Election officials in Grady County are busy wrapping up early voting and preparing for election day next Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.
The courthouse annex has been a beehive of activity as 3,585 voters have stopped by to cast early ballots for the candidates of their choice.
Through Monday, 1,056,352 ballots had been cast statewide. The largest segment of Georgia’s population to vote early continues to be white females with 354,129 votes cast. A distant second is white males at 289,901 and next are black females at 230,505 followed by black males at 140,512.
With 1,046 new voters registering locally, election officials are anticipating a  higher than normal number of provisional ballots being cast in this election.
Chief Deputy Registrar Phyllis Gainous reports that a number of those new registrants have been notified of problems with their registration forms and the majority have responded. However, 25 newly registered voters have been notified of problems with their registration and they have not responded.
Mrs. Gainous was quick to point out that if a newly registered voter comes to the polls during this week or on election day and their name does not appear on the registration books at the polls, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
The chief deputy registrar also noted that if a new voter does not have one of the six accepted forms of photo ID, they can have one made as late as election day and still vote.
The six accepted forms of photo ID include a Georgia driver’s license, even if expired; a valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including one issued by the Department of Driver Services or your county registrar’s office; a valid U.S. passport; a valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state; valid U.S. military photo ID; or valid tribal photo ID.
If you do not have a photo ID, you can also vote absentee without having to show a photo ID.
Even with the large number of early voters, election officials are predicting a strong turnout next Tuesday.
According to Chief Probate Clerk Lizzie Garrett, Grady County has far exceeded the early voting turnout in the Nov. 2, 2004, general election. Four years ago 2,109 voters cast early ballots compared to 3,585 through Tuesday.
A grand total of 8,247 ballots were cast in the 2004 general election, so Garrett and Election Superintendent Judge Sadie Voyles are predicting the county’s 61 poll workers will be busy next Tuesday.
“We are wrapping up the final logic and accuracy testing on the machines and getting ready for election day,” Ms. Garrett said Tuesday.
Early voting will end this Friday at 5 p.m. and the county’s 13 polling places will be open next Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
As is tradition, unofficial election results will be posted in front of The Cairo Messenger office as soon after the polls close as possible. Results will also be updated to the newspaper website, www.cairomessenger.com.

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