JAMES LAMB was one of 335 local voters who voted early on Tuesday.
As of the close of business Tuesday, 2,522 Grady County voters had already cast their ballots during the first week and two days of the three-week advance in-person voting period.
Combined with 1,570 absentee ballots that have already been cast, a grand total of 4,092 votes have been recorded here.
Grady County is well on its way to breaking records set in 2016. Local election officials said the 2016 general election was the first election held here where more votes were cast early than on election day. In 2016, 5,070 early votes were cast and 292 absentee ballots were voted compared to 3,932 votes cast on election day. Grady County voter turnout in 2016 was 77.06 percent and elections officials are optimistic turnout will be even greater this year.
To accommodate the demand to vote early and make it as convenient as possible, Grady County Superintendent of Elections Denise Maddox announced this week that she is expanding the hours of early voting for the final week of voting.
Beginning next Monday, Oct. 26, the hours of in-person advanced voting will be 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily through the end of early voting on Friday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. Hours the remainder of this week are still 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
On this Saturday, Oct. 24, the one day of Saturday voting will be conducted and the hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
All advance in-person voting takes place at the courthouse.
In addition to the 1,570 absentee ballots that have already been cast, a total of 3,211 absentee ballot applications had been received by Chief Registrar Malinda Butler as of Tuesday afternoon.
Technical issues that plagued voter check-in procedures on the first two days of early voting, not only here, but statewide, last week have been resolved, according to Maddox and Butler.
“I could not be more pleased in how early voting is going. We have had record-breaking numbers every day so far. The line is moving much quicker than on the first two days,” Judge Maddox said.
Chief Registrar Butler echoed Maddox’s comments. “I think early voting is going very well. There certainly has been a good turnout,” she said.
Commenting on next week’s expanded hours of voting, Judge Maddox noted, “The decision was made to extend the hours because we want to make sure everyone who wants to cast their ballot has the opportunity to do so.”
Grady County’s turnout is a reflection of turnout statewide. According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, a total of 1,912,045 ballots had been cast compared to 820,766 at the end of business on Oct. 25, 2016, an increase of 59.8 percent.
The secretary of state reported a tremendous increase in voters voting by absentee ballot. According to Raffensperger’s office, absentee ballots by mail are up 641.6 percent over 2016 with 765,629 absentees cast as of Tuesday compared to 103,239 this same time in 2016.
“Notwithstanding the pandemic, voters in the Peach State can take advantage of no-excuse absentee ballot voting by mail or through a secure drop box; three weeks of early, in-person voting; or Election Day voting,” Secretary Raffensperger said.