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With just a week to go, 42 percent of active voters in Grady County have already cast ballots, according to state election officials.
This is a significant surge from past years and is part of the record early turnout that Georgia has seen, so far, ahead of the November elections.
“The record turnout is a testament to the hard work our state and local elections officials are putting in to uphold election access for Georgia voters,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “We are setting records every hour. Adjusting to a new voting system or turning on a dime to accommodate a surge in absentee by mail voting would be enough to challenge even the most seasoned elections officials. Doing so with the added complications of COVID-19 has made this effort truly Herculean.”
To accommodate the increased participation, Grady County Election Superintendent Denise Maddox extended the hours of advance in-person voting by an hour and a half each day through Friday, which is the close of early voting.
Voters may cast ballots at the Grady County Courthouse between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. the remainder of this week.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Last Saturday, Oct. 24, was the one-day of Saturday voting to be held in Grady County. Chief Registrar Malinda Butler reports that 362 voters took advantage of the weekend voting opportunity.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 4,546 early in-person votes had been cast along with 1,880 absentee ballots that have been cast and returned, for a grand total of 6,426 of the county’s 15,441 registered voters.
According to Butler, an additional 772 absentee ballots that were applied for have yet to be returned.
The rule in Georgia is that absentee ballots must be received prior to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Election officials urge voters who applied for an absentee ballot not to mail their ballots back at this late date, but rather drop them off either in the convenient drop box located behind the courthouse, at the Board of Registrars office at the courthouse or to any of the polling places on election day.
Headlining the general election ballot is the election of the U.S. President and here in Georgia both U.S. Senate offices are up for election. The race between incumbent U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, a democrat, and republican challenger Don Cole is also generating a lot of of regional interest.
Locally, voters will be voting for county sheriff, county coroner, and county commissioner in two districts.
Incumbent Grady County Sheriff Harry Young, a republican, is being challenged by democrat Donald “Dickie” Thomas.
Rusty Powe, Grady County’s current coroner and a republican, is in a contest with democratic nominee Latosha Copeland.
In the District 1 county commission race, incumbent June Knight, a republican, faces democratic challenger Ralph Harris.
For the District 4 seat, incumbent democrat Commissioner LaFaye Copeland is being challenged by republican Charles Renaud, who previously served as the District 2 county commissioner.
Another race of local interest is between incumbent District 173 State Representative Darlene Taylor, a republican of Thomasville, who is being challenged by democrat Booker Gainor, the former mayor of Cairo.
In addition to other statewide races, voters are asked to decide on some state constitutional amendments and referendums.
“The turnout thus far has been phenomenal. It is gratifying to see so many folks who are taking time to exercise their right to vote. I anticipate we will remain busy assisting voters right up until 6 p.m. Friday,” Chief Registrar Butler said.
Election Superintendent Maddox praised the work of Butler and the poll workers who have been manning the early voting polling place at the courthouse for the last several weeks.
“We have had positive comments on extending the voting hours. It truly helps out those who work out of town who would like to vote early. I’m predicting the early voting will continue to be strong and I am expecting a large turnout on election day, as well,” Maddox said.