BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Long lines continued all week at the Union County Courthouse as residents eagerly cast their early votes for the 2020 General Election.
With over 1,885 ballots cast thus far, Union voters are out in force four days into voting. The total doesn’t include absentee ballots. Sources say they empty absentee ballot box drop off several times a day. In Georgia, the total number of votes cast as of noon on October 16 is 1,217,277.
The Board of Elections and Registration have taken over the jury room on the first level of the Union County Courthouse, and voters line up outside and socially distance to provide added safety against COVID-19. Due to a judicial order that anyone entering a Georgia Courthouse must wear a mask and have their temperature checked, all early voters should bring a face covering to wear while voting.
Some voters already disgruntled over COVID-19 mask requirements make it known with one individual voting while wearing a “this is communism” mask about the face-covering conditions.
Two others gave up waiting in line and left with intentions of coming back later.
One young male early voter said he enjoyed early voting and regularly made an effort to vote before election day. When asked if he expected to wait in line, he affirmed that he didn’t. In previous elections, he “walked right through” and cast his ballot within 15 minutes.
Current wait times are around 30 to 45 minutes, with over 700 people voting on Thursday, October 15.
The voter’s response to Fetch Your News’ question if the high early voting turnout was due to COVID-19 or the 2020 election’s importance. He said, “I hope it’s the election.”
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, early voting is up 62 percent, and accepted absentee ballots are up 732 percent compared to the 2016 early voting numbers. These statistics measure against the first four voting days.
A first-time voter and female college student expressed that she felt an urgency to vote in this election and was glad about the large early vote turnout. She didn’t expect it but took it as a good sign. She added that her friends would be voting as well.
The total number of early ballots cast is 615,993, and absentee totals are 601,344 for the entire state. Union County reportedly has more than 4,000 absentee ballot requests. However, Voters who wish to cast a ballot in-person but have already requested an absentee should surrender that absentee at the polls. Voters can track their absentee ballot at https://georgia.ballottrax.net/voter/.
The absentee ballot drop box is outside the top-level entrance to the courthouse, mounted to the wall.
An older voter addressed a problem with his absentee ballot, so he was waiting in lines in hopes of early voting. His problem was that he never received an absentee ballot after requesting one. The individual had recently moved, and the ballot might have reached the wrong address.
Early voting will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until October 30 at the courthouse. The one day of Saturday voting is October 24 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Absentee ballots can be requested until October 30 and must be received by the local election’s office by 7 p.m. on November 3.