A total of 54 percent of Douglas County’s 70,000 registered voters made their choices during a 45-day early voting period in the 2008 presidential election.
However, despite the period being reduced to 15 days before this year’s Election Day Nov. 6, Elections Supervisor Laurie Fulton said she expected nearly the same percentage of early voters this year.
“People like the concept of early voting,” she said. “It’s here to stay.”
In-person advance voting is set for Monday through Friday, Oct. 15 through Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the training room of the Voter Registration Office on the first floor of the Douglas County Courthouse at 8700 Hospital Drive in Douglasville.
A special Saturday early voting day is set for Oct. 27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Voter Registration Office.
From Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, advance voting expands to four locations in addition to the Voter Registration Office, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The locations include the Dog River Library, 6100 Ga. Hwy. 5; the Old Courthouse at 6754 W. Broad St.; Deer Lick Park Activity Center, 2105 Mack Road; and Boundary Waters Aquatic Center, 5000 Ga. Hwy. 92.
Fulton said she did not believe lines will be as long this year for a number of reasons, including only two questions being on the ballot – in addition to the list of candidates for office — compared to five, somewhat detailed, questions in 2008, she said.
This year’s ballot asks voters if they want to amend the state constitution to allow appeals to a state board if local school boards deny a charter school application, and to allow the state to enter into multi-year leases of property. Those voters living in unincorporated Douglas County also will see referendums on Sunday alcohol sales both by the drink, and in retail stores.
Fulton predicted as many as 80 percent of the county’s 72,600 registered voters ultimately will turn out for this year’s election. She said her office plans to employ 50 poll workers during the advance voting period and 240 workers on Nov. 6.
Douglas County Democratic Party Chairman Bill Willis said he is “hoping” this year’s shorter advance voting period will not discourage those favoring either party’s candidates from going to the polls.
“I think the agencies, the boards of elections throughout the various counties, should be doing all they possibly can to encourage citizen participation in the electoral process,” he said.
“Making more days and more hours available when working people can be available after work [and] on Saturdays is a much more American thing to do,” he said. “In a government ‘by the people, for the people,’ I think the epitome of that is voting.”