The early voting turnout on Monday in Athens was quite impressive.
As reported in The Athens Banner-Herald, over 50 people were lined up outside the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections office after 2 p.m., waiting to get their turn to cast ballots on the same Diebold touch-screen voting machines voters will see on election day November 6.
Early voting will continue during business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the board office on Washington Street in downtown Athens through Nov. 2.
The office will even be open to voters on Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Voting was happening throughout Georgia’s other 158 counties, which will permit voters to vote on one Saturday before the election. Voters can also get absentee-by-mail ballots by calling their county’s elections office.
Since Thursday, elections officials across Georgia mailed about 45,000 ballots, twice as many as at the same point in the 2014 midterm elections.
Voters will also have access to voting machines the week before the election, Oct. 29 through Nov. 2, at the Athens-Clarke County Library on Baxter Street from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Voters can also go to the University of Georgia Tate Student Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 30 and 31, and to Athens City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 and 2.
The major race for Governor between Democrat Stacy Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp tops the ballot in Georgia, but every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives will be on a ballot, and every seat in the state House and Senate.
Locally, Democrat Dawn Johnson, a candidate for the District 47 seat in the state Senate, recently cited the state’s No. 1 U.S. maternal mortality rating as a result of the Republican legislature’s refusal to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. Her opponent, incumbent Republican Frank Ginn, opposes Medicaid expansion as too costly, and is unsure whether making health care widely accessible is a proper role for government to play.
In other races, Democratic challenger Marisue Hilliard hopes to unseat incumbent Republican District 46 state Sen. Bill Cowsert, while two first-term Democratic state representatives want to win the seats they took from the Republican party in special elections last year.
Rep. Deborah Gonzalez, the Democratic incumbent in House District 117, faces Republican Houston Gaines, a former University of Georgia Student Government Association president. A strong showing in Clarke County helped Gonzalez defeat Gaines in last November’s special election.
Democrat Jonathan Wallace in District 119 also hopes voters will vote him back in for a full term after winning out over three Republican would-be legislators a year ago to take the seat formerly held by Republican Chuck Williams, who left to direct the Georgia Forestry Commission.
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