Many places and ways to vote

There are few issues in this year's election that do not affect women, said Betty Frank, a deputy registrar for the Richmond County Board of Elections.

 

"The economy, education, health care -- all these things are important to everyone, but I think women are more cognizant of the role they play in our lives," Ms. Frank said. "Even with the war, those are their husbands, sons and brothers fighting."

Ms. Frank has headed voter registration drives in Augusta since February, she said. She has found many would-be voters still misinformed about the process.

"I've tried to explain to them that if they haven't voted in years, they should register again," she said. "Many of them don't know there are many places and ways to vote."

Voters can vote absentee, if they can't make it to a site, participate in early voting a week before Election Day or vote on Nov. 4, Ms. Frank said.

The Richmond County Board of Elections is preparing voters with the Ready, Set ... Vote initiative, geared toward educating voters, Executive Director Lynn Bailey said.

The last day to register in Georgia is Oct. 6.

"We're doing it now, because we want to help while things are calm," she said. "

It's essential that voters be as prepared as they can be."

Election officials have hung posters at every city building encouraging voters to visit the Board of Elections' Web site for requirements and information, Mrs. Bailey said.

There will be a record number of voters turning out for the election, and they need to be informed, she said. She predicts an 85 percent turnout from Augusta's more than 96,000 voters. The presidential primaries in February brought out a near-record number of voters.

"We had a 44 percent turnout, when it would normally be about 20 percent," Mrs. Bailey said.

The largest turnout at July's primaries were female voters, she said. Women made up 60.2 percent of voters. Women are almost 60 percent of all registered Richmond County voters.

Statewide, 45 percent of the more than 4 million voters are expected to make it to the polls on Election Day, said Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. The Secretary of State's Office received $500,000 from the Georgia Assembly to go toward voter education this year, Mr. Carrothers said.

"We're doing extensive education programs telling voters about the state's photo ID requirement and how to obtain a free ID," he said.

Voter registration drives have helped the number of registered voters swell from 90,244 in February to 96,084 as of Aug. 1, Mrs. Bailey said.

Ms. Frank said she will continue to push the importance of voting, especially to women.

"Women must have a say in what happens," she said. "They think it doesn't touch them, but it does every day of their lives."

SIGN UP!

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will hold a voter registration drive on Broad Street from 5-10 p.m. Oct. 3 during First Friday. Contact Adrienne Turner at (706) 495-7838.

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