Time is running out to register to vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election – and advance voting starts in eight days.
Local elections officials say applications continue to pour in ahead of Tuesday’s registration deadline.
“We’ve got several thousand that we’ve yet to process, and they continue to come in pretty steadily every day,” said Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections.
As of Thursday, the office had 100,048 registered voters, Bailey said. That’s almost half the population of Augusta-Richmond County.
In addition, the office has about 31,000 inactive voters, those who haven’t cast a ballot in the past two elections but remain eligible to vote, she said.
Active registrations are up by 1,564 since Sept. 27, and Bailey said she expects the number to grow.
“Every presidential election year I’ve ever worked, you have a flood,” she said. “I would not be surprised at all if we were not still processing new applicants up until the week before the election.”
Registration numbers haven’t hit the levels they did in the past two presidential elections. About 109,000 were registered to vote in the last presidential election, while about 106,000 were registered in the 2008 election.
Columbia County also is seeing a surge. Elections Director Nancy Gay said active voters in the county now number 79,189, plus 21,237 inactive voters for a total of 100,426 eligible voters.
In addition to the presidential election, Richmond County voters have several school board elections and a school system sales tax referendum to decide. Columbia County voters have a referendum on a general obligation bond.
Advance, in-person voting in the Georgia elections begins Monday, Oct. 17.
To register, a person must be at least 17½ years old, a citizen of the U.S., and a resident of the state and county in which he or she intends to vote. Members of the military may vote from their duty station. A voter can’t be serving a felony conviction or have been determined by a judge to be mentally incompetent.
Because of a recent computer error at the Georgia secretary of state’s office and the high volume of applications, new voters should verify their registration.
“I would suggest to people if they applied for voter registration and have not received anything in the mail, I would suggest they call us and make sure we have it, or look themselves up online,” Bailey said.
Bailey said she wasn’t aware of any discussions to extend the state deadline to register because of Hurricane Matthew and that it remains Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the elections office, 535 Telfair St., or postmarked or submitted online Tuesday.