Early voting for runoff sees less traffic

Eager voters did not have to wait in long lines this week to cast ballots for their candidates in the runoff election.

On Tuesday, Barbara Holland went straight to the voting booth at the Richmond County Board of Elections Office on Greene Street, accompanied by one other voter.

"I wish we could keep the excitement going," Ms. Holland said. "If you don't vote, you can't complain later."

By Wednesday, more than 1,000 voters had cast their ballots, said Lynn Bailey, executive director of the elections board.

This year is the first in which voters can cast early ballots in the runoff election without having to cite a reason, she said.

The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin has brought more attention to the runoff, but Mrs. Bailey said she was unsure if that would translate into a remarkable turnout.

"It will certainly be more of a turnout than it would have been if they weren't on the ballot, but it's too early to tell what effect it will have," she said.

Voters will also be deciding who fill the positions of public service commissioner and a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Runoffs usually attract about 10 percent of all registered voters, but in some, such as a mayoral office runoff, the turnout can reach about 50 percent, Mrs. Bailey said.

Travis Hollaway, who was also casting his ballot Tuesday, said the candidates on the runoff ballot will affect Augustans more than the commander-in-chief. He never misses a runoff election, he said.

"They have the ability to make decisions that will directly affect us in Georgia," Mr. Hollaway said. "It's our job to keep them in check. It's supposed to be by the people for the people."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

HOW TO VOTE

EARLY VOTING: Continues until Friday at the Board of Elections Office, 530 Greene St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

ADVANCE VOTING: Lasts Monday through Wednesday. Residents can vote between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Board of Elections office, the Henry Brigham Recreation Center at 2463 Golden Camp Road and the Warren Road Recreation Center at 300 Warren Road.

ELECTION DAY: All 52 polling sites will be open Dec. 2. Voters will be required to show a photo ID.

For more information on voting in the runoff, visit www.augustaga.gov.