Though South Carolina has drawn most of the recent attention surrounding presidential candidates, voters in Richmond and Columbia counties are also having their say on who will be the Republican and Democratic nominees.
Advance voting continues Saturday for Georgia’s March 1 primary. Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at four sites in Richmond County – the Main Advance Voting Center at the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building, the Henry Brigham Community Center, the Diamond Lakes Regional Park and the Warren Road Recreation Center.
The four sites will open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In Columbia County, voters can cast ballots at three locations – the Board of Elections office, Stevens Creek Community Church and Patriots Park – where polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sites will reopen Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the final week of advance voting.
Early voting turnout in the presidential preference primary in Richmond County has been slightly ahead of 2012’s rate but nothing like 2008, when 44 percent of eligible voters cast ballots early, said Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Board of Elections.
Through Friday, 524 voters had cast ballots, compared with slightly over 5,200 in 2008 when there were eight Democrats on the ballot – including Barack Obama during his first campaign – and nine Republicans.
She said she expects heavier voting next week after the media focus shifts from South Carolina, which holds its hotly contested GOP primary on Saturday.
“Once we get through South Carolina, I think it will be very interesting this year when Georgia has its primary on March 1,” she said. “Once South Carolina finishes up, the focus will well and truly move to the other Southern states and put it on us.”
Bailey offered a reminder that voter ID requirements are still in play during advanced voting.