Turnout strong for first day of early voting, officials say

Turnout was strong Monday at advance-voting locations in Richmond and Columbia counties, with voters lining up before the polls opened, election officials said.

“We had about 30 or 40 people waiting in line at 8:30 a.m.,” said Richmond County Elections Director Lynn Bailey.

Bailey said 927 voters went to the polls Monday.

In Columbia County, the first person lined up just after 7 a.m. outside the Board of Elections office in Evans, and by 7:40 a.m., “the line was well-formed,” said county Registration Coordinator Nancy Gay.

By the end of the day, 1,025 had voted, Gay said.

Charles Bullock, a retired Rich­mond County educator, said he went to vote to avoid long lines Nov. 6.

“I’m doing my duty as a registered voter in the United States,” said Bullock, 77, who first voted in 1954. He said his teacher at Lucy C. Laney High School, Herbert Wilson, marched about 30 of his classmates to the old county courthouse to vote.

It was Wilson’s mission to “make citizens” out of his students, Bullock said.

“That was back during Jim Crow, when people got beat for trying to vote,” said Bullock, who said he hasn’t missed an election since.

Monique Sheppard said she couldn’t recall her first time voting, or even whether she voted at all when she was 18, but she takes it very seriously now.

“Over the years you re-evaluate your priorities,” said Sheppard, who turned 44 on Monday. “I thought this would be a great birthday present to myself – go out and vote.”

Staff Writer Barry Paschal contributed to this article.

 

AVOID THE LINES

The last day for voting by mail and early voting for the Nov. 6 election is Nov. 2.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Where: Board of Elections Office, 500 Faircloth Drive, Building E, Evans

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information: Call (706) 868-3355 or visit columbiacountyga.gov

RICHMOND COUNTY

Where: Board of Elections Office, 530 Greene St.

When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information: Call (706) 821-2340 or visit augustaga.gov.

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