Despite a shorter advance voting period this year than in the 2008 general election, turnout shouldn’t be affected, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections said.
Three weeks of advance voting began Oct. 15, a period half the length of that offered in 2008.
“The overall numbers are lower then we saw in 2008, but we had three more weeks of early voting,” Lynn Bailey said. “I expect all three locations will be very busy next week and we’ll exceed the numbers that we saw in 2008.”
Voter turnout in Richmond County is predicted to measure between 75 and 80 percent of registered voters. In 2008, turnout was 79 percent.
In Richmond County, 10,117 votes were cast through the end of Friday. More than 1,000 people voted each day this week, with a high of 1,397 on Friday.
In 2008, 31,348 ballots were cast early.
Bailey said advance voting is an indicator of voter interest, which has been similar to 2008, she said.
The advance voting period was shortened after a statewide study found few voters casting ballots during the first three weeks, Bailey said. For the smaller counties, staffing polling sites was burdensome and costly.
Because the timetable was cut in half, polls are open on the second Saturday before the election. Saturday voting begins Saturday at three sites: the Board of Elections Office, the Henry Brigham Community Center and the Warren Road Community Center.
Bailey said she expects Saturday voting to be more popular than when it was offered for the first time for the July primary.
“People are making it their business to find out voting opportunities,” she said.