Originally created 10/26/02

Absentees signify high turnout



The Richmond County Board of Elections has issued more than 3,000 absentee ballots so far this year, a sign that turnout for the Nov. 5 general election will be higher than average.

"Absentee ballots are a very good indicator of voter turnout, and we're seeing a lot of absentee ballots," said Lynn Bailey, the Elections Board's executive director.

There are a number of hotly contested races this year, including a mayoral race with five candidates, a newly created U.S. congressional district, and several contested local House and Senate seats.

In addition to the absentee ballots already issued, hundreds of ballot applications continue to arrive in the mail daily, Mrs. Bailey said.

The increased number of absentee forms, coupled with a more accurate registered voters list, has elections officials expecting up to 60 percent turnout, compared with 51 percent turnout during 1998 elections.

Many older voters are completing absentee ballots to avoid using new, computerized voting machines.

"Senior voters are choosing to vote absentee instead of going to the polls because they feel it would be easier," Mrs. Bailey said.

ABSENTEE DEADLINE

The last day absentee ballots will be mailed from the Richmond County Board of Elections is Nov. 1. To obtain a ballot from the local elections office, you must be registered to vote in Richmond County and send a written request to:

Richmond County Board of Elections

530 Greene St.
Room 104
Augusta, GA 30911

Or fax your request to 821-2814.

You also can vote absentee at the elections offices through Nov. 4.

For more information, call 821-2340.

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.