MOULTRIE, Ga . – Multiple local, state and national races are on the ballot for the June 9 election, which was delayed a month by the coronavirus pandemic.
In-person early voting begins Monday, but several groups — including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — have encouraged mail-in absentee ballots as a way to discourage the spread of the virus.
“The state of Georgia mailed a pre-filled absentee ballot application to every registered voter in the state a few weeks ago,” Colquitt County Probate Judge Wes Lewis said. “So, once the voters have completed that application and returned it to the registrar, they’ll get their ballot. We’ve had over 4,270 applications returned so far and mailed out 819 ballots. This method has been very well received.”
Lewis explained that a voter must submit the application, then the ballot will be mailed to them. Once they receive it, they have to complete it and return it to the registrar by June 9.
Such absentee ballots are counted after the close of the polls on Election Day.
In-person early voting will take place at the Courthouse Annex Monday, May 18, through June 5.
“For the first two weeks, which encompasses May 18 through the 29th, voters will be able to come and vote from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. because of the county virus safety guidelines enforced in the annex,” Lewis said. “During the last week, June 1 to 5, voters will be welcome from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We’ll be closed May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.
“Voters will enter from the back entrance of the annex and make their way to Room 201 where voting will take place,” he said.
Early voting will include a Saturday voting day on May 30 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the same location.
“We’ll be watching for whether this unprecedented step of the state increases turnout or spreads out turnout during the May primaries,” Lewis said. “The turnout of the statewide applications that have been submitted have exceeded the May 2018 primary elections. I truly commend the state for this move.
“We will be PPE equipped and will be following social distancing guidelines,” he added. “Because of this, it might be slower than usual at the precinct. But just be patient, and we promise we’ll make the going as smooth as possible.”