(Note: Updated to show that Courthouse Annex closes at 4:30 p.m.)
MOULTRIE, Ga. — With mere days left of early voting, Colquitt County elections officials are reporting an “unheard of” turnout for the Georgia runoff election that’s been a dominant presence in television and radio spots and your mailbox for nearly two months.
Colquitt County’s registered voters have until Thursday to cast their votes if they wish to vote early. Voting is taking place at the Courthouse Annex in Moultrie from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
On Election Day, Jan. 5, all of the county’s 19 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Registrar Paula McCullough says the county’s early voting turnout so far is “unheard of” for a runoff election.
Late Monday morning, McCullough, there were 4,160 early votes cast with 111 coming by 11 a.m. that day. This was after a short week with the Annex closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The early voting period began Dec. 14. In Colquitt County, 595 votes were cast on the first day. McCullough said the traffic at the poll slowed down afterwards and moved through at a steady pace.
Voters who requested an absentee ballot by mail but instead wish to vote in person must first cancel their absentee ballot at the polling place. Otherwise, absentee ballots must be received by the Registrar’s Office by Jan. 5.
Separate from the in-person votes, McCullough reported 1,460 absentee ballots received through Dec. 23. Voters can still request an absentee ballot. McCullough reported 2,599 such requests made for the runoff with 186 cancelled.
Georgians knew barely a week after the Nov. 3 General Election that both of the state’s seats in the United States Senate were going to be decided in a Jan. 5 runoff. The stakes got even higher when all other Senate elections in the nation were completed. That left a split at 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the Senate, pending the results of Georgia’s runoff elections.
Both of Georgia’s current senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, represent the Republican Party. Only one needs to win to give the GOP a majority. Both Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, need to win to flip control as, at 50-50.
The Democratic Party will control the Executive Branch when Joe Biden is inaugurated as president Jan. 20. His vice president, Kamala Harris, will preside over the Senate and cast a vote to break any ties there.
While all senators serve six-year terms, Loeffler and Warnock are running to complete the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned in 2019; Loeffler was appointed to hold the seat until the special election. The winner of the runoff will face voters again in 2022.
The state runoff ballot also includes a Public Service Commission seat held by Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald. He is challenged by Daniel Blackman.