Early voting began Monday with a steady showing of voters in Bryan County, and by late Tuesday afternoon around 500 residents on both ends of the county had turned out to make their choice in deciding local, state and the federal government leaders in the 2012 general election.
According to Chief Registrar Warren Miller, 104 residents had already stopped by the Voter Registration Office in Pembroke during the first two days of early voting. In South Bryan at the County Administrative Complex, Miller said 395 residents had cast a ballot.
Early voting across the state runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Nov. 2 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. In Bryan County, voters can cast early ballots at the Voter Registration Office in Pembroke and the County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill .
According to Election Superintendent and Bryan County Probate Judge Sam Davis, turnout on Nov. 6 should be fairly high.
“Normally for a presidential election, it’s always pretty high,” he said. “We also had a good number of people register to vote prior to the deadline this week, so that seems to indicate that the turnout should be pretty heavy.”
Early voting, he said, is a way to avoid congestion on Election Day.
“On Election Day, it’s chaos because we have over 20,000 registered voters in Bryan County. And to avoid what may be long lines on Election Day, we encourage residents to vote early,” Davis said.
Another reason to vote early is because of the change in precinct lines, he said.
“The (district) lines changed recently because of the census, and there is still some confusion,” he said. “There was some confusion during the July primary, and to avoid confusion and possible long lines, (early voting) is a service the county provides and we really encourage people to take advantage of it.”
While some residents may not see early voting hours as ideal, Davis noted early voting will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27.
“I realize the hours are not convenient, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. because people work,” he said. “But there is that Saturday voting and that will really save voters some hassle on Election Day.”
He encouraged residents to not only vote early, but also be prepared when going to the polls. By visiting the “My Voter Page” on the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.ga.gov, voters can double check their polling place and view a sample ballot, he said.
“That should save a voter some time in the voting booth for early voting or on the day of the election,” Davis said.
Locally, North Bryan residents will decide whether Democratic incumbent Joe Kendrick or challengers Ed Bacon, an independent, or Noah Covington, a Republican, will represent District 1 for the next four years as county commissioner.
In South Bryan, voters in District 4 will choose between current Board of Education Vice Chairman Jeff Morton and political newcomer Marianne Smith for the next four years.
Across the county, voters also will choose who will represent their districts at the state and federal level. For 1st Congressional District, voters will decide between incumbent Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, and Democratic challenger Lesli Rae Messinger.
At the state level, voters will decide between incumbent Rep. Jan Tankersley, R-Brooklet, and Democrat Marc Silver for District 160. Voters also will choose between incumbent Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savnnah, and Democrat Lauren Craddock to represent District 164.
Voters will also see some familiar names on the November ballot — those who won their race in the July primary and have no opposition in this election.
For more information about early voting, contact the Voter Registration Office at 653-3859 or visit www.sos.ga.gov.