There used to be a time – not all that long ago – when elections were held on only one day. People would show up to the polls as early as possible in hopes of a short wait so they could get to work and get on with their day. But often there were lines — long, long lines of voters anxious to have their say over who would run their town, their city, their country.
In some instances, people would arrive and wait for hours to vote, but the line would be so long that polls would close before everyone had a chance to cast a ballot. In many cases, the polls would stay open late, delaying the results from that particular precinct.
Luckily, we don’t have to worry about things like that happening anymore — or rather, if we do, it’s our own fault. In almost every state across the country, there is now early voting. Counties set up a few polling places that centrally located and easily accessible for residents and open for voting during business hours weeks ahead of actual Election Day. Here in Georgia, we get three whole weeks, plus one Saturday, to cast a ballot early.
Early voting has made the civic duty of casting a ballot so much more convenient, but such convenience comes with a cost. Aside from the money counties must dole out to hold early voting, which is required by the state, there are many volunteers that give up their time — as much as three weeks of it — to man the polls so the masses don’t have to wait in line on Election Day. And in what could turn out to be a landmark election in terms of voter turnout, being a poll worker turns out to be a lot more than socializing and catching up on your favorite book.
The election volunteers and officials in Bryan County have been busy for the last two and a half weeks, and to show your appreciation, the least you can do is go vote. If you’d like to do it ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day, you still have the chance. Early voting continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at the County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill or at the Voter Registration Office in Pembroke. Bryan County residents can vote at either location.