High turnout but few problems as Polk begins early voting

Residents wait in line at the entrance to the Polk County Annex Building in Cedartown for early voting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.

More than 10,000 Polk County voters have already cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 general election, and local officials are preparing for a final surge before early voting ends.

Polk County Elections Coordinator Brande Coggins said they expect crowd levels to pick up toward the end of this week as voters try to take advantage of early voting in Georgia, which runs through Friday.

The second week of early voting in Polk County saw fewer lines and fewer voters make their way to the county’s two polling stations.

The county office of elections and registration reported 3,346 votes were cast in person from Oct. 19 through Oct. 24, about 1,200 less than the record-setting pace of the first full week of early voting.

That is still an average of about 558 voters per day, with minimal lines and wait times according to Coggins. In comparison, the daily average for the first week of early voting was around 911.

Last week was capped off by the state’s lone Saturday of early voting, where Polk County had 446 total ballots cast in person, a number Coggins said was a very good turnout for a Saturday. She added Saturdays during past early voting periods had seen only around 100 ballots cast on average in Polk County.

In total, 7,899 in-person ballots had been cast in Polk County as of Saturday evening. Add the total number of absentee ballots received by the elections office, and that number jumps to 10,100.

Coggins said they continue to encourage voters to vote early or by absentee ballot to help cut down on any large crowds on election day. She also said they are seeing voters not waste any time when coming to the polls.

“Our voters are coming in informed. They have reviewed sample ballots and taken time to review the amendments that are on the ballot. They pretty much have their minds made up when they come in and that has helped tremendously,” Coggins said.

“Also, with the new equipment we have this year, we’re seeing voters who have not used them picking up on it and are liking it. I think that will help our lines and our workers on election day.”

Early voting is available Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at both the Polk County Elections Office, 144 West Ave., in Cedartown, and the Rockmart Community Center, 436 Hogue Ave.

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