Over 1,000 people cast ballots Tuesday on the first day of early voting in Habersham County. By late Wednesday, Oct. 14, that figure had doubled. Those numbers will continue to rise as election day nears.
Habersham County Election Supervisor Laurel Ellison says the first day of early voting on Tuesday “went extremely well.”
“We had a line to start forming at 6:30 a.m., so those voters that came in early, of course, had to wait until we began at 8 a.m. But for the most part, when we asked voters as they were leaving, how long they had to wait, the majority of the responses were between 15-35 minutes,” says Ellison.
As happened in many precincts across the state, Habersham’s EasyVote system had some glitches, causing delays. Some Habersham voters had to wait about an hour to cast their ballots. But, Ellison says, “all in all, the touchscreen voting machines, printers, scanners, and poll pads worked very well and continue to do so today.”
Voter turnout in Habersham for this historic election already is over 15%, according to figures released by the county elections office. As of Wednesday, 2,090 voters had cast in-person ballots, and another 2,180 had already returned their absentee ballots. Habersham election officials have mailed out over 5,316 absentees since September 16.
There are 29,705 registered voters in Habersham County, with around 28,230 of those considered active voters.
Only one precinct currently open
There’s been a bit of confusion over voting dates, times, and locations in Habersham County. Early voting began a day later than many precincts in Georgia because of the Columbus Day holiday, and, currently, there is only one polling place open.
Habersham North Precinct at the Aquatic Center in Clarkesville is now open for early voting from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 30. The precinct will also be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for Saturday voting on Oct. 17 and 24.
Habersham South Precinct at First Baptist Church of Cornelia will be open for Saturday voting from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Oct. 24 and for advance voting from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 26-30.
All county precincts will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Those who vote early may vote at either Habersham North or Habersham South, but if you wait until election day, you must vote at your assigned precinct. If you’re not sure where that is, call the Habersham County Elections Office at 706-839-0170 or visit https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.
Those who received an absentee ballot but have not voted it and want to vote in person still can. “They just need to bring that ballot with them to turn in to the poll workers when they come to vote so that it can be canceled,” explains Ellison.
With the ongoing pandemic and deep partisan divides, this election is undoubtedly one of the most energized in recent history. Officials ask voters to observe all social distancing guidelines and to please remain patient at the polls.
“I would just like to say that the majority of voters have been great!” Ellison tells Now Habersham. “They have been enthusiastic, patient, and appreciative, and we greatly appreciate that.”
See sample ballots below