More than 5,000 votes already cast in Habersham County

— By Matthew Osborne on Thursday, October 15, 2020 — Early voting in Habersham County began Tuesday, and combined with mail-in/absentee voting, thousands of votes already have been cast. Folks were lined up early each morning this week to be among the first to cast their ballots in this historic election. There were 1,050 votes […]
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By Matthew Osborne on Thursday, October 15, 2020 —

Early voting in Habersham County began Tuesday, and combined with mail-in/absentee voting, thousands of votes already have been cast.

Folks were lined up early each morning this week to be among the first to cast their ballots in this historic election. There were 1,050 votes cast the first day of early voting Tuesday, with that total rising to 2,650 by Thursday at 1 p.m.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Habersham County’s elections office had mailed 5,376 ballots out and received 2,387 back.

“The first day of early voting went extremely well,” Ellison said. “All in all, the touchscreen voting machines, printers, scanners and poll pads worked very well and continued to do so Wednesday.”

Across the state, Georgians are mailing in absentee ballots and voting early in record numbers and are expected to break another record on Election Day, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.

“Georgia voters are excited and setting records every hour,” Raffensperger told reporters during a news conference at the state Capitol. “And this is all during a pandemic.”

Raffensperger said 1.6 million voters have requested an absentee ballot. Nearly 500,000 of those votes have been received and accepted, he said.

Another 241,706 voters cast their ballots in person during the first two days of the early voting period this week.

Anheuser-Busch is donating hand sanitizers at early voting locations, while The Home Depot is providing free plastic face shields. The American Civil Liberties Union’s Georgia chapter and the Metro Atlanta Chamber also have contributed to the effort by sending the secretary of state’s office lists of volunteers willing to serve as poll workers.

In Habersham County, Ellison said the majority of voters have reported pleasant experiences so far.

“They have been enthusiastic patient and appreciative, and we greatly appreciate that. I would encourage voters to make sure they find out our dates, times and locations of early/advance voting before they go to vote, because we know that there has been a little bit of confusion about the Habersham South Advance voting precinct not being opened yet,” Ellison said.

Raffensperger urged Georgians who have asked for an absentee ballot to use it rather than show up to vote in person at an early voting location.

For questions about voting, call the elections office at 706-839-0170.

ABSENTEE BALLOTS

The following information is provided by the state elections office.

Packets containing your absentee ballot in Georgia include the official ballot, the ballot envelope, the instructions and a return envelope.

After reading the instructions and filling out the ballot, place the completed ballot in the ballot envelope, then place both in the return envelope. Seal the return envelope and complete the oath on the back by signing your name.

To return the ballot:

  • Mail the ballot with 55 cents worth of postage. Allow five days for mailing to ensure the ballot is received by Election Day;
  • Return your ballot to the county elections office;
  • Drop it in a secure drop box. Habersham County does not have an official secure drop box, but they are located in most surrounding counties.

Georgia law allows a direct relative or an individual living in the same household can return your ballot to the elections office if you are unable to do so yourself. The caretaker of a voter with disabilities also can do so.

Other ballot tips:

  • If you forget to sign the oath on the back of the absentee ballot envelope or if your signature does not match your signature on file, then your county elections office will send you a notice and opportunity to cure your ballot. You can cure your ballot by completing the affidavit swearing that it was in fact you who voted the ballot and submitting a copy of your photo ID. If you receive a cure notice, but you did not request or complete an absentee ballot, alert the Secretary of State’s office immediately.
  • If you requested and received an absentee ballot by mail, you should make every effort to vote and return that ballot. However, if a voter has requested an absentee ballot but shows up to vote in person, there are procedures to cancel the absentee ballot if the ballot has not been received by the elections office.

Dave Williams of the Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this report.

Read the entire news story: https://www.thenortheastgeorgian.com/local-news/more-5000-votes-already-cast-habersham-county