by Robin Kemp

Only a few hours remain for voters to cast early ballots in two U.S. Senate runoffs and a runoff for a Public Service Commission seat.

At press time, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Tia Mitchell reports that incumbent Sen. David Perdue and his wife have gone into quarantine “as a precaution after learning they had been in close contact with a member of his staff who has the virus.” Perdue had been scheduled to appear with fellow Republican candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald in Gainesville. His campaign has not announced whether Perdue also will skip the Monday, January 4 event with President Donald Trump in Dalton.

According to Elections Superintendent Shauna Dozier early Thursday morning, here’s how early voter turnout compares to the November 3 Presidential race:

  • November 3 Presidential election
    • In-person: 59,973
    • Absentee (mail-in): 31,985
  • January 5 U.S. Senate runoff:
    • In-person: 47,825
    • Absentee (mail-in): 21,728

The Clayton Crescent made the rounds of all early voting locations in Clayton County on New Year’s Eve. Here’s what we found:

  • The shortest (nonexistent) line we found was at the Charley Griswell Senior Center in International Park. People in Lake Spivey and surrounding neighborhoods are just beginning to hear through word-of-mouth that the Griswell location is an option. There’s also a ballot box where people can drop off absentee paper ballots. Go in the front entrance to International Park, drive until you see the sign on the right pointing to Charley Griswell Senior Center, turn right, drive past the lake on your right and you’ll see the center’s parking lot on your left. Drive to the entrance at the end of the parking lot (the one to the right of the main entrance). You’ll see the ballot box outside and you’ll be sheltered if you need to stand in line. There was no wait this afternoon and about 47 people had cast ballots by noon.
  • The longest waits we saw were at the Lee Headquarters Library and Morrow City Hall. Both ran about half an hour. The Clayton NAACP also held its Collard Green Caucus food giveaway, featuring collard greens, cornbread, and black-eyed peas.
  • All other locations had wait times of 15 minutes or less when we visited.

A quick check of absentee ballot tabulation at The Bunker found only one election observer from the Democratic Party, who said another Democrat and two Republican observers had been present Thursday morning. The Clayton Crescent saw elections workers counting military ballots, the envelopes of which are printed with red ink instead of black. The ballots themselves look different because they are federal ballots. Some contain two sheets of paper stapled together; others contain two sheets of paper, which the observer said were a ballot and a letter.

On Wednesday night, The Clayton Crescent stopped by the Elections and Registration Office to see the signature verification process. There, elections workers were comparing signatures on envelopes with signatures on file. One observer, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, was present.

Here are the Facebook Lives we posted from each location. We did not interview voters but we did speak with various people about how long it had taken them to vote or asked how many people they had seen in line. Because it takes half a day for one person to visit all the sites, it’s possible that more or fewer people could be at any one location before or after we stopped by. However, it does give a snapshot of how busy each location was at the time:

Lee Headquarters Library, Jonesboro

Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, Rex

Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, Riverdale

South Clayton Recreation Center, Hampton

J. Charley Griswell Senior Center, Jonesboro

Historic Courthouse, Jonesboro

Morrow City Hall, Morrow

Early voting ends at 7 p.m.

Your last chance to cast early ballots in person ends at 7 p.m.:

You can learn more about the candidates running for U.S. Senate by checking out our candidate profiles.

Leave a comment