Clayton County voters flocked to the polls on Monday, standing in line for up to three hours in some cases, to cast their ballots early in the U.S. Senate runoff between Democrat Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
The Clayton Crescent visited each of Clayton County’ six early voting locations. A line of voters stretched halfway down the lawn of the Historic Courthouse in Jonesboro. Voters doubled back inside the hall of the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center in Rex. The scene was much the same at Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center in Riverdale. One woman said she’d stood in line for three hours at Jonesboro. Others who asked how long the wait was groaned but got in line anyway at various locations. The line at Morrow went from 30 minutes in the morning to about an hour in the early afternoon. Forest Park saw 30-minute wait times, as well, up from eight minutes at 10 a.m., as word got around that the line was shorter there.
How long is the wait?
The Clayton County Elections and Registration website posts live wait times here:
On Sunday, the first day of early voting, the line at the Historic Courthouse in Jonesboro reached all the way to the sidewalk and the wait was two and a half hours.
According to Georgia Secretary of State’s Office Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling, 3,393 Clayton County voters cast ballots in person on Sunday.
In addition, 3,838 absentee /advance paper ballots had been requested and sent out. Of those, 127 had been returned and 124 of those were accepted. Three ballots were rejected and 42 were cancelled or spoiled—for example, if a couple accidentally signs each other’s ballots by mistake or if someone decides to vote on the machines instead.
3,738 of the requested absentee/advance ballots were mailed out. Of those, 92 were returned and 89 were accepted. The other 100 absentee/advance ballots were electronic. Of those, 35 were returned and all were accepted.
Monday’s numbers should come in later tonight. You can check out ballots cast by county at https://sos.ga.gov/data-hub-december-6-2022-runoff. These are the same numbers the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration puts on its website in table form.
Today was the last day for voters to submit applications for advance/absentee paper ballots. If you sent in an application, you should drop off your ballot in one of the secure drop boxes before Friday. Do not put it in the mail, as it is likely not to arrive on time.
Also Monday, Clayton County elections workers began tabulating advance/absentee ballots. While the count starts early, the numbers are not transmitted to the Secretary of State’s Elections Office until the polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6. Members of the public are welcome to watch the process, as long as they turn off or leave their electronics (including cameras and cellphones) outside of the viewing area. You will have to swear an oath not to disrupt the proceedings and you will need to stay inside the designated viewing area. The count takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with any schedule changes posted on the door, of 7946 N. McDonough Street. On Election Day, the count will start at 7 a.m.
Because this election only has one race on the ballot, expect the daily advance/absentee counts to be brief and the results on Election Night to come quickly.
The polls are open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. through 7 p.m.
On Election Day, December 6, the polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. If you are still in line at closing time, by law the poll workers must stay open long enough for you to cast your ballot.
If you have any questions about voting, call the Clayton County Elections and Registration office at (770) 477-3372.
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