Elections officials in Decatur County said they have observed good turnout for Tuesday’s general election, which features a number of state and local races on the ballot.
Two of the major races on the ballot were that for Georgia governor and the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss.
In Seminole County, voters were voting on whether to allow the sale of liquor by the drink and a separate measure that would allow Sunday sales of alcohol.
In Decatur County, the two local races were for County Commissioner representing District 4 (the southeastern part of Bainbridge) and for Solicitor General.
Joe Putnal and Rusty Davis are vying for the County Board of Commissioners seat held by outgoing commissioner Frank Loeffler, who chose not to run for re-election.
Republican Ryan Cleveland is challenging incumbent Democrat Ben Kirbo for solicitor general.
Elections assistant Aaron Cofer said many registered voters had chosen to cast their vote early. 2042 absentee ballots were cast in person at the Decatur County Fairgrounds during the early voting period. Another 267 absentee ballots had been sent out by mail and returned as of Tuesday morning.
Richard Hughes, poll manager for the precinct at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum, said there was a fairly long line of people waiting to vote shortly after polls opened at 7 p.m., presumably people who were on their way to work or drop their children off at school.
However, the steady influx of voters continued throughout the day with very little lapse. As of 1:30 p.m., 617 people had voted in person at the Coliseum, according to Hughes, and as soon as people finished voting, several more would come in.
The local races may have been drawing people out to vote in Decatur County, and the local candidates were trying to make their last-minute pitch along Wheat Avenue and College Street, near the Coliseum.
Under state law, candidates and others campaigning for votes must do so at least 150 feet away from the door of the polling place. Candidate Joe Putnal said he took care to measure the distance from the precinct out to where he stood next to the road, and offered that he was just glad to be out there waving and greeting people.
Along with signs put up by the road, several signs were held up by waving supporters of the candidates, something that isn’t done in Bainbridge for most elections but perhaps reflects the perceived closeness of the local races on the ballot.
Polls will close at 7 p.m., and then the task of tabulating the electronic voting machine ballots as well as the paper absentee ballots will begin. We will post results as we receive them right here on sowegalive.com