Some voters are making their way to the polls for the early voting period, but elections officials say they'd like to see more come on out. Early voting started on Monday, April 28, and will end on Friday, May 16.
In DeKalb County, 2,140 voters had cast their votes as of Friday, May 2. DeKalb has about 450,000 registered voters, elections officials say.
“Overall, seniors are leading the pack,” said Maxine Daniels, director of the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections office. “Since only one percent of our total voters have cast a ballot thus far, we would always like more participation. The turnout is what we expected, though.”
Daniels said she anticipates about a 20 to 30 percent overall voter turnout for this year's elections. Turnout increases substantially during years where there are Presidential elections, she said.
DeKalb will open three additional voting precincts on Monday, May 12, for early voting: Clark Harrison Building in downtown Decatur, Chamblee Civic Center and Berean Christian Church Community Center on Young Road in Stone Mountain.
Cynthia Welch, Rockdale County’s Supervisor of Elections, said that more Democrats in her county are voting early this election cycle.
“Democrats are coming out earlier than previous elections,” said Welch. “In previous elections, Republicans led the pack, but now the numbers are about even between Republicans and Democrats.”
As of the newspaper’s deadline, a total of 1,328 Rockdale residents had voted early, 697 of them Democrats compared to 629 Republicans. Rockdale has 55,900 registered voters. Welch said she expects a 30 percent overall turnout for the elections.
In Gwinnett County, Voter Registration and Elections Director Lynn Ledford said her staff has been pleased with the early voting period so far.
“The numbers met our expectations. We assisted 1,001 voters and that is a good thing,” said Ledford. “I think all the races in this election are important. Nothing in particular strikes me as something voters should pay special attention to, but they definitely need to come out and make their voices heard.”
Gwinnett has 437,000 registered voters.
Early voter Jarrett Maynard says he thinks early voting is the best way to vote. But he added that everyone should pay close attention to who is running, whether they vote early or later.
“It’s our responsibility to get out to the polls,” said Maynard, who lives in Ellenwood. “Most people just want to vote for the President's race, but we have to be concerned with those we elect to govern on a day-to-day basis.”
The election will be on Tuesday, May 20.