They just kept coming.
Voters wanting to cast their ballots early filled into the west wing of the Columbus Government Center this week. By Monday, more than 200 had stepped into the Muscogee County Elections and Registrations Office. By Wednesday afternoon, it was more than 750.
If that pace keeps up, some 5,200 voters will have chosen their pick for president before Nov. 4 — and that number doesn't include the expected hordes that will cast ballots the week of advance voting, Oct. 27-31, when four voting sites will be available.
"We thought 207 on Monday was big," said Nancy Boren, the elections office executive director. "If we keep this pace up, we'll have a large number of the voters cast advance ballots."
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This is the first presidential election in Georgia in which voters have the option to cast a ballot without a reason up to six weeks before the general election. Previously, in-person absentee voters needed a reason why they couldn't vote on election day, such as having a public service job.
Mail-in absentee voters have cast ballots without a reason since 2005.
Boren said the convenience of picking the day, instead of being tied to Nov. 4, was one reason to vote early. Another is to avoid expected long lines on election day.
Those lines, however, might not be as long as once thought. Boren said absentee and advance voting will easily be double of the 2004 general election.
"They're still going to be long," Boren said of election day lines, "but not as long. We're prepared for long lines."