It is a good time to vote.
Early voting for Georgia’s Dec. 4 runoff is Monday through Friday, and not only will this one week of early voting be a good time to vote, but so will Election Day.
Unlike early voting for the Nov. 6 General Election, no one expects a swarm to crowd the Community Room of the City Service Center off Macon Road, where you can vote 8 a.m.-5 p.m., for this week of advance voting.
All neighborhood voting precincts will be open 7 a.m-7 p.m. on Election Day.
If you were eligible to vote Nov. 6 – meaning you were duly registered and could have voted, whether you did or not – you can vote in the runoff.
If you are 65 or older or disabled and requested a mail-in absentee ballot for the General Election, you automatically will be sent one for the runoff, and it should already may be in the mail.
At the close of business Wednesday, the Muscogee County elections office had mailed out 3,238 absentee ballots that have to be back by Election Day to be counted.
According to election night results, Georgia’s early vote in the Nov. 6 General Election was historic, for a midterm, nearly twice that of the one in 2014: 2,071,830 ballots were cast – 1,886,905 in-person and 184,925 by mail. In the midterm on Nov. 4, 2014, the tally was 945,507 early votes – 838,484 in-person and 107,023 by mail.
In Columbus, the total turnout for the Nov. 6 General Election was 56.4 percent, 63,468 ballots out of 112,540 voters.
To measure the difference a hotly contested state race such as the one for governor makes in down-ballot elections, consider this: More voters here elected a Superior Court Clerk this year than a mayor.
In the May 22 nonpartisan local elections and state primaries – back when governor candidates Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp were after their party nominations, and not after each other, in nonstop mudslinging TV ads – about 24,000 voted in the Columbus mayor’s race.
And that was not a desolate field of candidates, as you may recall. Skip Henderson won without a runoff, but he had five opponents: Danny Arencibia, Zeph Baker, Beth Harris, Charles Roberts and Winfred Shipman.
More candidates doesn’t mean more votes, apparently.
In the Nov. 6 special election for Superior Court clerk between Danielle Forte and Shasta Thomas Glover, almost 56,600 ballots were cast, around 32,600 more than in the mayor’s race.
The Superior Court Clerk’s office is a crucial, in the administration of justice, but it hardly ever draws as much attention as mayor.
The offices yet to be filled in the runoff aren’t so eye-catching: Georgia Secretary of State and Public Service Commission.
Here’s the lineup:
▪ Republican Brad Raffensberger and Democrat John Barrow face off for the Secretary of State office Kemp just vacated.
▪ Incumbent Republican Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller vie for the 3rd District Public Service Commission seat.
You can see a sample ballot, if you have to, and check your eligibility at the Georgia Secretary of Sates’s My Voter Page, www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.
Don’t forget that Georgia requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID to cast ballots. That includes a passport, a driver’s license, a license bureau-issued state ID for those who don’t have licenses or a government employee ID such as a military card.
You still have time to request a mail-in absentee ballot, if you want, but you’d better hurry, because time’s running out to get in the mail and mail it back in time. You can download an absentee ballot online at the My Voter Page or the local elections office website at www.columbusga.gov/elections, or call the office at 706-653-4392.
Just don’t forget that if you got an absentee ballot before, because you’re over 65 or disabled, you should be getting another you didn’t have to ask for.