Monday is the first day of early voting for the November election. News 12 is on your side to show you how advanced polling stations are more convenient for voters, but costing the city a lot more money.
A lot of key races are on the ballot this year including the mayor’s race, commission races, and of course the SPLOST referendum. And as a result, a high voter turnout is expected, which is a good thing. But that also usually means long lines at the polls, so a lot of folks are getting out early to vote.
Election day is more than a week away, but some Augusta voters are already making their way to the polls.
“They can go ahead and vote there this week because it may be more convenient than to go to the polls next week,” Lynn Bailey said.
Betty Hampton is headed out of town, but she didn’t forget to vote.
“We just wanted to get our vote in and being out of town, there would be no way for that to happen,” Hampton said.
In previous years, some opted for advanced voting hoping to avoid long lines on election day, but many still found themselves waiting for nearly two hours. This year there are three advanced voting locations. And if Monday is any indicator, the wait is anything but long.
“It was quick,” Hampton said.
“It’s convenient,” said Edward Layman.
But it hasn’t been so convenient for the elections office. Twice, they’ve had to ask the Augusta commission for extra money equaling $40,000 to fund this election.
“With the addition of the mayor’s race on the ballot, it takes this election to one where we expected about a 30 percent turnout to one where we expect 50 percent and that makes a huge difference,” Bailey said.
And with the voter ID law being off, then on, and now off again, more than 2,000 voters have requested ballots in the mail costing even more money. And if there’s a runoff, Bailey says she expects a big turnout, costing the city some big bucks.
“If we’re talking about a county-wide runoff and the office of mayor is involved. It will be another huge election. It will cost about $140,000-$150,000,” Bailey said.
If you didn’t vote yet, early voting goes on through Friday from 8:30am-6pm at the Elections Office, at the Henry Brigham Recreation Center and Warren Road Recreation Center.
When you arrive at your polling place, you will complete a voter's certificate which asks for your name and residence address. You will then present the certificate and proper identification to the poll officials who will verify that you are a registered voter in that precinct by checking the voters list for that precinct. Voters are required to present identification at their polling place prior to casting their ballot. Proper identification shall consist of any one of the following:
(1) A valid Georgia driver's license;
(2) A valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification;
(3) A valid United States passport;
(4) A valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, this state, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state;
(5) A valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any employer of the elector in the ordinary course of such employer´s business;
(6) A valid student identification card containing a photograph of the elector from any public or private college, university, or postgraduate technical or professional school located within the State of Georgia;
(7) A valid Georgia license to carry a pistol or revolver;
(8) A valid pilot's license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or other authorized agency of the United States;
(9) A valid United States military identification card;
(10) A certified copy of the elector's birth certificate;
(11) A valid social security card;
(12) Certified naturalization documentation;
(13) A certified copy of court records showing adoption, name, or sex change;
(14) A current utility bill, or a legible copy thereof, showing the name and address of the elector;
(15) A bank statement, or a legible copy thereof, showing the name and address of the elector;
(16) A government check or paycheck, or a legible copy thereof, showing the name and address of the elector; or
(17) A government document, or a legible copy thereof, showing the name and address of the elector.
If an elector is unable to produce any of the items of identification listed, he or she shall sign a statement under oath swearing or affirming that he or she is the person identified on the elector's voter certificate.
If the elector does not have any of the forms of identification listed, they may vote a provisional ballot upon swearing or affirming that the elector is the person identified in the elector’s voter certificate. Such provisional ballot shall only be counted if the registrars are able to verify current and valid identification of the elector within the time period for verifying provisional ballots.
If your name is found on the voter list, you will be issued a voter access card and admitted into a voting booth to cast your vote using an electronic touch screen voting unit. After you cast your ballot the machine will automatically eject the voter access card and you will
return the card to a poll official. Instructions on how to operate the electronic touch screen voting unit are posted at each polling place and you may ask a poll official for assistance.