Early voting kicks off in the CSRA with large turnouts

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 11:36 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Early voting starts in Georgia on Monday and the pandemic is making everything look a little different this year.

The first week of early voting is wrapping up in Aiken, South Carolina but across the river in Richmond County, poll workers are setting up at the Bell Auditorium.

“Seems like everyone is wanting to come out and vote.”

The first week of early voting in Aiken County was record-breaking.

“We’ve been averaging about 550 people a day, which for the first week is very high compared to the first week of 2016,” Michael Bond, Aiken Voter Registration and Elections Commission Deputy Director, said.

They estimate about 2,300 people cast their vote this week.

Early voting in Richmond County begins Monday, and they’re also expecting a bigger crowd than usual

“I think number-wise we’re going to see a record-breaking number of people coming out to vote,” Lynn Bailey, Executive Director for Richmond County Board of Elections

And a bigger crowd in the middle of a pandemic calls for a bigger space.

“Voting during a pandemic changes the whole logistical flow of a polling place from how voters approach the building to how things are going to look on the inside...,” Bailey said.

This year, early voting will be in Bell Auditorium.

“So I think we could have we will have no more than about 75 voters in this space at one time, plus our poll workers, which would be about another 25, so we’re looking at 80 to 100 people, occupying this arena floor. So, we’ll be far from full, but we’ll be properly spaced...,” Bailey said.

Here’s how it’ll work: voters will check-in and stop at the id table. Then head over to pick up a stylus, cast their vote, and drop it in the ballot box.

“So, the hope is we get more people voting by mail more people coming to advanced voting, less of a crowd voting in the polls on election day,” Bailey said.

For voting here at the bell auditorium, the only thing you need to bring is an ID and a mask.

If you need help getting to the polls, Augusta Transit will take you there. Through the month of November, all transit rides are free.

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