Just as voters in other parts of the state turned out in record numbers for the first week of early voting, Hall County voters appeared to follow the same pattern.
"The voter turnout has been really, really good," said Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz in a Friday afternoon interview. "We have seen over 15,000 voters in the first four days of early voting and that is a really big number for Hall County."
Wurtz said just under 35,000 voters cast ballots during the entire early voting period for the 2016 General Election.
In addition, record numbers of voters are opting to use absentee ballots this election cycle, according to Wurtz. She said her office mailed more than 27,000 absentee ballots, and so far they've accepted 8,792 completed ballots.
"We're not going to receive all 27,000 that we've issued back because a lot of them will be surrendered on election day or during early voting," Wurtz said.
When a voter who has requested an absentee ballot decides instead to vote in person, the absentee ballot has to be cancelled, and that can make for longer wait times at polling places. For the most part, though, Wurtz said wait times have not been out of the ordinary for Hall County voters.
"We have had a wait time of just under one hour and that was on a day when we were experiencing a statewide slowdown accessing our software," Wurtz said. "It seems to be resolved because things have been rolling along much quicker since then.
The addition of an eighth early voting site in Hall County has helped with wait times, according to Wurtz. She said the newest location at 4335 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood has been popular among voters, and because of the numbers who have opted to use the location, wait times there have at times been between 30 and 45 minutes. Wurtz said while larger counties, including neighboring Gwinnett, have extended early voting times and opened additional polling sites, that won't be necessary in Hall County.
"I believe that our eight locations are sufficient," Wurtz said. "We've done such a good job advertising these locations, I think everyone who is going to vote early has already made a plan and is going to cast their ballot at one of the eight locations that are already existing."
Wurtz acknowledged that wait times for early voting tend to be longer in the early mornings when voters want to cast their ballots prior to going to work. For those looking to expedite the process, she said lines tend to be shorter right after lunch and in the early afternoon.
Early voting continues through Friday, Oct. 30. Next Saturday, Oct. 24 is the mandatory Saturday voting day during the early voting period.
Follow this link for specific information on Hall County's early voting locations.