Absentee ballot voting has far outpaced in-person early voting in Hall County, but Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz said thousands of requested absentee ballots have yet to be returned.
In an interview with AccessWDUN on Friday, Wurtz said 3,483 voters had cast in-person advance ballots through 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4. At the time of the interview, Friday numbers were unavailable; Friday, June 5 was the final day of the early voting period.
"We have issued 30,977 absentee-by-mail ballots and we have received back and accepted 14,686 and that is a really high number," Wurtz said.
That means 16,291 of the requested ballots had not been returned, and voters have until 7 p.m. on election day Tuesday, June 9 to return their ballots.
The ballots must be in-hand and time stamped by the deadline for the vote to count, according to Wurtz. At this point, it is best to drop off ballots at the Elections Office on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. There is a drop box located across from the government center's main entrance, and voters can deposit their absentee ballot there without having to exit their vehicles.
Wurtz said voters cannot leave an absentee ballot at any voting precincts on Tuesday.
"Our poll workers have been instructed do not touch that ballot, do not accept the ballot," Wurtz said. "By doing so, they're going to get the ballot here [to the elections office] after 7 p.m. because they close their doors at 7 and they can't get here by 7."
Wurtz said voters who requested an absentee ballot but choose not to submit it and vote in person instead will have a slight wait because poll workers will have to cancel the voter's absentee ballot before issuing a new, in-person ballot.
Change in precinct for Lula voters
Wurtz also said one precinct location has been changed on Tuesday.
Voters who typically vote at Lula City Hall instead will cast their ballots at First Baptist Church of Lula at 5167 Maiden Lane. The change was made because of social distancing mandates put in place as a result of the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. Wurtz said there simply wasn't enough room at City Hall to set up the number of voting booths needed.
"By relocating over to the First Baptist Church of Lula, we are able to set up in the same manner that we're setting up in all of the other locations with the machines spread farther apart and the six feet of social distancing," Wurtz said.
Wurtz said if voters have questions, they can call the elections office at 770-531-6945 or they can visit the elections office web page.
The Georgia Secretary of State's My Voter Page is also a good resource for voter information, according to Wurtz.