Local registrar offers a few dates to remember
Believe it or not, the presidential general election is less than two months away, while Early Voting is a mere five weeks away.
It will be a drastically different-looking election here in Baldwin County and the rest of the nation. Absentee ballots and mail-in ballots are poised to dominate the election news headlines, for good reason. Here in Baldwin County, for example, more than 3,500 absentee ballot applications already have been certified and approved. Those 3,500-something applications represent roughly 14 percent of all registered voters in Baldwin County, and it’s only the beginning of September. Voters in Georgia have until Oct. 30 to apply for an absentee ballot.
For perspective, a total of 1,101 voters in Baldwin County used absentee ballots during the 2016 general election. With more voters in Georgia choosing absentee ballots in 2020, and other states embracing the “mail-in ballot” concept, it raises the possibility that the winner of the presidential election will not be known on election night, thus creating a scenario similar to 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Chief Registrar Randy Morrow told The Baldwin Bulletin that there are several important dates for voters to keep in mind. Oct. 5 is the last day to either register to vote and/or change your voting address. Meanwhile, the first day of Early Voting is Oct. 12, while the final day is Oct. 30. There will be one “Saturday voting day” during this election cycle, which is Oct. 24.
The location of Early Voting in Baldwin County hasn’t been finalized. Early Voting most likely will take place at the courthouse downtown, which has been the norm for many years. Or, there’s an outside shot that the new County Annex on North Columbia Street will be up and operational by then, thus allowing Early Voting to take place at the Annex, for the very first time.
Meanwhile, Oct. 30 also is the final day for voters to apply for an absentee ballot, while all absentee ballots must be mailed in by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, which is voting day. Absentee ballots for the general election must be applied for, regardless of how someone voted in the primary election earlier this year. In other words, just become someone voted absentee during the June primary, they still must re-apply for an absentee ballot for November’s general election.
Morrow encouraged everyone to either stop by the Registrar’s Office on the first floor of the courthouse or access the “My Voter Page” on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
Morrow doesn’t anticipate any real problems with the United States Postal Service and absentee ballots, despite the reservations of others.
“Georgia has been an absentee ballot state for a long, long time, and the post office has had plenty of experience with this,” he said. “Our completion rate through the post office has always been wonderful, and I really can’t remember the last time that I saw a vote rejected (due to a post office error).”