Many turning out for early voting in Bibb, Houston

pramati@macon.comOctober 31, 2012 

  • Early voting information

    Baldwin County: (478) 445-4526. Early voting is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday in the Baldwin County Courthouse, Room 104, 121 N. Wilkinson St., Milledgeville.

    Bibb County: (478) 621-6622. Early voting is 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Friday at the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections office, 2445 Pio Nono Ave.

    Crawford County: (478) 836-1877. Early voting is 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday at 1011 U.S. 341 North, Roberta.

    Houston County: (478) 987-1973. Early voting is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through in three locations: 801 Main St., Perry; 200 Carl Vinson Parkway, Warner Robins; and Middle Georgia Technical College’s Building G, 80 Cohen Walker Road, Warner Robins.

    Jones County: (478) 986-3222. Early voting is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at the government center, 166 Industrial Blvd., Gray.

    Laurens County: (478) 272-2841. Early voting is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at 117 E. Jackson St., Suite A., in the Laurens County Courthouse Annex.

    Monroe County: (478) 944-7622. Early voting is 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday at 550 N. Lee St., Forsyth.

    Peach County: (478) 825-3514. Early voting from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at the Peach County Courthouse, Suite 102, in Fort Valley; early voting from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m. through Thurdsay at the Byron Municipal Complex, 401 Main St.

    To cast their ballots, registered voters need to take an acceptable form of ID with them to the polls. Acceptable ID for voting include:

    • Georgia driver’s license, even if expired;
    • Any valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including voter ID cards issued by the county registrar’s office or the Department of Driver Services;
    • Valid U.S. passport;
    • Valid federal or state employee photo ID;
    • Valid military photo ID;
    • Valid tribal ID.

    For more voting information, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at http://sos.ga.gov.

When Lee Massey saw the line outside of the Bibb County Board of Elections office Wednesday afternoon, his reaction was pretty straightforward.

He had some choice words for that, he said with a chuckle.

With about 60 people lined up in front of them, Massey and wife Susan, decided they would wait their turn to vote early, no matter how long it took.

“It didn’t discourage us from standing in line,” he said.

Ironically, it’s the first time the Masseys have voted early.

Susan Massey said they were concerned about the wait on Election Day next Tuesday.

“We figured it’s going to be a big turnout this year,” she said.

Despite wait times between 30 minutes and an hour, few people have been discouraged by the long line, said Chief Registrar Veronica Seals.

By the end of Tuesday, more than 16,000 Bibb County voters took advantage of early voting for an average of more than 1,000 per day. Seals said 1,205 showed up for a special Saturday early voting session.

“It’s a little bit of a wait,” she said. “My advice is that people should just be prepared.”

Karen Jett said she waited about an hour before she got a chance to vote Wednesday, but she was prepared for the wait.

Jett said she always votes early and still thinks her wait is more tolerable than what the crowds could be like on Election Day.

“I’ve always wondered why people wait to the last minute,” she said. “If you could (vote early), why wouldn’t you?”

Sibborni Carswell did a double take when she checked her cell phone to see how long she had been in line -- about an hour and 20 minutes.

She considered bailing out and going another time, but she ended up sticking it out.

“I was already in line, so I figured I might as well get it over with.”

By contrast, Houston County voters -- despite a bigger early-voting turnout -- have had relatively short wait times, county election officials said.

Officials said there were 22,570 early voters as of Wednesday morning, but because there are three polling places in the county, the average wait time isn’t more than five minutes at the county’s elections office in Perry.

Final turnout numbers for either county weren’t available for Wednesday’s voting.

Early voting continues through Friday.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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